I’ve been watching some of the new sitcoms, and I have to say that this year’s crop seems stronger overall than what premiered last season. Here’s a little summary:
Animal Hospital (Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC) — seems cheesy to me, but I may watch another because of aesthetics. It seems like an hour-long show (dramedy) squeezed into a half-hour format. That makes me curious. Hijinks at an animal hospital. Need I say more?
Ben and Kate (Tuesdays at 8:30 on FOX) — Dakota Johnson shows real heart as Kate, a very appealing performer, and the show ends stronger than the pilot begins. Single mom is ready to start dating, and her less mature brother seems poised to move in with her and his niece. I might end up liking this. I’ll watch a second episode.
Guys With Kids (Wednesdays at 8:30 on NBC) — Some good characters. A bit “high concept” (three men have babies about the same age) but might work. Anthony Anderson is my favorite actor and Tempestt Bledsoe (The Cosby Show) plays his wife. Jimmy Fallon is executive producer. I’ll wait and see. It reminds me, though, of a USA drama I loved for two seasons, Men of a Certain Age, that explored the long friendship and life changes of three men (two white and one African American) who met in college but at the time of the show are turning 50. I loved that show! It made me think that men have an interior life. Too bad it didn’t get more viewers…in my opinion, most of the best shows do not. Sigh. Is it a bad sign that I’ve talked more about Men of a Certain Age than about Guys With Kids?
Go On (Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC) — I’ve never been a huge friend of Matthew Perry (my least favorite friend, I guess), but this show is well-written and well-produced with an interesting premise. Perry is a sportscaster whose wife has died, and he finds community in an oddball support group. I watched all available episodes. I’m going to give it a chance.
The Mindy Project (Tuesdays at 9:30 on FOX) — I’ll watch a second episode and see how it unfolds. I’m a little ambivalent but think there is a certain honesty to her portrayal of an ob-gyn looking for love. Mindy Kaling, best known for her role on The Office, is smart. I’m pulling for her.
The Neighbors (Wednesdays at 9:30 on ABC) — I barely could stand the pilot! Who thought this wacky idea was a good one? A “normal” family moves into a neighborhood populated by aliens. Worse yet, the show was flat. I won’t watch again. With Modern Family as a lead in, it got respectable ratings the first week.
New Normal (Tuesdays at 9:30 on NBC) — very timely and topical with Ellen Barkin in a hilarious turn as a Midwestern Republican (she’s a pretty big name — another actress “of a certain age” who starts a new chapter on TV after the big screen) whose granddaughter has gone to California and become a surrogate for a gay couple who want to have a baby. This is probably the one of the new shows I’m most likely to follow for the entire season. It’s possible, though, that topical episodes like the mock school election could limit the shelf-life of the show if this becomes a regular narrative feature. I’ve watched all available episodes.
What am I still watching in the sitcom realm? Mike & Molly, Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory, and The Office – hoping for a strong finish for that series. That’s pretty much it for the network shows. Cable favorites like Nurse Jackie and Curb Your Enthusiasm are on a different schedule.