Wednesday, July 31, 2013

2013-2014 Sitcoms: Fox

Fox's comedy lineup is expanding on Tuesday nights and has a very poor lead-in with this Seth MacFarlane produced series.  MacFarlane's attention is clearly moving away from television and two of his animated series have cancelations announced.  It is a likable cast but it does not seem funny at all.  It feels very much like a cable sitcom and can see this being canceled early on.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine
This series should however be a much larger success.  Not sure how NBC missed out on this, but it has the best credentials of any new sitcom this season.  It is developed by Michael Schur (The Office, Parks and Recreation) and has a cast including Andy Samberg, Andre Braugher, Joe Lo Truglio, Chelsea Peretti and Terry Crews.  As much as I am not a fan of Samberg's man child persona he is recognizable and Bruagher should be able to balance him out.  This follows a trend of popular cop comedies such as 21 Jump Street and The Heat.  This series should help out Fox's comedy lineup considerably.

New Girl
This is Fox's biggest comedy critical and commercial hit.  Despite being shut out by the Emmys last season was very well received and now that the first season is on Netflix its audience should be expanding.  At the end of the season Nick and Jess ended their ongoing sexual tension, which can be risky for a sitcom.  But I am excited to see more of it, has a decent following.

The Mindy Project
Mindy Kaling's series had a good first season, Kaling and Chris Messina are great leads and the writing can be very good.  However the first season felt uneven as it transitioned through several cast members.  If the series has found its identity it should have an excellent second season.  Can see it improving ala season 2 of The Office and Parks and Recreation.  It has a great foundation to build from.

Fridays (Starting in November)
Raising Hope
This is the longest sitcom Fox has had since 'Til Death.  Does not do well in ratings, but it is well liked and is dependable in quality.  Should do well on Fridays, but can see it replacing Dads on Tuesday nights.

Chris Lowell and Keith David are the recognizable stars in this military based sitcom.  Looks to be a tough sell, but also looks pretty funny.  Could do well by Friday standards but could also fail early.

Surviving Jack
Anyone who has seen Wet Hot American Summer knows that Chris Meloni can do comedy and he is an ideal lead for a sitcom.  However this series seems to lack a decent hook.  Don't see this one succeeding when it airs.

Us & Them
An adaptation of a British series.  Alexis Bledel and Jason Ritter look like a likable couple (although it is a little awkward when you consider that Ritter dated Lauren Graham on Parenthood).  Features Jane Kaczmarcek and Kerri Kenney-Silver as the characters mothers and other recognizable actors like Michael Ian Black.  Curious about this but don't see it being a long runner.

2013-2014 Sitcoms: ABC

The Goldbergs
Their two new Tuesday night sitcoms have the perfect lead-in of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  The first new series seems reminiscent of Freaks and Geeks and especially The Wonder Years.  It is being marketed around 80's nostalgia, and 80's throwbacks have had differing levels of success in the past few years.  I can see this being a more difficult sell as it seems to be much more of a dramedy and not as broad as the rest of ABC's lineup.  It could potentially grow a cult following and might just surprised.

Trophy Wife
This series is produced by two of the best writers of The Office and stars a well balanced ensemble of Malin Akerman, Bradley Whitford, Michaeala Watkins, Ryan Lee, Natalie Morales and Marcia Gay Harden, who all appear to be great fits for their roles.  I could see this being a better fit on Wednesday nights as it seems similar in tone with Modern Family.  This is one of the series I am most excited for this season.

The Middle
Wednesday nights continues to use The Middle as its lead-in, the Patricia Heaton lead series is now in its fifth season.  Not a runaway hit, but it is dependable and well liked.  Now that it is in syndication on ABC Family and soon to be Hallmark its profile should raise considerably (ala How I Met Your Mother and Big Bang Theory).

Back in the Game
This series features Maggie Lawson as a single mother that is good at baseball but has a bad relationship with her father (James Caan).  This series looks decent enough, albeit unimpressive.  Don't see a whole series here, but it looks fun.  It could be ABC's first cancellation of the series (see it being replaced with Trophy Wife), but it could surprise.

Modern Family
ABC's most successful series keeps its same time slot for its fifth season.  Although last season was not as well received as the three previous ones it continues to be a hit with audiences and The Emmys.  This will continue to be the cornerstone for ABC comedies.

Super Fun Night
ABC is wisely marketing this around Rebel Wilson's involvement in Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect.  Which are two female led movies that surprised at the box-office and managed to get a large enough male following.  Wilson is a star that ABC was lucky to get and she should bring in a good sized audience on her likability alone.  The series looks funny too.

Last Man Standing
ABC is smart by having their more family friendly sitcoms on Friday nights, harkening back to TGIF.  The Tim Allen lead series should continue to do decently by Friday standards.

The Neighbors
Moving The Neighbors Fridays is a good move.  The series is family friendly and if it gets enough episodes it could rerun on one of Disney's other networks.  Should do fine for a Friday night series.

Suburgatory returns mid-season for its third season.  See this replacing The Goldbergs or one of the Friday night series.  Pretty much just a filler, doesn't have a huge following.  Don't see it continuing past this season.

Also premiering mid-season is what feels like How I Met Your Mother meets 24.  The series takes place in one night, which will make it less accessible for television.  There are no named stars involved but it is marketed on the creators of The Hangover (who also wrote the flops The Change-Up and 21 & Over).  This seems to be going after a similar demographic as Happy Endings and Don't Trust the B, which did not succeed.  It could find an audience online, but don't know where this would fit on its schedule.