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

Saturday, January 19

Henry Danger - "Part 3: A New Hero" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Schwoz works to create an antivirus to stop an evil plan; Kid Danger and Captain Man battle a villain; Kid Danger's heroism is put to the ultimate test as they fight to save the world.

Cousins for Life - "Hot Dog Day Afternoon" (Nickelodeon, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Ivy and Stuart are surprised to find themselves at odds when Ivy and her mom wage a protest against Stuart's favorite chain restaurant.

Knight Squad - "End of the Knight" (Nickelodeon, 9:00PM ET/PT)
An injured Princess Eliza informs the kingdom that evil Ryker is near the all-powerful Armor of Astoria; Arc and Ciara race to its location, but a shocking betrayal allows Ryker to take the armor and reclaim Astoria's throne.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 14)

Friday, January 18

  • Maura Tierney (NewsRadio) - Watch Maura on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Elizabeth Banks (Scrubs) - Elizabeth visits The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. She talks about The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) - Andy appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie/Malibu Country) and Jane Fonda (Grace and Frankie) - Lily and Jane are guests on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Pete Holmes (Crashing) - Pete appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Molly Ringwald (Townies/The Facts of Life) - Molly talks about All These Small Moments on People Now at 12pm.
  • Don Cheadle (Black Monday/House of Lies/The Golden Palace) - Don talks about Black Monday on ABC's GMA Day at 1pm.
  • Dave Franco (Scrubs/Do Not Disturb) - Dave talks about If Beale Street Could Talk on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Adam Pally (Champaign ILL/Making History/The Mindy Project/Happy Endings) and Sam Richardson (Champaign ILL/Detroiters/Veep) - Adam and Sam talk about Champaign ILL on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.


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

Step by Step - The Complete Third Season Perfect Strangers - The Complete Sixth Season Fuller House - The Complete Third Season The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fourth Season The Game - The Complete Series

11/01 - Episodes - Season 5
11/05 - Robin Williams - Comic Genius (includes Mork & Mindy)
11/06 - American Dad! - Volume 13
11/16 - Man with a Plan - Season One
11/20 - Step by Step - The Complete Third Season
11/27 - What I Like About You - The Complete Third Season
11/28 - The Great Indoors - Season 1 (The Complete Series)
12/04 - Family Guy - Season Sixteen
12/04 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Sixth Season
12/18 - Our Cartoon President - Season One
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
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest