Friday, June 02, 2017

Fri-Yay: Master of None & Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt New Seasons; CBS Fall 2017 Premiere Dates

Our Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows weekly report will now move to Sundays, because now we have a new feature from one of our writers, Vincent, that will dive into the week in sitcoms. The new feature is called Fri-Yay, so that means a look back on some of the best of comedy this past week or two! Happy Fri-Yay!

Master of None & Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

by Vincent

These days, sitcoms kind of come in all different shapes and sizes. If you're a sitcom traditionalist, preferring classical multi-camera set up with plenty of silly hijinks and audience laughter, there are plenty of shows for you that still exist - from network comedies like The Big Bang Theory and Kevin Can Wait to "reboots" of classic sitcoms on Netflix such as Fuller House and One Day at a Time. There are also still plenty of smart, slick, modern single-camera sitcoms with in the vein of The Office and Modern Family - some of my favorite contemporary examples include NBC's Superstore and Fox's Brooklyn Nine-Nine. But with the rise of streaming and "peak TV" has come with it a new type of sitcom. These sitcoms follow the sitcom mold - they're about 20-30 minutes long, are filled with jokes and lovable characters, and generally tell stories on an episode-by-episode basis. But they're also a little more complex than your average sitcom, are more comfortable telling serialized stories along with their episode-by-episode story lines, and aren't as constructed to the network-mandated act structure of a network (or even cable) sitcom. They're sitcoms designed for streaming services - essentially, they're sitcoms tailor-made for a new age.

Two of these streaming sitcoms - Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Master of None, both Netflix originals - released new seasons this past few weeks. And both of these seasons featured plenty of examples of why both have become buzzed about and beloved cultural hits. Master of None featured two episodes in its season that may wind up being my two favorite episodes of television of this entire year - "New York, I Love You" (a series of disconnected vignettes about peripheral characters on the outskirts of its protagonist Dev's New York life) and "Thanksgiving" (a coming out story of Dev's best friend Denise that's perhaps the most raw and honest coming out story I've ever seen on TV.) These two episodes feature very little of Master of None's protagonist and have nothing to do with the show's central premise or storyline – they’re entirely experimental. And yet, they're some of the most fascinating and refreshing TV you'll find right now. Similarly, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt's third season has some of the best joke writing you could possibly find, and there were several moments where I had to pause my TV because I was laughing so hard. What's even more impressive is the way the show weaves some very dark subject matter between these jokes, revolving around the horrors of Kimmy's past, which she spent being held captive by a madman who convinced her the world had ended. Kimmy started out as a network sitcom (the first season was written for NBC before they sold it to Netflix), but the show's Netflix home has allowed it to gradually uncover the horror of Kimmy's past while still keeping its joke-a-second pace rolling.

Still, while the freedom of Netflix allows these shows to flourish in many ways, there are also some ways where I feel these sitcoms could actually benefit from some of the tightness of network programming. The second season of Master of None spends a large amount of its time on a humdrum romance arc between Dev and a woman he meets in Italy named Francesca, cultivating in an episode that's 45 minutes long and entirely devoted to their relationship. The story is never as interesting as the show thinks it is, and I have to wonder if perhaps some creative restraints may have guided Ansari to either developing the story better or at least shortening it in places (like, maybe a 25 minute episode instead of 45 minutes?). Similarly, there are parts of Kimmy Schmidt's third season that feel like total misfires, particularly in the show's largely unfunny satire of college students that never quite finds its target. And yet, without any real network notes or ability for audience response to influence creative direction, the shows keep going with plotlines and beats that clearly aren't working. I wouldn't want Master of None or Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt to be network sitcoms, as I wouldn't want to lose their heir of experimentation, even if it means they sometimes lack consistency. But they're also signs that the traditional method of doing television may not be completely dead yet.


CBS

CBS has announced Fall 2017 primetime premiere dates. Premiere week opens with The Big Bang Theory at 8:00 PM, leading into the Special Series Premiere of Young Sheldon at 8:30 PM, and the New Comedy Me, Myself & I at 9:30 PM, on Monday, Sept. 25. New Drama SEAL Team joins Survivor and Criminal Minds when they premiere Wednesday, Sept. 27. Wisdom of the Crowd debuts Sunday, Oct. 1 at approx. 8:30 (after NFL), followed by the Season Premiere of NCIS: Los Angeles at approx. 9:30 PM. On Monday, Oct. 2, New Comedy 9JKL premieres at 8:30 PM, following The Big Bang Theory. CBS' Thursday Night Entertainment Lineup returns following the conclusion of Thursday Night Football on Nov. 2 with The Big Bang Theory at 8:00 PM, New Comedy Young Sheldon at 8:30 PM, Mom at 9:00 PM, Life in Pieces at 9:30 PM and New Drama S.W.A.T. at 10:00 PM. Full premiere dates are below:

Sunday, Sept. 24
7:30-8:30 PM — 60 Minutes (50th season premiere)

