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

Saturday, September 22

Henry Danger - "Henry's Frittle Problem" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When Henry's dad gets an offer for a new job in Bordertown, Henry and Ray go under cover to try and stop him from getting the job and prevent Henry from having to move.

Knight Squad - "Take Me Home to Knight" (Nickelodeon, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Arc's swindler father wants his son to leave Knight School and help with his latest con; to prove he's destined for knighthood instead, Arc stands up for himself, but soon becomes stuck in one of his father's shady schemes.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of September 17)

Friday, September 21

  • Nik Dodani (Atypical) - Watch Nik on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Maya Rudolph (Forever/Up All Night) and Fred Armisen (Forever) - Maya and Fred are guests on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond) - Ray appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Rami Malek (The War at Home) - Rami is a guest on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm/Son of Zorn/Suburgatory) - Cheryl chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Tiffany Haddish (The Last O.G./The Carmichael Show) - Tiffany guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Wanda Sykes (The New Adventures of Old Christine/Wanda at Large) - Wanda stops by The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Beth Behrs (2 Broke Girls) - Beth appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Meagan Good (Cousin Skeeter/Raising Dad) - Meagan is a guest on The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Jay Ellis (Insecure/The Game) - Jay appears on The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Tony Danza (Taxi/Who's the Boss?/Hudson Street/The Tony Danza Show) - Tony talks about his new Netflix show The Good Cop on People Now at 12pm.
  • Rob Lowe (The Grinder/Parks and Recreation) - Rob opens up about his biggest scandals and how he got his health back on The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings.
  • Beth Hall (Mom) - Beth appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Jane Lynch (Angel from Hell) - Jane will be on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Martha Plimpton (The Real O'Neals/Raising Hope) - Martha is a guest on the BUILD Series at 1pm.
  • Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory/8 Simple Rules) - Kaley chats on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Sanaa Lathan (Family Guy/The Cleveland Show/LateLine) - Sanaa appears on Access Live, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (August/September)

The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Eleventh Season The Middle - The Complete Ninth Season Modern Family - The Complete Ninth Season Step by Step - The Complete Second Season Perfect Strangers - The Complete Fifth Season

08/07 - Happy Endings - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
08/15 - A.P. Bio - Season One
08/28 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Five
08/28 - Man Seeking Woman - The Complete Third Season
09/04 - It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - The Complete Season 12
09/04 - Mom - The Complete Fifth Season
09/04 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Fifth Season
09/04 - Superstore - Season Three
09/04 - Young Sheldon - The Complete First Season
09/11 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Eleventh Season (Blu-ray)
09/11 - The Middle - The Complete Ninth Season
09/11 - Modern Family - The Complete Ninth Season
09/11 - People of Earth - The Complete Second Season
09/18 - Community - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
09/18 - Step by Step - The Complete Second Season
09/18 - You're the Worst - The Complete Fourth Season
09/25 - Blondie - The Complete 1957 Television Series
09/25 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Fifth Season
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