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, November 15

The Big Bang Theory - "The Citation Negation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Sheldon and Amy are devastated after learning from a Russian paper that Super Asymmetry has already been discovered and disproven. Also, ultra-competitive Bernadette asks Stuart’s girlfriend, Denise (Lauren Lapkus), to teach her how to beat Howard in a popular videogame.

Young Sheldon - "Family Dynamics and a Red Fiero" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Sheldon studies his family for a psychology project, and Thanksgiving dinner turns into a family fight when George Sr. is offered a job in Oklahoma.

Mom - "Jell-O Shots and the Truth about Santa" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Bonnie pushes Christy to mend her relationship with Violet (Sadie Calvano), and Adam prepares for the grand opening of his bar.

Murphy Brown - "The Coma and the Oxford Comma" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
The “Murphy in the Morning” team strives to land a revealing first interview with Corky’s beauty pageant friend, Holly (Brooke Shields), who just woke up from a 10-year coma that made national headlines.

Superstore - "New Initiative" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When a new Cloud 9 initiative forces employees to be friendlier to their customers, Amy (America Ferrera) ends up getting to know Jonah’s (Ben Feldman) parents – and learns he hasn’t been completely truthful with them. The new policy also inspires Garrett (Colton Dunn) and Dina (Lauren Ash) to find out who can hold a smile longer.

The Good Place - "Don't Let the Good Life Pass You By" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Michael and Janet take an important journey. Eleanor ponders whether she should share a secret.

Will & Grace - "Kid 'n Play" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Will (Eric McCormack) discovers that Noah (guest star David Schwimmer) has a child he hasn't told Grace (Debra Messing) about, but is now sworn to secrecy. Karen (Megan Mullally) and Jack's (Sean Hayes) relationship is tested when she fires him from the play she's producing and replaces him with Jon Cryer (guest star).

I Feel Bad - "I Miss Important Moments" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
After missing her baby's first steps, Emet vows not to miss any other important moments. But when a huge, career-making presentation at work comes up at the same time as Lily's dance competition, Emet scrambles to pull off both.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 12)

Thursday, November 15

  • Steve Carell (The Office) - Catch Steve on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Martin Short (Mulaney/The Martin Short Show) - Martin appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta) - Brian visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. He will also be on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Jameela Jamil (The Good Place) - Jameela stops by Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Busy Philipps (Vice Principals/Cougar Town) - Busy is a guest on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Jodie Sweetin (Fuller House/Hollywood Darlings/Full House) - Jodie guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Annie Potts (Young Sheldon/Over the Top/Love & War/Designing Women) - Annie appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Kym Whitley (Young & Hungry/Animal Practice/Sparks) - Kym is a guest on The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Michael Douglas (The Kominsky Method) - Michael talks about Netflix's The Kominsky Method on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am, on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan and on Access Live, so check your listings.
  • Jason George (Eve) - Jason appears on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Tori Anderson (The Other Kingdom) - Tori talks about her Hallmark Movies & Mysteries original Return to Christmas Creek on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.


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

The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection Alice - The Complete Eighth Season Step by Step - The Complete Third Season

10/02 - The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 6th Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 7th Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 8th Season
10/02 - Ghosted - The Complete First Season
10/02 - The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One / Volume Two
10/02 - Police Squad! - TV and Movie Collection
10/02 - Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection
10/16 - Community - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
10/23 - Alice - The Complete Eighth Season
10/24 - The Odd Couple (2015) - Season Two
10/24 - The Odd Couple (2015) - Season Three
10/31 - The Bad News Bears - The Complete Series - All 26 Episodes
11/01 - Episodes - Season 5
11/05 - Robin Williams - Comic Genius (includes Mork & Mindy)
11/06 - American Dad! - Volume 13
11/20 - Step by Step - The Complete Third Season
11/27 - What I Like About You - The Complete Third Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest