Friday, July 27, 2018

Fri-Yay: What Direction Are Sitcoms Headed In?; REELZ Fall 2018 Slate Includes John Ritter Special

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 Good Place

by Vincent

In my last column, I discussed sitcom's past, and which decade represented the best that sitcoms had to offer. In this column, I'll be taking a look at where I think sitcoms are headed as we head towards the end of the 2010s into a new decade.

If we look back at the 2010s as a decade for sitcoms, you'll notice that, with the exception of The Big Bang Theory (which is the decade's most popular sitcom for sure but almost seems at odds with the rest of the most popular sitcoms of the decade), single-camera sitcoms were dominant. The decade was defined by shows like Modern Family and Parks and Recreation - and, when these shows premiered, their single-camera mockumentary format was inventive and fresh. Now, however, we've seen that format become somewhat overplayed and fall in popularity. The most popular and acclaimed sitcoms of the current moment are shows like Superstore, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Good Place. These shows are still single-camera, but - while being unique for other reasons - are a bit more traditional in their storytelling format. However, these shows all have very unique, well-defined characters and fast-paced humor, so I would expect that to continue in the near future.

An interesting question mark is whether multi-camera sitcoms will make a comeback. The format has been slowly dying out, and seems to have hit its lowest point this decade - after single-cams began growing in popularity in the 2000s, the 2010s ramped up their production of them, particularly after shows like The Office and Modern Family became big hits, proving that single-camera sitcoms weren't just a niche trend, but something that could be transported to large audiences. CBS has really struggled to replace its multi-cam massive hit The Big Bang Theory with a similar replacement - most of their attempts to find "the next Big Bang Theory" have either started strong but wound up disappointing (such as 2 Broke Girls), completely misfired altogether (such as Kevin Can Wait). They found some success with the consistently solid performer Mom, but it's never quite been the giant hit CBS likely would want it to be. It's pretty telling that CBS's spin-off of Big Bang is actually a single-cam rather than a multi-cam. However, the revival of Roseanne, even with all of its controversy, may prove to be a turning point in favor of multi-camera sitcoms. Networks are desperate to find a show that appeals to wide audiences as much as the Roseanne reboot did without the political controversy, and considering how many viewers tuned into the multi-camera Roseanne reboot, a multi-camera sitcom could be the trick. Add that to the fact that Netflix's One Day at a Time and NBC's canceled but beloved The Carmichael Show have found a lot of fan and critical love, and the tides may be turning towards multi-camera sitcoms once again. So could the 2020s see a move back towards more traditional sitcoms? It's certainly possible, but I'd say that we should still expect the expiration of the 2000s and 2010s to continue - a balance of both, though, presents an interesting future for the sitcom.


Behind Closed Doors

REELZ announced its fall 2018 programming slate including new series, new specials, new episodes of returning series and the Stand Up To Cancer fundraising telecast airing for the first time on the network. Of note for us is their Behind Closed Doors specials. Every so often a star leaves an everlasting mark on culture and entertainment creating household names with stories that enthrall the public. This is especially true with the stories of John Ritter and Paul Walker who are the focus of two new Behind Closed Doors specials hosted by Natalie Morales. Rounding out the new specials is Casey Anthony showing viewers her shocking tale as told through unprecedented access to Anthony's inner circle and the law enforcement officials who worked the case.

Behind Closed Doors (New John Ritter episode premieres Saturday, September 8 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT)- Behind Closed Doors original documentary specials hosted by Natalie Morales return with new episodes about the life and legacy of Three's Company star John Ritter and an intimate look at The Fast and the Furious star Paul Walker's life cut short by tragedy. Behind Closed Doors examines the lives of beloved celebrities utilizing the vast offerings of NBC News historical archives including rarely seen footage and revealing interviews with the celebrities themselves along with fresh interviews from those who knew or worked with them. Behind Closed Doors specials are produced by NBC News' Peacock Productions.

John Ritter: Behind Closed Doors premieres Saturday, September 8 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT. As Jack Tripper on Three's Company, John Ritter established himself as one of the most gifted comedians of a generation, launching a prolific career in television and movies that would make him one of America's most beloved stars. But for a man so brilliant in comedy it was the tragedy of an undiagnosed aortic aneurysm that would cut his life short at just 54 years old. Through personal stories told by his closest friends and co-stars including Suzanne Somers, Joyce DeWitt, Henry Winkler, Peter Bogdanovich, Jimmy Kimmel and Kaley Cuoco, John Ritter: Behind Closed Doors reveals the generous spirit behind Ritter's undeniable talent, his legacy of laughter and his family's determination to save lives by raising awareness of the condition that caused his death. Paul Walker: Behind Closed Doors premieres Sunday, November 25 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT. The Casey Anthony new documentary special premieres Sunday, December 9 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Monday, October 22

The Neighborhood - "Welcome to the Housewarming" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Dave and Gemma decide to invite the Butlers to their housewarming party. However, when everyone but Calvin accepts, Dave decides he’s finally had enough of Calvin’s refusal to welcome him to town.

Happy Together - "About Your Parents" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Claire gets sick, Jake is determined to prove that he can take care of her without relying on her parents, Bonnie and Gerald.

Andi Mack - "It's a Dilemma" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Andi's plans for a group outing with Buffy, Cyrus and Jonah are interrupted by Walker; Bowie's new guitar student proves to be a challenge; Cyrus seeks an alternative to P.E. and ends up in a dance class.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 22)

Monday, October 22

  • Juliette Lewis (Camping/A Family for Joe/I Married Dora) - Watch Juliette on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Sarah Silverman (The Sarah Silverman Program) - Sarah appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. She will also be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Scott Bakula (Murphy Brown/Eisenhower and Lutz/Gung Ho) - Scott drops by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He will also be on CBS This Morning sometime between 7-9am.
  • Ike Barinholtz (The Mindy Project) - Ike is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Dakota Johnson (Ben and Kate) - Dakota visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Craig Robinson (Ghosted/Mr. Robinson/The Office) - Craig stops by Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation) - Aubrey appears on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Mary McCormack (The Kids Are Alright/Welcome to the Family) - Mary drops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo. She will also be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Wendi McLendon-Covey (The Goldbergs/Rules of Engagement/Reno 911!) - Wendi chats on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Jada Pinkett Smith (A Different World) - Jada talks about the Facebook Watch series Red Table Talk on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Finesse Mitchell (A.N.T. Farm) - Finesse visits The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Malcolm-Jamal Warner (The Cosby Show/Here and Now/Malcolm and Eddie/Listen Up!/Reed Between the Lines) - Malcolm-Jamal appears on ABC's GMA Day at 1pm.
  • Cedric Yarbrough (Speechless/Reno 911!) - Cedric is a guest on People Now at 12pm.
  • Nico Tortorella (Younger) - Nico is a guest on the BUILD Series at 12pm.


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

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

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
10/02 - The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season
10/02 - The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One / Volume Two
10/02 - Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection
10/16 - Police Squad! - TV and Movie Collection
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest