Friday, October 13, 2017

Fri-Yay: The Middle on The Top; Hulu Snags Futurama

It's time for another edition of Fri-Yay! That means we will take a look back on some sitcom happenings in recent days or weeks or other fun sitcomy stuff. It's a sitcom lover's paradise! Happy Fri-Yay!

The Middle

by Vincent

This week I'll be talking about a show that just started its final season but remains worthy of your attention: The Middle. The Middle is the quiet bedrock of ABC's comedy line-up, an unassuming little show about how hard it can be to be a lower middle class family in contemporary American society. The Middle premiered during the same fall as Modern Family, so it's always unfortunately been a little "in the shadow" of that series. But over its nine seasons, The Middle has distinguished itself as an often hilarious, always painfully real, and consistently great family sitcom that has helped shape ABC's solid family comedy line-up.

The Middle centers around the Heck family, a working class family in the fictional town of Orson, Indiana. It's anchored by an excellent performance from parents Neil Flynn and Patricia Heaton, but like many other ABC sitcoms, it also stars a surprisingly excellent cast of child actors - though at this point they aren't really "children" anymore. While many sitcoms begin running out of ideas as their younger cast members begin to grow older, The Middle has consistently found new ways to tell stories about its young adult cast members that still tie into the series' "down on their luck yet still optimistic" overall vibe. The Middle will be ending its run on ABC this year, and in a way, it's a shame, because it's the type of show I could see running for years and never growing old. It's not afraid to grow and change with its characters, and it's gotten to a point where I look forward to just hanging out with the Heck family. Plus, the series continues to experiment and toy with its formula - last year the show did an extended serialized arc centered around oldest son Axl's feud with his mom, and mostly nailed it.

It's too bad that The Middle hasn't always gotten the recognition it deserves, but luckily the show has one more full season for you to catch up if you've slept on the show, and will undoubtedly live on in syndication for years, so if you haven't checked it out yet, you have plenty of time. But you should do it soon!


Futurama

On Monday, October 16, 2017, the entire Futurama library - including all four films - will make their long-awaited streaming return, only on Hulu. Matt Groening, the multiple Emmy(R) Award-winning creator and executive producer of The Simpsons, has hatched another outrageous look at the world, Futurama. But we're not in Springfield anymore - we're in New York, a thousand years from now, and it's like no future you ever imagined! FRY (voiced by Billy West), a young Everyman, finds himself accidentally transported 1,000 years in the future. Just like right now, life in the future is a complex mix of the wonderful and horrible, where things are still laughable no matter how wild and crazy they get. And against a backdrop of pesky aliens, exasperating robots and malfunctioning gadgets, people still struggle with the same daily anxieties of life and love... and, of course, traffic is still a nightmare!

Having literally escaped his unfulfilled past, Fry uses his newfound sense of freedom to help his friends in the future escape their regimented lives. His companions include LEELA (voiced by Katey Sagal), a beautiful female alien who can kick some serious butt, and BENDER (voiced by John DiMaggio), a hopelessly neurotic assembly line robot. Working together, Fry and his colleagues buck the system in pursuit of happiness. And with each passing day, the future becomes Fry's home. With his unique satirical humor and distinctive style, Matt Groening has created another unconventional but lovable family. Futurama explores all the joys and disappointments of human existence, as well as some problems we don't have to worry about yet, such as what to do when the cell phone implanted in your thumb dials the wrong number. And while the show has a lot to say about today, more than anything Futurama is a celebration of the future at its wildest.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, March 21

Superstore - "Blizzard" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
With a massive snowstorm beating down on St. Louis -- and an unsympathetic home office -- the Cloud 9 employees and customers get snowed in, leading to escalating tensions and infighting.

A.P. Bio - "Wednesday Morning, 8 AM" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
In the hectic 30 minutes that start every day at Whitlock, Jack tries to retrieve his massage chair from Whitlock's intriguing payroll accountant, Lynette; Durbin and Helen prepare for the morning announcements; Michelle gives a eulogy.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine - "The Therapist" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Charles brings Jake into a case when a therapist reports one of his patients missing; Holt finds out Rosa has a new girlfriend that everyone else has met; Amy believes she has accidentally received a package meant for Terry.

Will & Grace - "Conscious Coupling" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When both of their boyfriends ask to move in, Will and Grace use each other as an excuse to get out of it; a snowstorm traps Karen at the office and Jack in an elevator, where he reunites with old flame Drew and tests his commitment to monogamy.

Better Things - "Monsters in the Moonlight" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Sam deals with monsters.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of March 18)

Thursday, March 21

  • Retta (Parks and Recreation) - Catch Retta on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep/The New Adventures of Old Christine/Seinfeld) - Julia is a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Amber Tamblyn (Two and a Half Men) - Amber appears on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Andrew Rannells (Black Monday/Girls/The New Normal) - Andrew stops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Matt LeBlanc (Man with a Plan/Episodes/Joey/Friends/Vinnie & Bobby) - Matt is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Will Arnett (Arrested Development/Up All Night/Runing Wilde) - Will appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Courteney Cox (Cougar Town/Friends/Family Ties) - Courteney drops by E!'s Busy Tonight at 11pm.
  • Tony Danza (Taxi/Who's the Boss?/Hudston Street/The Tony Danza Show) - Tony will be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Christina Milian (Grandfathered) - Christina talks about The Oath on ABC's Strahan & Sara at 1pm and on People Now at 12pm.
  • Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory/8 Simple Rules) - Kaley appears on E!'s Daily Pop at 12pm.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (January/February/March)

Step by Step - The Complete Fourth Season What I Like About You - The Complete Fourth Season Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Second Season Alice - The Complete Ninth Season The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fifth Season

01/08 - Family Guy - 20 Greatest Hits
01/22 - Fuller House - The Complete Third Season
01/22 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fourth Season (WBShop.com)
01/29 - Ballers - The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)
01/29 - Crashing - The Complete Second Season
01/29 - The Game - The Complete Series
01/29 - Kidding - Season One
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 1 - Volumes 1-5
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 2 - Volumes 6-10
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 3 - Seasons 10-14
02/05 - First Lady of Television - Betty White Collection (40 rare and acclaimed episodes from her early days in television)
02/05 - Mama's Family - Seasons 1-6 - The Complete Series
02/12 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-3 (Blu-ray)
02/12 - Step by Step - The Complete Fourth Season
02/26 - What I Like About You - The Complete Fourth Season
03/05 - Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Second Season (WBShop.com)
03/12 - Alice - The Complete Ninth Season (WBShop.com)
03/26 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
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