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

Tuesday, May 22

Roseanne - "Knee Deep" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Roseanne’s knee gets worse so Dan is forced to a make an important work decision; but when a major storm hits Lanford, their fortunes change for the better. Later, Darlene realizes she has to go back to her first passion … writing.

The Middle - "A Heck of a Ride: Part One" / "A Heck of a Ride: Part Two" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
After nine hilarious and heartfelt seasons, a Heck leaves the nest as the family takes a road trip to Denver, where Axl will start his new job – and new life away from home.

Splitting Up Together - "Heat Wave" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Lena and Martin choose to share the house for the summer while the children are away at camp despite Lena’s reservations, but both soon realize it might not be the worst idea. Meanwhile, they collectively agree to throw their annual backyard piƱa colada party where they will celebrate their independence from their children. Elsewhere, a friendly face returns back home and Martin can’t help but see it as a sign.

The Last O.G. - "That Backslide" (TBS, 10:30PM ET/PT)
Left reeling from the error of his ways, Tray goes into a tailspin and turns to Bobby for support.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 21)

Tuesday, May 22

  • Chris Hardwick (Guys Like Us) - Catch Chris on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley) - Thomas appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Cristin Milioti (A to Z/How I Met Your Mother) - Cristin is a guest on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Cedric the Entertainer (The Last O.G./The Soul Man/The Steve Harvey Show) - Cedric visits Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Patricia Heaton (The Middle/Back to You/Everybody Loves Raymond) - Patricia talks about the series finale of The Middle on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings. Mychael Symon cooks with Patricia on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • David Spade (The Mayor/Rules of Engagement/8 Simple Rules/Just Shoot Me!) - David appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Geena Davis (The Geena Davis Show/Buffal Bill) - Geena is a guest on Access Live, so check your local listings.
  • Nolan Gould (Modern Family) - Nolan talks about Modern Family on Chatter on PeopleTV at 8pm.
  • Dan Fogler (Man Up!) - Dan talks about his new book Brooklyn Gladiator on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Will Arnett (Arrested Development/The Millers/Up All Night) and Tony Hale (Arrested Development/Veep) - Will and Tony talk about Arrested Development on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • William Shatner ($h*! My Dad Says) - William is a guest on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Gillian Jacobs (Love/Community) - Gillian talks about her new film Ibiza on the BUILD Series at 5pm.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (March/April/May)

Atlanta - The Complete First Season Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Ninth Season One Day at a Time - Season Two Perfect Strangers  - The Complete Third Season Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Final (Eighth) Season

03/06 - Atlanta - The Complete First Season
03/06 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Ninth Season
03/13 - The New Adventures of Old Christine - The Complete First Season
03/27 - One Day at a Time - Season Two
04/03 - Ballers - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
04/03 - 90's Sitcom (Just Shoot Me!/The Larry Sanders Show/Wings) Starter Set - Season 1 & 2 Bundle
04/10 - Vice Principals - The Compelte Series
04/17 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Third Season
05/08 - Dear White People - Season 1
05/08 - Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Final (Eighth) Season
05/29 - I'm Dying Up Here - Season 1
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest