Saturday, October 5, 2013

2013-2014 Network Sitcoms: The Best

And here are the eight best sitcoms this season.  Here are my lists of the eight worst and eight mid-range comedies.

8. Sean Saves the World (Season 1, NBC)
I am honestly surprised that I enjoyed this so much.  Critics have been hating on this series, but it is the perfect example of what a multi-camera sitcom can do.  There is a specific energy to this and the decent dialogue works well with the limited settings.  Sean Hayes' personality really sells this show and he is entertaining to watch.  Thomas Lennon also has a great character role that he makes the most out of.  It is not ground breaking, but it is fun to watch.  It is a type of show that has not been done well in far too long.  It is physical and broad but still honest and well set up.  I hope that it maintains quality and finds an audience.  Pleasantly surprised, would suggest that people keep an open mind.

7. The Mindy Project (Season 2, Fox)
One of two sitcoms that premiered last year to make it to a second season.  It had a strong first season but it was unfocused as the supporting cast kept changing.  The cast still has not settled but it has a comfortable focus on the hilarious Ike Barinholz and stand-out Chris Messina.  Of course this not an ensemble, it is a star vehicle for Mindy Kaling who is always a great romantic comedy lead.  She is relatable and able to look foolish while being smart and attractive.  The show seems to be finding its focus.  Kaling is a great writer and showrunner as well, it seems that she has found a way to make her show work.  It should only improv from here.  Also good guest work from James Franco and Bill Hader.

6. The Middle (Season 5, ABC)
It is easy to take this show for granted.  It is not the flashiest on television and does not garner much attention, but the quality has been incredibly consistent.  The family ensemble is one of the best on television.  All five leads have impeccable chemistry and can carry their own stories.  This season the show is working with the characters' growth.  It is always funny and very sweet.

5. New Girl (Season 3, Fox)
Last year season 2 of New Girl was must see TV.  Nick and Jess had the best unresolved sexual tension on television in years.  Now the characters are reacting to their new relationship.  The show's quality is continuing and I will definitely continue to keep up with it this season.

4. Trophy Wife (Season 1, ABC)
Despite the gimmick title this series plays its situation very sincere.  To the characters the young stepmom and two ex-wives is just part of the characters' lives.  The adults are perfectly cast with performers that can combine both comedy and drama effortlessly.  The show is also stronger because the three children can all act (something missing in many of this season's new shows).  The writing is very good and it is just entertaining.  A great new series.

3. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Season 1, Fox)
Michael Schur knows how to create a sitcom better than almost anyone working in TV today and he does it again with this new series.  Great ensemble across the board.  Special mention to Terry Crews, who gets to focus his massive energy differently as he is playing such a timid character.  Andre Braugher is definitely up for an Emmy with his character who really makes this series work.  Braugher plays it very seriously, but there is some subtle humor in his very intentional delivery along with believable drama and personal issues.  A very different performance among the traditional broad sitcom star.  However for me the stand-out is the scene stealing Chelsea Peretti who is always hilarious.

2. Modern Family (Season 5, ABC)
There is some backlash for this series since it consistently does so well at the Emmys.  But that is because the show is just always funny.  The characters all work and they have very real varied dynamics.  This season premiere is one of the best episodes of the show with great jokes such as Christopher Walk-in-Closet and Cam coaching a football team while dressed like George Washington.  Just a good show that you can always count on.

1. Parks and Recreation (Season 6, NBC)
At this point the series is pretty self-sufficient.  There are enough settings, running gags and side characters in place for the writers to draw from.  The main class is well developed that their character arcs seem very natural and they can interact believably with any character.  The show may suffer with Chris Pratt's partial absence and the upcoming departure of Rashida Jones and Robe Lowe.  But it is truly the best ensemble on television and looks like it is off to another great season.

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