Jason Priestley shows his comic chops in Family’s Raising Expectations

I’ve seen Jason Priestley guest-star on Spun Out, so I knew he could do comedy. But would he be able to headline a comic project on Family Channel? Indeed he can. As a matter of fact, he’s one of many reasons to tune in to Raising Expectations.

Debuting Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT on Family Channel, Priestley’s Wayne Wayney plays a somewhat out-of-touch dad alongside wife Paige (Molly Ringwald) and their four “multi-exceptional” children. The fifth kid? Well, not so much. Emmett (Simon Cadel) lacks the academic and physical prowess of his siblings, but has the street smarts to keep everyone grounded. And though the emphasis in the press releases surrounding Raising Expectations plays up Emmett a lot, he doesn’t really come off that much different from his brothers and sister. What does, however, is Priestley’s Wayne. After seeing him play a teen for so long on Beverly Hills 90210, it’s definitely a shock to see him playing a father. Thanks to the writing, he’s a blast.

Created by the same folks behind Todd and the Book of Pure Evil—Episode 2 features Emmett wearing a Crowley High t-shirt—Raising Expectations is a showcase for Priestley’s comic chops (he’s directing some episodes too). Whether he’s wallowing on a couch, feeling badly for lying to his family and drowning his guilt in bags of chips and tubs of ice cream, mistaking Internet trolls for gnomes or doing battle with a sap-filled tree, Wayne is the focus. Taking nothing away from Ringwald or the young cast—who are great too—but the series would be hard to watch with anyone else acting opposite them.

Another mark in Raising Expectations‘ favour? No laugh track. There’s simply no reason to have it when the writing is sharp and the performances are well done.

Raising Expectations airs Sundays at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT on Family Channel.