Friday, September 28, 2018

Fri-Yay: Returning Sitcoms This Fall; CBS Fall Pilot Review: The Neighborhood - Premieres Monday (Oct. 1); Fox Fall Pilot Preview: The Cool Kids - Premieres Tonight (Sept. 28)

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

This week officially kicks off the TV season. A few weeks ago, I took a look at some of the new sitcoms and offered what I'm looking out for in them. However, to be honest, I'm far more interested in returning sitcoms this year. There are a lot of really strong sitcoms on network TV right now, and some others that aren't quite there but show some promise, and I'm really interested to see how everything shapes out as the new season takes form.

The network that I'll be most tuned to is NBC, which sees new seasons of Superstore and The Good Place (which premiered last night). These are my two favorite sitcoms on network TV right now, and two of my favorite shows on TV period. Their previous seasons were extraordinary, and I'm really hoping they keep up the high quality in their upcoming seasons. Both shows ended their last seasons in ways that have left me in baited breath waiting to see what comes next. I'm super pumped for these shows. Also on NBC is Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which is slated for the fall - of course, the show famously was cancelled by Fox and was resurrected by NBC last spring. The show fits really well with network mates Superstore and The Good Place, and I can't wait to see on a network that it always sort of felt like it should be on. (It's produced by NBCUniversal, so NBC has always had a stake in it.)

Around the rest of the networks, ABC continues to have a solid comedy line-up with shows like The Goldbergs, black-ish and Fresh Off the Boat continuing to plug along with consistently solid episodes. These are always good "comfort" TV shows, and with the departure of The Middle, they'll be serving as a continuation of ABC's strong comedy fort. Even if The Connors doesn't work out, ABC has a really solid bedrock of family comedy to rely on. CBS also has consistently solid shows like Mom and Life in Pieces to look forward to, and although Big Bang Theory has never exactly been my cup of tea, the excitement of the show's final season will definitely be felt. Over on Fox, things are looking pretty desolate comedy-wise - the network wiped its live action slate clean last season. The only returning sitcom is Last Man Standing, which of course, was resurrected after ABC cancelled it over a year ago. I am, however, looking forward to Bob's Burgers 9th season, which is slowing no signs of dropping off in quality and remains delightfully sweet and funny.

So even if the new slate disappoints, there will be enough great sitcoms on TV every week from our returning slate to make it worthwhile. Let's hope these shows continue to impress!


The Neighborhood

The Neighborhood - Mondays at 8:00 PM ET/PT on CBS
Premieres Monday, October 1, 2018 at 8:00PM ET/PT


by Skees

Welcome to The Neighborhood! One of the newest series on the CBS lineup this fall follows Dave Johnson (Max Greenfield) as he moves his family from Michigan to Los Angeles. But there is something different about this neighborhood compared to his one back home. The Johnsons are the only white family in the all black neighborhood. Much like a throwback to the fish-out-of-water sitcoms of past eras, The Neighborhood follows the Johnsons and their next-door neighbors, the Butlers, as they make the best of the new situation.

Cast Details:

Max Greenfield as Dave Johnson
Cedric the Entertainer as Calvin Butler
Beth Behrs as Gemma Johnson
Tichina Arnold as Tina Butler
Sheaun McKinney as Malcolm Butler
Marcel Spears as Marty Butler
Hank Greenspan as Grover Johnson

Max Greenfield (Dave Johnson) has appeared in recurring roles in Veronica Mars and Ugly Betty, but most recently, he appeared in the Fox series New Girl.

Cedric the Entertainer (Calvin Butler) is best known for his standup comedy work, and has starred in series such as The Steve Harvey Show and most recently The Soul Man. Additionally, he served as host of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? for one season.

Beth Behrs (Gemma Johnson) is best known for her role of Caroline Channing on 2 Broke Girls. She has had guest appearances in The Big Bang Theory, Castle, and NCIS: Los Angeles.

Tichina Arnold (Tina Butler) began her career as a child actor, and had starring roles in both Martin and Everybody Hates Chris. Most recently, she has appeared in Happily Divorced and Survivor's Remorse.

Sheaun McKinney (Malcom Butler) is known for his roles in Great News and Vice Principals.

Marcel Spears (Marty Butler) is a relative newcomer to TV, but he appeared last season in The Mayor.

Hank Greenspan (Grover Johnson) is another newcomer to acting, but appeared in two episodes of the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why.


Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (Airs October 1 at 8:00PM ET)

The Johnson family has moved from Michigan to Los Angeles and found the nicest house that they can afford, but there is something different about their new neighborhood: they're the only white people in the neighborhood. The next-door neighbors, the Butlers, invite the Johnsons over for a cookout, so what could go wrong?

"Welcome to the Repipe" (Airs October 8 at 8:00PM ET)

A leak at the Johnson family home brings neighbors together for a weekend of repair; meanwhile, during repairs, Gemma goes to take a shower at Tina's house, and discovers something she wasn't expecting to find: wigs.

"Welcome to the Spare Key" (Airs October 15 at 8:00PM ET)

Dave gives Calvin a spare key to his home just in case of emergency, and is disappointed when Calvin doesn't give one back to him. Eventually, Calvin does reciprocate... or so it seems.

"Welcome to the Housewarming Party" (Airs October 22 at 8:00PM ET)

The Johnsons are having a housewarming party and everybody in the Butler family is coming. Well, except for one person, and Dave has had just about enough rejection.


Analysis:

This was definitely one of the series of the new season that I was looking forward to, and I'm pleased to say that upon watching the pilot, I'm satisfied with what I saw. It has all of the pieces that a successful sitcom needs: a quality cast, decent writing, and a plot that is actually entertaining to watch. On top of all of that, it has some pretty funny moments. I often lament when watching pilots of other series that the pilot often tends to drag on and spends way too much time explaining the character and situation without much of an entertaining story. This pilot, however, was actually interesting to watch and a good episode. That always helps a series get off to a good start.

Clearly, this is a typical sitcom format in that it is a fish out of water sitcom, with the emphasis being on somebody of a different race moving into the neighborhood. It's been done before, with sitcoms like The Jeffersons, The Hughleys, and most recently black-ish probably being the two most prominent examples. However, this series takes the whole concept and reverses it, with a white family moving into a black neighborhood. It's a fresh idea, which is hard to come by in any sitcom these days, particularly in this current era of "reboot everything."

It's also interesting to see CBS take on a sitcom that deals with racial issues. Of course, there was a time when CBS was the one that was taking on tons of series that dealt with racial issues back in the Norman Lear era, but lately, CBS has not been known for having any sitcoms with a black cast. It'll be interesting to see how this series progresses and if it keeps the issues simple or decides to tackle more complex and controversial racial issues. It almost gets there in the fourth episode, but not fully. I have a feeling it'll keep things more light-hearted and humorous since it is a traditional sitcom, and that may be the best approach for this particular series.

One thing that I wonder about with this series going forward is if it is actually going to be about people in the neighborhood, or just these two families. It probably does make the storylines simpler and easier to follow by having an emphasis on just these two families, but in the episodes that I saw, the only other people in the neighborhood that were featured seemed to be like cardboard background characters. It would be nice to have at least some other neighbors as recurring characters at minimum. A lot of other series that dealt with neighborhood dynamics like this in TV history (like the Norman Lear sitcoms) often focused on one or sometimes two neighbors, but at least had a few other neighbors that appeared on a recurring basis that fans of the series sort of knew. It would also be interesting to see other characters, such as the often mention (but never seen) grandmother who has some pretty strong opinions in her text messages to Grover about where the family is living.


Conclusion:

This is a good show that has some potential. I doubt it will be the big "breakout hit" of the new season or anything like that, but I certainly don't think it is going to be one of those series that gets cancelled in a few weeks. The biggest challenge that this series might... and only might... have is finding an audience on a network that doesn't feature a lot of sitcoms similar to this one. However, to be fair, no other network has any sitcoms quite like this either, so it probably doesn't fit in any better or worse on CBS than it would elsewhere. I really do hope that this sitcom succeeds, and it'll be something that I'll be watching every week for as long as it stays.


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4/5
Funniness: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Monday, October 1, 2018 at 8:00PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • CBS.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • The Neighborhood Photo Gallery
  • Preview:

    The Cool Kids

    The Cool Kids - Fridays at 8:30PM ET/PT on Fox
    Premieres Friday, September 28, 2018 at 8:30PM ET/PT



    From executive producer Charlie Day (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) and starring Tony Award nominee David Alan Grier (The Carmichael Show, In Living Color), Emmy Award nominee Martin Mull (Veep, Roseanne), Emmy Award winner Vicki Lawrence (Mama’s Family, The Carol Burnett Show) and Emmy Award winner Leslie Jordan (Will and Grace, American Horror Story), The Cool Kids is a multi-camera comedy about a rowdy, rag-tag group of friends living in a retirement community who are willing to break every rule in order to have fun – because, at their age, what do they really have to lose?

    Hank (Grier) is the leader of this motley crew, a gruff, opinionated, 21st century Archie Bunker who will go to any lengths to have a good time. His loyal, but less than helpful, friends include Charlie (Mull), a bumbling wanderer who constantly goes off on tangents about some bizarre, barely believable episode from his life; and Sid (Jordan), a fun-loving hedonist with a flair for the melodramatic. Complicating matters is Margaret (Lawrence), a brash, confident woman who forces her way into their group and refuses to leave because she’s not going to take crap from anyone – especially not these three.

    But what unites them all is their shared belief that they’re not done yet – not by a long shot. Growing old with dignity is for chumps. These self-proclaimed “cool kids” are determined to make the third act of their lives the craziest one yet.

    Cast Details:


    David Alan Grier as Hank
    Martin Mull as Charlie
    Vicki Lawrence as Margaret
    Leslie Jordan as Sid

    David Alan Grier (Hank) is perhaps best known for his work on the sketch comedy television show In Living Color. He recently starred in the NBC sitcom The Carmichael Show. Some of his previous sitcom starring roles include Bad Teacher, Life with Bonnie, DAG, Damon, The Preston Episodes and All Is Forgiven.

    Martin Mull (Charlie) starred as Crawford Whittemore in the Fox sitcom Dads in 2003-04. Some of his previous starring and recurring roles include Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Fernwood 2 Night, America 2-Night, Domestic Life, Roseanne, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, The Ellen Show and Veep.

    Vicki Lawrence (Margaret) is best known for her role as Thelma Harper/Mama in Mama's Family. She won an Emmy Award for her work on The Carol Burnett Show in 1976. Some of her sitcom guest appearances include The Love Boat, Laverne & Shirley, Major Dad, Roseanne, Yes, Dear, Hannah Montana and Great News.

    Leslie Jordan (Sid) is best known for his roles as Lonnie Garr in Hearts Afire and as Beverly Leslie in Will & Grace. He won an Emmy Award for his work on Will & Grace in 2006. Some of his sitcom guest appearances include Night Court, Murphy Brown, Newhart, Dharma & Greg, Reba and Raising Hope.

    Discuss the show after you watch it on Friday, September 28, 2018 at 8:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

    Related Links:

  • Fox Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • The Cool Kids Photo Gallery

    Preview:



  • Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Friday, August 23

    American Housewife - "The Things You Do" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Greg’s insistence on doing the family’s taxes prompts Katie to take matters into her own hands. Meanwhile, Oliver and Anna-Kat join forces in an attempt to win a popular radio contest; and when Taylor finally sees Pierce’s true colors, the family bands together to help her pull off an over-the-top apology for Trip.

    Fresh Off the Boat - "Driver's Eddie" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Louis makes it his mission to teach Eddie how to be a good driver after a police officer makes an inappropriate Asian driver stereotype comment. Meanwhile, Evan is jealous when he discovers that Grandma has only been inviting Emery to hang out with her at her new garage apartment.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 19)

    Friday, August 23

    • Henry Winkler (Barry/Out of Practice/Monty/Happy Days) - Watch Henry on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Dana Carvey (One of the Boys) - Dana appears on a repeat of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
    • Idris Elba (Turn Up Charlie) - Idris is a guest on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Sanaa Lathan (Family Guy/The Cleveland Show/LateLine) - Sanaa appears on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
    • Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation) - Amy chats with the ladies of The View on a repeat on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Katy Mixon (American Housewife/Mike & Molly) - Katy is a guest on a repeat of The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Brie Larson (United States of Tara/Raising Dad) - Brie appears on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Chloe x Halle (grown-ish) - Chloe x Halle are guests on a repeat of The Real, so check your local listings.
    • Jillian Bell (Bless the Harts/Workaholics) - Jillian talks about Brittany Runs a Marathon on Couch Surfing at 8am.
    • John Travolta (Welcome Back, Kotter) - John talks about The Fanatic on Access Live, so check your local listings.
    • Jennifer Tilly (Out of Practice) - Jennifer will be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
    • Christine Lakin (Hollywood Darlings/Step by Step) - Christine is a guest on a repeat of Steve, so check your local listings.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (June/July/August)

    The Brady Bunch - 50th Anniversary The Brady-est TV & Movie Collection Will & Grace (The Revival) - Season Two The Good Place - The Complete Third Season Life in Pieces - The Complete Fourth Season Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Six

    06/04 - The Brady Bunch - 50th Anniversary The Brady-est Brady Bunch TV & Movie Collection
    06/18 - Will & Grace (The Revival) - Season Two (Blu-ray)
    07/08 - Man with a Plan - Season Two
    07/09 - Broad City - Season 5
    07/09 - Broad City - The Complete Series
    07/09 - Life in Pieces - The Complete Fourth Season
    07/09 - Speechless - The Complete Third Season
    07/16 - Eight Is Enough - The Complete First Season
    07/17 - The Practice (1976) - The Complete Series (WBShop.com)
    07/23 - Brockmire - The Complete First Season
    07/23 - What I Like About You - The Complete First Season
    07/30 - The Good Place - The Complete Third Season
    08/06 - Caroline in the City - The Third Season
    08/06 - Caroline in the City - The Fourth Season
    08/13 - I Love Lucy - Colorized Collection
    08/13 - Leave it to Beaver - Seasons One and Two
    08/20 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Six
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    08/22 - Dancing with the Stars Cast for Season 28; Lilly Singh Gets NBC Primetime Special
    08/21 - Decades Celebrates Bob Newhart's 90th Birthday with Big Marathon; Wanda Sykes & Mike Epps Get Netflix Sitcom
    08/20 - James Corden Gets Extended by CBS; Freeform's Halloween House Returns for 31 Nights of Halloween
    08/19 - Silicon Valley Returns for Final Season; Netflix Gears Up for Elvis Animated Comedy
    08/18 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of August 19, 2019)
    08/17 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Paley Center to Honor TV Legends; NBC Developing St. Elmo's Fire TV Series
    08/16 - Fri-Yay: Fall Sitcom Slate Check-In: CBS; E! Gets Reality Sitcom Meet the Frasers
    08/15 - Comedy Central Gets Phoebe Robinson Series; Crank Yankers Returns for 5th Season
    08/14 - Fox to Air Holiday Comedy Series; CBS and Viacom to Combine
    08/13 - The Flintstones Coming to MeTV in Fall 2019; Lifetime Tackles The College Admissions Scandal
    08/12 - Freeform Celebrates 30 Days of Disney in September; A-List Stars Visit Fox's Animation Domination This Fall
    08/11 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of August 12, 2019)
    08/10 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Emmy Awards to Go Without Host; New Caroline in the City DVDs Arrive
    08/09 - Fri-Yay: Pop TV: The Next Home for Great Sitcoms?; The Tonight Show Gets 5 Sunday Specials and Premiere Week Live Episodes
    08/08 - Archie Bunker's Place 40th Anniversary Marathon on Antenna TV; Mariah Carey to Sing mixed-ish Theme Song
    08/07 - FX Orders Atlanta Season 4; Netflix to Turn The Baby-Sitters Club Into Series
    08/06 - ABC to Air 2 More Live in Front of a Studio Audience Specials; The Goldbergs Head to Disneyland
    08/05 - CW Seed Gets Schitt's Creek Streaming Rights; Adam Scott to Host ABC Comedic Game Show
    08/04 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of August 5, 2019)
    08/03 - SitcomsOnline Digest: HBO Max Acquires BBC Library; Loretta Devine to Recur on black-ish
    08/02 - FX's Baskets to End After This Season; GSN's Catch 21 Returns with Dancing with the Stars Duo Reunion
    08/01 - Ovation Airs Classic Episodes of Actors Studio; FX Orders Limited Series Starring Kate Mara and Nick Robinson
    07/31 - Netflix Goes Big with New Sitcom; CW Seed Expands to 24/7 Linear Channel
    07/30 - A Very Brady Renovation Premieres Sept. 9 on HGTV; Trinkets Gets Conclusion Season in 2020 on Netflix
    07/29 - Hulu Nabs Designing Women, More from TCA Tour; Exclusive: Modern Family's Ariel Winter to Guest Star on Law & Order: SVU
    07/28 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 29, 2019)
    07/27 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Brady Kids Reunite; DVDs for The Simpsons and Lucille Ball's Final Sitcom on the Way
    07/26 - Fri-Yay: What Sitcoms Can We Expect on Disney+?; National Golden Girls Day on July 30, Event in Florida
    07/25 - TV Land Gets Lucky 7 with Younger; The Last O.G. Enlists Keenen Ivory Wayans
    07/24 - getTV Acquires Hot in Cleveland in August; Sean Hayes to Roast Alec Baldwin
    07/23 - Stars from Fan-Favorite Series Reunite on It's a Wonderful Lifetime; HGTV's A Very Brady Contest
    07/22 - FXX Comedy Archer Gets 11th Season; TBS Sets Date for Comedy Game Show with The Good Place Star