Monday, Sept. 25
8:00-8:30 PM — The Big Bang Theory (11th season premiere)
8:30-9:00 PM — Young Sheldon (special series debut)
9:00-9:30 PM — Kevin Can Wait (2nd season premiere)
9:30-10:00 PM — Me, Myself and I (series debut)
10:00-11:00 PM — Scorpion (4th season premiere)

Tuesday, Sept. 26
8:00-9:00 PM — NCIS (15th season premiere)
9:00-10:00 PM — Bull (2nd season premiere)
10:00-11:00 PM — NCIS: New Orleans (4th season premiere)

Wednesday, Sept. 27
8:00-9:00 PM — Survivor (35th season premiere)
9:00-10:00 PM — SEAL Team (series debut)
10:00-11:00 PM — Criminal Minds (13th season premiere)

Thursday, Sept. 28
7:30 PM ET — Thursday Night Football Pre-Game Show
8:25 PM ET — Thursday Night Football (Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers)

Friday, Sept. 29
8:00-9:00 PM — MacGyver (2nd season premiere)
9:00-10:00 PM — Hawaii Five-0 (8th season premiere
10:00-11:00 PM — Blue Bloods (8th season premiere)

Saturday, Sept. 30
10:00-11:00 PM — 48 Hours (30th season premiere)

Sunday, Oct. 1
8:30-9:30 PM — Wisdom of the Crowd (series debut)
9:30-10:30 PM — NCIS: Los Angeles (9th season premiere)

Monday, Oct. 2
8:30-9:00 PM — 9JKL (series debut)

Sunday, Oct. 8
10:00-11:00 PM — Madam Secretary (4th season premiere)

Monday, Oct. 30
8:00-8:30 PM — Kevin Can Wait (regular time period)
9:00-9:30 PM — Me, Myself and I (regular time period)
9:30-10:00 PM — Superior Donuts (2nd season premiere)

Thursday, Nov. 2
8:00-8:30 PM — The Big Bang Theory (regular time period)
8:30-9:00 PM — Young Sheldon (regular time period)
9:00-9:30 PM — Mom (5th season premiere)
9:30-10:00 PM — Life in Pieces (3rd season premiere)
10:00-11:00 PM — S.W.A.T. (series debut)


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, December 14

The Big Bang Theory - "The Celebration Reverberation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Sheldon and Wolowitz plan birthday celebrations for Amy and Halley, respectively. Also, Leonard receives a Christmas letter from his brother that causes him to spiral out about his own lack of accomplishments.

Young Sheldon - "Cape Canaveral, Schrödinger’s Cat, and Cyndi Lauper’s Hair" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
In an attempt to bond with Sheldon, George Sr. takes the boys on a road trip to see a space shuttle launch. Also, Mary, Missy and Meemaw have a girls’ weekend at the salon.

Mom - "Too Many Hippies and Huevos Rancheros" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Christy and Bonnie rally around Marjorie when her husband has a stroke.

Life in Pieces - "Thirty-Five Teacher Escape Lottery" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When Jen and Greg hire Clementine as a part-time nanny for Lark and invite her to join them for dinner, the waitress mistakes Jen for Lark’s grandmother. Also, Tyler’s new girlfriend turns out to be Sophia’s fourth grade teacher, John hires a questionable company to set up an escape room in his house, and Matt grows frustrated with Colleen when she blames a valet for stealing her lottery ticket.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 11)

Thursday, December 14

  • Will Smith (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) - Catch Will on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC. He will also be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kevin Hart (The Big House/Undeclared) - Kevin visits The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • John Early (Search Party) - John appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Laura Dern (F Is for Family/Enlightened) - Laura is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. She will also be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am and on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings. She can be heard on The Morning Mash Up on SiriusXM at 10:40am.
  • George Foreman (George) - George stops by Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Niecy Nash (The Soul Man/Getting On/Do Not Disturb/Reno 911!) - Niecy stops by Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah at 11pm. She will also be on Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Brooke Shields (Suddenly Susan) - Brooke guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Ed Helms (The Office) - Ed visits The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • William Shatner ($h*! My Dad Says) - William talks about Better Late Than Never on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Anna Camp (The Mindy Project) - Anna talks about Pitch Perfect 3 on the BUILD Series at 3pm. She can be heard on The Morning Mash Up on SiriusXM at 10am.
  • Nick Jonas (Jonas L.A.) - Nick performs on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am. He will also be on the BUILD SerieS at 11am.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (November/December)

The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Third Season Living Single - The Complete Third Season Alice - The Complete Sixth Season One Day at a Time - The Complete Series Fuller House - The Complete Second Season

11/07 - American Dad! - Volume 12
11/07 - Family Guy - Season Fifteen
11/07 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Third Season
11/14 - D.C. Follies - The Complete Series
11/21 - Living Single - The Complete Third Season
11/24 - Grandfathered - Season 1
12/05 - Alice - The Complete Sixth Season
12/05 - One Day at a Time - The Complete Series
12/05 - The Simpsons - The Eighteenth Season
12/05 - South Park - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray) / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5
12/12 - Fuller House - The Complete Second Season
12/19 - South Park - The Complete Sixth Season (Blu-ray) / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11
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