After Disney's glory days of Even Stevens and Lizzie McGuire, the network was filled with laugh track-ridden cheap-laughs sitcoms and cheesy animations, until Phil of the Future came along. It's funny, smartly-written (for the most part) and recycles a lot of elements from "Lizzie", which is by no means a bad thing.
- Single-camera setup allows for better angles, diverse settings and visual effects. - No laugh track means they actually have to make the audience themselves understand the comedy, which they succeed at. - Some funny visuals and gags, and nicely-done (mostly) sound effects. - Plots are funny, with a nice combination of realism and over-the-top comedy. - The parents act like real parents, and the father isn't stereotypically clueless.
- Phil's plot and Pim's subplot often don't go together very well. They are in themselves pretty good but it would've been nice if they had come together in some way at the end of the episodes. - The main cast of characters is pretty small. - The secondary cast lineup is even smaller. The characters we see most are Mr. Hackett, Curtis, Danny Dawkins and Debbie Berwick. None of those characters appear in more than a dozen or so episodes. - Due to the fairly weak character lineup, there aren't a lot of character-driven story lines and the characters don't develop very much throughout the series. - Sound effects are sometimes over-the-top and are occasionally obtrusive. - The second season tends to fall on the drama side a bit (at least, as much as is possible given the weak character development), and it doesn't always go well with the comedy. - What kind of public school has its own broadcast lab and CCTV network?
- I personally liked the cliffhanger ending, but of course it would've been nice to know what happened after. - The show's presentation style (visual and sound effects, running gags and motifs, etc) is very similar to that of Lizzie McGuire. Some props from Lizzie's school are even reused in Phil's (various posters). - I'm surprised that this show doesn't have any licensed music, instead, playing generic music or an instrumental rendition of the theme song in places where there would generally be singing music. A lot of other single-camera sitcoms like "Lizzie" and Malcolm in the Middle have a wide variety of licensed songs. But maybe the licensing fees were beyond their budget. - This is a comedy show, and it's meant to be funny! Getting that job done, and still maintaining some sense of realism, deserves praise indeed.