Friday, June 02, 2017

Fri-Yay: Master of None & Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt New Seasons; CBS Fall 2017 Premiere Dates

Our Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows weekly report will now move to Sundays, because now we have a new feature from one of our writers, Vincent, that will dive into the week in sitcoms. The new feature is called Fri-Yay, so that means a look back on some of the best of comedy this past week or two! Happy Fri-Yay!

Master of None & Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

by Vincent

These days, sitcoms kind of come in all different shapes and sizes. If you're a sitcom traditionalist, preferring classical multi-camera set up with plenty of silly hijinks and audience laughter, there are plenty of shows for you that still exist - from network comedies like The Big Bang Theory and Kevin Can Wait to "reboots" of classic sitcoms on Netflix such as Fuller House and One Day at a Time. There are also still plenty of smart, slick, modern single-camera sitcoms with in the vein of The Office and Modern Family - some of my favorite contemporary examples include NBC's Superstore and Fox's Brooklyn Nine-Nine. But with the rise of streaming and "peak TV" has come with it a new type of sitcom. These sitcoms follow the sitcom mold - they're about 20-30 minutes long, are filled with jokes and lovable characters, and generally tell stories on an episode-by-episode basis. But they're also a little more complex than your average sitcom, are more comfortable telling serialized stories along with their episode-by-episode story lines, and aren't as constructed to the network-mandated act structure of a network (or even cable) sitcom. They're sitcoms designed for streaming services - essentially, they're sitcoms tailor-made for a new age.

Two of these streaming sitcoms - Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Master of None, both Netflix originals - released new seasons this past few weeks. And both of these seasons featured plenty of examples of why both have become buzzed about and beloved cultural hits. Master of None featured two episodes in its season that may wind up being my two favorite episodes of television of this entire year - "New York, I Love You" (a series of disconnected vignettes about peripheral characters on the outskirts of its protagonist Dev's New York life) and "Thanksgiving" (a coming out story of Dev's best friend Denise that's perhaps the most raw and honest coming out story I've ever seen on TV.) These two episodes feature very little of Master of None's protagonist and have nothing to do with the show's central premise or storyline – they’re entirely experimental. And yet, they're some of the most fascinating and refreshing TV you'll find right now. Similarly, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt's third season has some of the best joke writing you could possibly find, and there were several moments where I had to pause my TV because I was laughing so hard. What's even more impressive is the way the show weaves some very dark subject matter between these jokes, revolving around the horrors of Kimmy's past, which she spent being held captive by a madman who convinced her the world had ended. Kimmy started out as a network sitcom (the first season was written for NBC before they sold it to Netflix), but the show's Netflix home has allowed it to gradually uncover the horror of Kimmy's past while still keeping its joke-a-second pace rolling.

Still, while the freedom of Netflix allows these shows to flourish in many ways, there are also some ways where I feel these sitcoms could actually benefit from some of the tightness of network programming. The second season of Master of None spends a large amount of its time on a humdrum romance arc between Dev and a woman he meets in Italy named Francesca, cultivating in an episode that's 45 minutes long and entirely devoted to their relationship. The story is never as interesting as the show thinks it is, and I have to wonder if perhaps some creative restraints may have guided Ansari to either developing the story better or at least shortening it in places (like, maybe a 25 minute episode instead of 45 minutes?). Similarly, there are parts of Kimmy Schmidt's third season that feel like total misfires, particularly in the show's largely unfunny satire of college students that never quite finds its target. And yet, without any real network notes or ability for audience response to influence creative direction, the shows keep going with plotlines and beats that clearly aren't working. I wouldn't want Master of None or Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt to be network sitcoms, as I wouldn't want to lose their heir of experimentation, even if it means they sometimes lack consistency. But they're also signs that the traditional method of doing television may not be completely dead yet.


CBS

CBS has announced Fall 2017 primetime premiere dates. Premiere week opens with The Big Bang Theory at 8:00 PM, leading into the Special Series Premiere of Young Sheldon at 8:30 PM, and the New Comedy Me, Myself & I at 9:30 PM, on Monday, Sept. 25. New Drama SEAL Team joins Survivor and Criminal Minds when they premiere Wednesday, Sept. 27. Wisdom of the Crowd debuts Sunday, Oct. 1 at approx. 8:30 (after NFL), followed by the Season Premiere of NCIS: Los Angeles at approx. 9:30 PM. On Monday, Oct. 2, New Comedy 9JKL premieres at 8:30 PM, following The Big Bang Theory. CBS' Thursday Night Entertainment Lineup returns following the conclusion of Thursday Night Football on Nov. 2 with The Big Bang Theory at 8:00 PM, New Comedy Young Sheldon at 8:30 PM, Mom at 9:00 PM, Life in Pieces at 9:30 PM and New Drama S.W.A.T. at 10:00 PM. Full premiere dates are below:

Sunday, Sept. 24
7:30-8:30 PM — 60 Minutes (50th season premiere)

Monday, Sept. 25
8:00-8:30 PM — The Big Bang Theory (11th season premiere)
8:30-9:00 PM — Young Sheldon (special series debut)
9:00-9:30 PM — Kevin Can Wait (2nd season premiere)
9:30-10:00 PM — Me, Myself and I (series debut)
10:00-11:00 PM — Scorpion (4th season premiere)

