It’s that time of year again, time for network television to debut its latest offerings in the sitcom category. Let’s review what’s coming up, and see if it sounds like it’s worth watching.
ABC’s most anticipated sitcom offering comes in the form of a revival of The Muppets, framed as a workplace mockumentary sitcom. It revolves around the action behind the scenes of Miss Piggy’s fictional late-night talk show, making it sound like a Muppet-ized The Larry Sanders Show. I’m not at all against that. The showrunner, Bob Kushell, has an impressive resume, and co-creator Bill Prady also co-created The Big Bang Theory, which is… good? I’m giving this one a thumbs up; I may even review the first episode.
The Real O’Neals
This one apparently caused a controversy with conservative groups due to Dan Savage’s involvement. Directed by Todd Holland (Larry Sanders, Malcolm in the Middle). Not much else of note.
A remake of Uncle Buck, but the twist is that everyone is black now. The cast (Mike Epps, Nia Long) is encouraging, but probably not enough to overcome a lazy remake-driven premise.
Apparently this one has been getting some ugly reviews, which is really unfortunate because I had high hopes for a series starring Ken Jeong. I watched some promos available on YouTube, and… well, unfortunately this one may not work out. There’s always next time, Dr. Jeong!
Life in Pieces
This one is quite the anomaly. Scheduled to follow up The Big Bang Theory, this show offers a single-camera, toned-down experience that, if the sneak peeks available on YouTube are any indication, is actually pretty decent. The cast is impressive: Colin Hanks, Betsy Brandt (Breaking Bad, that Michael J. Fox show), and various other solid supporting members. I think I’ll have to give this one a chance.
Angel from Hell
Weird, and high-concept. Jane Lynch is an angel guiding a dermatologist. I’m not saying this one is getting cancelled after the first 13, but…
This one shows a lot of promise. It’s a courtroom comedy starring the always-charming Rob Lowe, with Fred Savage (The Wonder Years) and Mary Elizabeth Ellis (Always Sunny) also starring. FOX is notoriously pretty bad at keeping sitcoms alive, but this one could work, especially if paired with Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Another somewhat promising one, Grandfathered, offers John Stamos (Full[er] House, ER) as a bachelor forced to deal with his son (Josh Peck, Drake & Josh) and a grandbaby as well. The premise seems a little lazy (and maybe a little like a re-worked Raising Hope) but the talent involved inspires at least a tiny bit of confidence. Will I watch it? Probably not, but I could see it carving a niche on FOX, where sitcom ratings standards are pretty low to begin with.
Truth Be Told
Yikes. NBC really is done with sitcoms, at least for the fall season. Only one new offering starting off in the fall, while Miranda Cosgrove’s Crowded will act as a midseason replacement. Truth Be Told seems pretty bland; an unknown cast, a relatively unknown creator, and a premise (two couples interacting, basically) that inspires little confidence. I guess NBC felt the need to at least throw one new sitcom onto the fall schedule.
Honorable Mention: Crowded
Crowded, of course, is planned as a midseason replacement. It stars Miranda Cosgrove, and will apparently be a multi-camera offering. I can’t say that I’ll be watching, but Cosgrove has a fanbase from iCarly that could make an impact, if they tune in.
In my not-so-professional opinion, it seems like The Muppets, Life in Pieces, and The Grinder are the new sitcoms most worth tuning in for. I’ll probably try to review the pilot episodes for each of them. Only time will tell which will survive, or more importantly which will be worth watching.