Friday, October 4, 2013

2013-2014 Network Sitcoms: The Mid-Level

There are 24 sitcoms currently airing on network television.  As I enjoy analyzing entertainment trends and making lists I have watched the first episode of each of this season's shows.  I have made a list of the eight worst sitcoms of the season, this is a list of the eight mid-level sitcoms.

16. Super Fun Night (Season 1, ABC)
I may be placing this too high.  This is one of many new sitcoms that I really wanted to like.  Like many people I am rooting for Rebel Wilson and loved her breakout in Pitch Perfect.  There is just nothing really going on.  No real jokes, no real set up for the series.  Wilson is a magnetic personality and if the show restructures to show her better it might have a chance.  But right now it is a disappointment, but has more potential than others.

15. Big Bang Theory (Season 7, CBS)
I have never been able to get into this series.  Out of all of the great comedies on television, I don't understand why this one is such a phenomenon.  I suppose if you liked the series so far you will like the season seven premiere.  It is not much different from any other episode I have seen.  Not terrible, but just not anything I enjoy.

14. Last Man Standing (Season 3, ABC)
I did not realize that this made it to a third season.  I watched the first episode a few years ago but it did not leave much of an impact.  This season's premiere surprised me at how enjoyable it was.  Sure it is essentially a c-level Home Improvement but it does entertain.  This is the type of show that you would watch a decade ago just because it was on.  It has a very nineties feel and is fine casual entertainment.

13. The Neighbors (Season 2, ABC)
I did not watch the first season but I enjoyed what I saw from this season's first episode.  It has a basic gimmick and knows how to get jokes out of it.  It is an interesting high concept and plays well as more family friendly entertainment.  I would honestly be interested in seeing more of it.

12. Mom (Season 1, CBS)
This series could use some more tact and plays things broader than it needs to, but there are laughs to be found.  Unlike most of the new series this year there are actually things going on and the character dynamics are well established.  Anna Faris has a ways to grow with her character but she makes a good lead for a show like this.  French Stewart's snobby chef cracked me up, Spencer Daniels had some good comedic timing and Matt L. Jones definitely knows how to deliver a line to a studio audience.  Of course the stand out is the great Allison Janney who elevates the comedy and the energy.  This is a multi-cam sitcom that is going in the right direction, hope it improves because it could be a fun series.

11. The Michael J. Fox Show (Season 1, NBC)
Hype was high for this and whenever that happens there is some let down.  I have seen all three episodes and it is not all there.  The show needed some more work in the development stage and the writing is not that great.  The ensemble is not interesting and there are no real jokes.  Still this is a star vehicle for Fox and he does great here.  Not the best material for him to work with, but he is a likable personality that is great to see working again.  Hope they figure out how to make it great.  If nothing else this is a great example how to build a show around a character with a disability.  Parkinsons is part of the character's life but not the only thing that defines him.  Which is an area where the entertainment really needs to progress.

10. Welcome to the Family (Season 1, NBC)
Not sure why critics are seeming to be so hostile towards this show.  It entertaining and the characters are all solid.  The main appeal is the chemistry between Ricardo Antonio Chavira and Mike O'Malley.  Their rivalry and conflicts are natural and relatable rather than mean.  I respect this series for acknowledging cultural differences without having to focus on stereotypes for cheap jokes.  This is a pleasant show that has some potential.  I enjoyed the premiere.

9. How I Met Your Mother (Season 9, CBS)
Like many people I really got into this show when it started rerunning frequently and I was won over by the clever writing and strong ensemble.  However in the last few seasons I have felt that the series betrayed my trust.  The show is built on the promise of the finale and to stretch it out to nine seasons they wasted a lot of times with stories and characters that didn't go anywhere.

But this season has a sense of urgency that has been missing.  The characters are gaining some of their likability and intelligence back.  Having Wayne Brady and Sherri Shepard as recurring characters adds to the comedy.  I could place this higher but I do expect this show to reach some lulls this season.  But the first few episodes are the best the show has been for some time.

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