Tuesday, Sept. 26
8:00-9:00 PM — NCIS (15th season premiere)
9:00-10:00 PM — Bull (2nd season premiere)
10:00-11:00 PM — NCIS: New Orleans (4th season premiere)

Wednesday, Sept. 27
8:00-9:00 PM — Survivor (35th season premiere)
9:00-10:00 PM — SEAL Team (series debut)
10:00-11:00 PM — Criminal Minds (13th season premiere)

Thursday, Sept. 28
7:30 PM ET — Thursday Night Football Pre-Game Show
8:25 PM ET — Thursday Night Football (Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers)

Friday, Sept. 29
8:00-9:00 PM — MacGyver (2nd season premiere)
9:00-10:00 PM — Hawaii Five-0 (8th season premiere
10:00-11:00 PM — Blue Bloods (8th season premiere)

Saturday, Sept. 30
10:00-11:00 PM — 48 Hours (30th season premiere)

Sunday, Oct. 1
8:30-9:30 PM — Wisdom of the Crowd (series debut)
9:30-10:30 PM — NCIS: Los Angeles (9th season premiere)

Monday, Oct. 2
8:30-9:00 PM — 9JKL (series debut)

Sunday, Oct. 8
10:00-11:00 PM — Madam Secretary (4th season premiere)

Monday, Oct. 30
8:00-8:30 PM — Kevin Can Wait (regular time period)
9:00-9:30 PM — Me, Myself and I (regular time period)
9:30-10:00 PM — Superior Donuts (2nd season premiere)

Thursday, Nov. 2
8:00-8:30 PM — The Big Bang Theory (regular time period)
8:30-9:00 PM — Young Sheldon (regular time period)
9:00-9:30 PM — Mom (5th season premiere)
9:30-10:00 PM — Life in Pieces (3rd season premiere)
10:00-11:00 PM — S.W.A.T. (series debut)


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Wednesday, April 14

The Goldbergs - "Who's Afraid of Bree Bea?" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
After realizing there may be trouble in lovers’ paradise for Erica and Geoff, Beverly involves herself in their relationship as well as Barry and Joanne’s to make sure everyone stays together. Meanwhile, Adam and Brea are cast opposite of each other in the school play, but their excitement for one another’s success grows dim when one starts to outshine the other onstage.

Home Economics - "Mermaid Taffeta Wedding Dress, $1,999" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
The Hayworth family is invited to the wedding of longtime family friend Spags. When Connor enlists Tom’s help to write and re-write a wedding toast, things take an unexpected turn between the brothers. Sarah realizes Denise is upset they never had a real wedding, while Marina meticulously plans her drinking schedule for a night out without the kids.

The Conners - "Regrets, Rehabs and Realtors" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Dan encounters a surprise visitor who shares some unsolicited advice, leaving him feeling guilty. Meanwhile, Darlene welcomes a new employee to Wellman Plastics.

Call Your Mother - "The Prime of Miss Jean Raines" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Before Sharon leaves town, she and Jean decide to plan a trip to Vegas. Meanwhile, Celia and Freddie have a serious conversation about whether or not they want kids.

United States of Al - "Pilot" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Marine veteran Riley, home at last after serving in Afghanistan, is happily reunited with his friend Awalmir, who goes by Al, the interpreter with his unit, after a long struggle to get him a visa to travel to the United States from Afghanistan.

United States of Al - "Repair/Tarmim" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Al uses his skills as a translator to try and repair the tense relationship between Riley and his estranged wife, Vanessa. Also, Lizzie is heartbroken when she is at a party and loses her late fiancĂ©’s dog tags.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 12)

Wednesday, April 14

  • Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine/Are We There Yet?/Everybody Hates Chris) - Watch Terry on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Allison Janney (Mom/Mr. Sunshine) - Allison appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Mary Lynn Rajskub (How to Be a Gentleman/Veronica's Closet/The Larry Sanders Show) - Mary is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Margaret Cho (All-Americna Girl) - Margaret will be on A Little Late with Lilly Singh at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Topher Grace (Home Economics/That '70s Show) - Topher chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Dylan McDermott (No Activity/LA to Vegas) - Dylan appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Jonh Corbett (Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll/United States of Tara) - John talks about Rebel on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Jason Biggs (Outmatched/Mad Love/Drexell's Class) - Jason will be on a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kyra Sedgwick (Call Your Mother) - Kyra appears on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • Emma Kenney (The Conners/Roseanne) - Emma talks about Shameless on ABC's GMA 3: What You Need to Know at 1pm.
  • Nicole Byer (Loosely Exactly Nicole) - Nicole talks about Netflix's Nailed It and TBS' Wipeout on Access Daily, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (January-April)

Corporate - Season 2 Fam - The Complete Series Betty White's Pet Set - The Complete Series Happy Together - The Complete Series Til Death - The Complete Series

01/22 - Corporate - Season 2
01/22 - Corporate - Season 3
02/02 - Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In - The Complete Series (2021 Retail Release)
02/16 - Fam - The Complete Series
02/23 - Betty White's Pet Set - The Complete Series
03/02 - Blue Mountain State - The Complete Series
03/02 - Happy Together - The Complete Series
03/02 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-4 (DVD) (Blu-ray)
04/20 - 'Til Death - The Complete Series

More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


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