Friday, September 14, 2018

Fri-Yay: A Look at the Upcoming Sitcom Slate; TV Guide's 1st Annual 100 Best Shows List

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 Conners

by Vincent

It's fall (or at least almost fall), which means a few things: cooler weather, pumpkin spice flavored everything, and...a brand new slate of network sitcoms! Now, that was a much more exciting prospect even 5 or 10 years ago. As cable and streaming services have boomed, it feels increasingly less like there's a real "TV season - even the networks themselves aren't always restricting themselves to the old September to May model, with many promising shows being held for mid-season and airing shorter seasons. Yet, the networks will still trot out a whole bunch of new shows this fall. I'll be taking a closer look at each show over the next few weeks, but I thought I'd take this week's column to give my opinion on the overall slate of sitcoms and what shows I'm particularly keeping an eye on.

Last fall was a pretty weak one for new sitcoms, and frankly, this fall isn't all that much better. You can very clearly see the response to the success of the Roseanne reboot in this fall's sitcom slate, as many of the buzziest prospects on networks are actually revivals - from the revived Murphy Brown to the "re-imagined" version of the Roseanne reboot The Conners to the also "revived" Last Man Standing. Expect these shows to get a lot of buzz regardless of quality - especially since, frankly, the rest of the slate is pretty weak. Still, there's a couple of shows I'll be keeping my own. Fox largely destroyed its comedy block at Upfronts this past spring, but it is premiering new series Rel, starring The Carmichael Show's Lil Rel Howery. Howery was a strong part of Carmichael, so it'll be interesting to see him in a new role. I'll also be keeping an eye on ABC's Single Parents, which gets the post-Modern Family slot and stars SNL alum Taran Killam. That suggests it should at least be watchable if ABC is giving it that plum slot, right? Plus, Killam is a great comedic talent who should bring liveliness to the role regardless of the quality of the rest of the show. I'm also interested in NBC's I Feel Bad, which is produced by Amy Poehler and stars Sarayu Blue in her first TV role. It's interesting to see Poehler giving a chance to a fresh voice, and I'll be keeping an eye out. Finally, Fox will be pairing its revived Last Man Standing with The Cool Kids, a multi-camera sitcom about a retirement home...which sort of shows you the audience they'll be courting for their Friday night comedy block. Oh, and CBS is premiering a drama called God Friended Me, about...a podcast host who becomes friends with God. It certainly has the potential to be the most, uh, interesting show of the fall.

Frankly, if you're someone who believes network sitcoms are losing their relevancy, this slate of sitcoms may not change your mind. But I'm an optimist who believes great shows like The Good Place, Superstore and Brooklyn Nine-Nine are proving the network sitcom can still be excellent, so I'll be hoping these shows defy the odds and step up to the plate.


TV Guide 100 Best Shows

TV Guide has launched its first-ever 100 Best Shows list. Ahead of the fall TV season, TV Guide's team of editors and pop culture experts have curated the site's first annual ranking of the best shows available to watch right now. TV Guide's 100 Best Shows ranking focuses on highlighting what the editorial team believes to be the most outstanding shows right now. Eligibility is limited to ongoing shows that have at least one more season slated to air.

The top 10 highest-ranked shows include:

The Good Place (NBC)
Atlanta (FX)
Better Call Saul (AMC)
One Day at a Time (Netflix)
Killing Eve (BBC America)
Game of Thrones (HBO)
Stranger Things (Netflix)
Big Little Lies(HBO)
This Is Us (NBC)
Bob's Burgers (FOX)

Out of all the outlets and streaming services, Netflix racked up the most mentions with 20 shows on the list; HBO followed with 10, and FX had seven. Several TV creators stood out among their peers with more than one show on the list, including Michael Schur (The Good Place and Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag and Killing Eve). TV fans can visit tvguide.com/100BestShows to view the full list, learn more about the featured series, take a personality quiz to recommend their next binge and watch behind-the-scenes footage from the stars of top-ranked shows, including Sterling K. Brown, Kristen Bell, Ted Danson, Brian Tyree Henry, Patrick Fabian and more.


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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