Benefitting from a very solid cast, "The Ranch" is Netflix's latest outing in the realm of sitcoms. Does it match up to that of "House of Cards," "Daredevil," or "Orange is the New Black?" No, but on it's own, it can definitely be viewed as an enjoyable easy watch when you have nothing to do. Following the Bennett family as they deal with possibly losing their ranch, falling in and out of love, and learning to accept that you can't always have everything in life, this film has a surprising amount of emotional heft to it, even if it has one of the most annoying laugh tracks I have ever heard.
From the very first few scenes, I was very hesitant on whether or not I would enjoy watching this show, due to the fact that the first few gags are painfully unfunny. Surprisingly, the show is able to find it's groove and stay consistently funny and dramatic the whole way through. This show is marketed as a comedy, but the dramatic elements are easily the best part about this show, because the actors elevate the predictable dialogue and plot points at hand. You see where the show is going from a mile away, and right until the very last frame of this season, you will call every shot. That is not to say it is bad, because since it is well done, it is acceptable.
Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson have themselves a bit of a "That 70's Show" reunion, and while they look nothing alike, you can actually buy into their chemistry when the banter between them happens. On the other hand, as good as Sam Elliott and Debra Winger are as the troubled parents, I am not sure if I totally bought into them ever being a family in the past. As for the family aspect itself, yes, they are meant to be a little raunchy, but the amount of times characters were swearing throughout this show felt a little excessive to me. Sometimes it was said just to add levity to a joke, which in turn took away from the joke.
In the end, this is a sitcom that does it's dramatic elements much more justice than the comedy itself, and if you are a fan of country settings and country music, then you will definitely love the soundtrack and setting of this show. it definitely benefits from only being ten episodes long so that it doesn't have to drag out the show too much, and even though the cliffhanger in the end was predictable from the beginning, it was well acted and I enjoyed watching these characters enough to want to return to this show once the second season is complete. I enjoyed watching "The Ranch: Season 1" for what it was.
Review By: KJ Proulx