|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||12 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Production companies||The Mark Gordon Company|
|Original network||USA Network|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Original release||October 28 –|
December 30, 2014
Benched is an American single-camera sitcom, created by Michaela Watkins and Damon Jones, about a high-powered corporate lawyer's fall from grace into the rough-and-tumble world of a public defender. The series stars Eliza Coupe and Jay Harrington in pivotal roles with Maria Bamford, Jolene Purdy, Carter MacIntyre and Oscar Nunez as the supporting cast. The show premiered on USA Network on October 28, 2014.
On January 14, 2015, USA Network cancelled Benched after one season because of low ratings. The series premiered to 870,000 viewers in October, and while it held steady for much of its 12-episode run, its showing remained modest. Despite cancellation, Benched received mostly positive reviews during its short run with the pairing of Coupe and Harrington being pointed as the highlight of the show.
On May 17, 2012, the American cable television network USA ordered a pilot presentation directed by Michael Fresco, from the script by Watkins and Jones. Eliza Coupe signed on to star in the lead role of the series, produced by John Enbom, Mark Gordon and Andrea Shay. On January 24, 2014, a 12-episode first season was ordered, with Jay Harrington joining the series.
Casting announcements on the remaining series regular roles began in the following February, with Oscar Nunez cast in the series regular role of Carlos, a public defender and new colleague of Nina's. Shortly afterwards, Jolene Purdy was cast in the series regular role of Micah, an intern in the Public Defender's Office. Carter MacIntyre was the last actor to join in the series regular role of Trent, Nina's former fiancée and professional nemesis.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||US viewers|
|1||"Pilot"||Michael Fresco||Michaela Watkins & Damon Jones||October 28, 2014||0.87|
|2||"Downsizing"||Claire Scanlon||Andy Berman||November 4, 2014||0.98|
|3||"Hooked & Booked"||Claire Scanlon||Lindsey Shockley||November 11, 2014||0.77|
|4||"Sell It"||Victor Nelli, Jr.||Damon Jones & Michaela Watkins||November 18, 2014||0.75|
|5||"Shark, Actually"||Tristram Shapeero||Joanna Calo||November 25, 2014||0.78|
|6||"Rights & Wrongs"||Victor Nelli, Jr.||John Enbom||December 2, 2014||0.93|
|7||"Curry Favor"||John Enbom||Michaela Watkins & Damon Jones||December 9, 2014||1.00|
|8||"Diamond Is a Girl's Worst Friend"||Tristram Shapeero||Ben Smith||December 16, 2014||0.75|
|9||"A New Development"||Michael McDonald||Jim Cashman||December 23, 2014||0.87|
|10||"Solitary Refinement"||Michael McDonald||Jessica Conrad||December 23, 2014||0.64|
|11||"Campaign Contributions"||Eric Appel||Ari Berkowitz & Scott Hanscom||December 30, 2014||0.85|
|12||"Brief Encounters"||Eric Appel||Andy Berman & Lindsey Shockley||December 30, 2014||0.72|
Benched received positive reviews from television critics and holds a score of 63/100 on Metacritic. It also holds a 67% fresh ratings on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes with the site consensus stating, "Benched's talented ensemble raises the show above its trite writing, resulting in a nicely diverting half-hour of comedy." Alexa Planje of The A.V. Club gave the series the most praise saying, "From the writing, to the cast, to impactful details like the spot-on styling and sets, Benched exudes confidence and commitment." Melissa Maerz of Entertainment Weekly lauded the series and Eliza Coupe's performance and said, "Benched is more lightweight [than Enlightened], but it's encouragingly funny thanks to Coupe, whose attempts at anger management showcase impeccable comic timing." Maureen Ryan of The Huffington Post also gave a positive review writing, "It's rare to come across a comedy that displays such admirable focus and delivers such smartly packaged slices of diverting escapism. More, please." On the negative side Los Angeles Times wrote, "Benched is nowhere near as funny as it thinks it is, mainly because Watkins and Jones seem to believe that the endless humiliations of a thin, attractive, previously well-compensated blond woman are all it takes to make people laugh."