Fox launches its pilots this week, getting the jump on the other networks. If you can’t even wait that long, some of the new shows are available on Hulu. This weekend I gave in to my impatience and watched a few of the new comedies on Hulu including season openers of The Mindy Project, Welcome to the Family, Trophy Wife, and Back in the Game. Mindy was hilarious as usual. If you didn’t watch that show last season, make it a priority this year. I’ll talk more about Trophy Wife in a second, but check out Welcome to the Family. I was pleasantly surprised. It was funny and interesting, and I’ll definitely watch it again. I was a little disappointed in Back in the Game. It has Maggie Lawson, who I have always enjoyed in Psych, and James Caan. Both of them deserve a better vehicle. It wasn’t particularly funny, and some of the child actors were pretty terrible.
But I digress. Looking at this year’s comedy pilots only confirms to me that we are still in the golden age of television. As I read over cast lists, I couldn’t believe some of the people the networks had managed to land for sitcoms this fall. I usually am most excited about the new dramas, but I have a much longer list of comedies I’m anticipating. Here are the top five:
5. Mom: Chuck Lorre has done a number of comedies for CBS—some I have liked better than others. I’m still a dedicated Big Bang Theory fan. Mom is Lorre’s latest, starring Anna Ferris and Allison Janney, both of whom I pretty consistently find amusing. The cast also includes French Stewart (3rd Rock from the Sun) and Nate Cordrry (former Daily Show correspondent). Ferris plays a single mom and recovering alcoholic. CBS is advertising it as a dark comedy, and I’m a sucker for a well done dark comedy. Premieres Mon. Sept. 23 @ 9:30 EDT on CBS.
4. The Crazy Ones: I was super excited two years ago when Sarah Michelle Geller returned to TV. What Buffy fan wasn’t? Ringer had an interesting premise and an excellent cast. Something about it just never worked, though, and the CW canceled it after one season. I was pleased to see she had found a new show so quickly. The Crazy Ones is a workplace comedy about an advertising agency with a mostly unknown cast. The exception is Robin Williams, who plays SMG’s dad. I don’t think Williams has been on TV since his Mork and Mindy days. Let’s hope this one is really good, because I bet it’s costing CBS a fortune. If it’s just okay at first, it will probably get cut for budget reasons before it can find its footing. Premieres Thur. Sept. 26 @ 9:00 EDT on CBS.
3. Trophy Wife: I was already looking forward to this pilot, but now that I’ve seen it, I know for sure that I like it. It was amusing and well done. Even the child actors were good, who are often overly cute or just plain dreadful. I have no idea how ABC landed Academy Award winning actress Marcia Gay Harden, but she’s phenomenal as always. I’ve grown to like Malin Ackermen from her guest role on Suburgatory, but honestly I’d watch anything with Bradley Whitford in it. I’ve loved him since West Wing, watched all of Studio 60, and laughed so hard I cried at his terrible shirts and even worse mustache in The Good Guys. I didn’t know he could do comedy until Good Guys, and he’s incredible. I’m glad to see he’s returning to that genre. Premieres Tues. Sept. 24 @ 9:30 EDT on ABC. Available now on Hulu.
2. Super Fun Night: Two words—Rebel Wilson. My husband and I lived in Australia for a while, where we got to see Wilson in a number of things right before she became popular in America for Bridesmaids. For those out there who might have thought she was just funny the one time, Wilson quickly proved them wrong in What to Expect When You’re Expecting and Pitch Perfect. I am thrilled at the prospect of getting to see her on a weekly basis in Super Fun Night. I’m even willing to forgive that it is stealing Suburgatory’s time slot for a little bit. As someone that is way too nerdy and socially awkward to ever attempt to go clubbing, I empathize hugely with the main storyline, too. For an added bonus, Conan O’Brien is producing. I don’t know what he’s bringing to the party, but I’m sure I’ll love it. Premieres Wed. Oct. 2 @ 9:30 EDT on ABC.
1. The Michael J. Fox Show: I do love MJF, and I’m glad to see him back on a regular show, but this is in no way a sentimental vote. If you don’t watch any of the other trailers I linked to on this post, please at least click this one. I’m dying to see this show because it looks freakin’ hysterical. I watched the trailer three times, and pestered multiple people to watch this as well. For a few days, whoever came over to our house had to sit down on the couch and let me bring up You Tube. The jokes stayed with me in that wonderful way so that even a few months later, I can quote them to you. The only other shows I can do that with are Modern Family and How I Met Your Mother. I feel like this show has the potential to be just as fun as those two classics. Premieres Thur. Sept. 26 @ 9:30 EDT on NBC.
Other comedies I intend to try and report back on:
CBS: We Are Men (another packed cast with Tony Shalhoub, Jerry O’Connell, and Kal Penn) and The Millers (starring Will Arnett and done by Greg Garcia of My Name is Earl fame)
Fox: Dads (on the pro side this stars Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi, but on the con side it is done by Seth McFarlane, who I usually find obnoxious) and Brooklyn Nine-Nine (cop show with Andy Samberg).
ABC: Back in the Game (pilot was so-so, but I’ll give it a couple more before I decide)
NBC: Welcome to the Family (mentioned already this was good), Sean Saves the World (Sean Hayes heads a good cast, but the concept doesn’t look super interesting)