Fall TV Preview: 5 Comedies I Can’t Wait to See

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)

Fall TV Preview: 5 Dramas I Can’t Wait to See

Okay, I waited as long as possible. People, can we talk about the new pilots? Great. What? You said, “No?”  Too bad. I warned you multiple times that this was the blog of a TV addict.   I’ll have you know I have shown great restraint. I’ve had my fall TV spreadsheet made for a good month at least, and I am only just now submitting you to a series of posts about the new pilots. Yes, you read that correctly. Series. Disney villain laugh. Disney villain laugh.

For the sake of timeliness, I’m going to ignore any new show that I already know is not coming on until midseason. There seem to be a great number of these. Much to my consternation, some of the most promising pilots aren’t debuting until after January. Still, there is plenty to talk about now.

5. Dracula: NBC has a surprising amount of shows that look promising this season. They’ll need them. Parks and Rec is always wonderful, and they got a pretty solid hit out of Revolution last year, but once again the Peacock is nearly starting from scratch. Dracula isn’t arriving at the best time. Most of the public is suffering from vampire fatigue. However, I’m not one of them, and this show has two other strong pluses. Jonathan Rhys Myers is playing the title role, and he’s got a Downton Abbey producer at the helm. I imagine the NBC pilot most people are exited about is The Blacklist. I intend to watch it, too, but I’m never going to be as excited about James Spader smirking as Jonathan Rhys Myers in period costume. Premieres Fri. Oct. 25 @ 10:00 p.m. EDT on NBC

4. Sleepy Hollow: The trailers for this look semi-amusing, but they aren’t really what have me excited about this time-travel/crime drama mash-up from Fox. What sent me into a fangirl frenzy were the names Kurtzman and Orci. For those unfamiliar with Alex and Roberto (I like to think of us being on a first name basis), they are the amazing writing team that brought us the last two Star Trek movies and Fringe. Sniff, sniff. Sorry, I need a minute. I almost asked for a moment of silence in our household when I had to delete Fringe from last year’s spreadsheet. If the power duo are back writing and producing Sleep Hollow, I’m going to expect great things; I don’t care how convoluted the premise sounds. Also, they have Len Wiseman of the Underworld movies directing. When I read that, I almost got giddy. I don’t really know any of the actors in this apart from Orlando Jones, but I have always found him funny. Premieres Mon. Sept. 16 @ 9:00 p.m. EDT on FOX

3. Almost Human: This Fox pilot edges out Sleepy Hollow for me because the trailer is just so much more compelling. The premise of a cop in the future with an android partner is interesting. It’s also one of the pilots that has critics practically foaming at the mouth. I’m admittedly jealous every time I read an article about how amazing the pilot is when I know I have to wait until November. I do like Karl Urban, who plays the main character, but once again, it’s the people behind the show that have me excited. J.J. Abrams is producing, which after Alias, Fringe, and Lost used be enough to get me to watch anything with the man’s name attached. But then I saw Undercovers, Alcatraz, and Person of Interest. I’ve become a bit more discriminating in my Abrams’s TV series since. Now I check who else he’s doing the series with, knowing that Abrams is likely lending some money, but not much time. He does have a Star Wars franchise to produce, after all. The good news here is that the name partnered with Abrams for Almost Human is J.H. Wyman of Fringe fame, so I know I’m in good hands. Premieres Mon. Nov. 4 @ 8:00 p.m. EDT on FOX

2. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. : I’m not sure I even need to talk about this, because I’m not sure there’s a person on the planet who doesn’t already have their DVR programmed. Agent Colson is alive and solving cases with a team of young whipper snappers. I’m sure the guest stars will be epic. All of that would be enough, but I’ve got two more words for you: Joss Whedon. Premieres Tues. Sept. 24 @ 8:00 p.m. EDT on ABC

1. The Originals: Did I just lose all of my credibility with my number one pick? Sorry, I’ve got to be honest. The Vampire Dairies has been the show I have to watch the day it comes on for the last two years. One of the reasons TVD is so good is the amazing villain they’ve had in Klaus. Creator Julie Plec and actor Joseph Morgan have done a wonderful job creating a rich character whom I despised at first and now adore. The CW wanted to give The Originals their own spin off a year ago, but Plec asked for time to transform Klaus from villain to at least the beginnings of a hero. I am eager to see where they will go with the character now that Klaus is the lead of his own show. My only fear is that by giving the Originals their own series, the end result could be two great shows, or it could mean they gutted my favorite hour of television and replaced it with two mediocre shows instead. The Originals also gets bonus points because I’ve got my fingers crossed that Price Peterson will write the recaps of the show for TV.com. There’s no way he won’t watch it, so he might as well make some money while he does. Premieres Thurs. Oct. 3 @ 9:00 p.m. EDT on the CW before moving to Tues. @ 8:00 p.m.

I’ll report back on these to let other TV junkies know if the pilots lived up to my expectations. Other drama pilots I intend to give a try:

  • The Blacklist: Premieres Mon. Sept. 23 @ 10 p.m. EDT on NBC
  • The Tomorrow People: Premieres Wed. Oct. 9 @ 9 p.m. EDT on the CW
  • Reign: Premieres Thurs. Oct. 17 @ 9 p.m. EDT on the CW

What new shows are you looking forward to?