Reviewing television’s sitcoms

downloadOctober 14, 2013 – Last Monday, I reviewed some of the new and returning drama shows that have hooked me. Here’s a rundown of the new and returning sitcoms that seemed appealing at first glance.

Mom – (Starring Anna Farris and Allison Janney) – The premise of this new comedy may seem a bit trashy – a single mom of two, recently sober tries to deal with the reappearance of her own mom back in her life, also an addict – but I laughed a lot through the first two episodes. It’s almost like “Roseanne” meets “Cheers”. The writing is good and the acting is better. I think this one might make it through the season.

The Goldberg’s – (Starring Jeff Garlin and George Segal) – My hopes were high for this comedy, based on the creator’s childhood experiences, but it bored me. I’m not sure if it’s trying to be a modern version of “The Wonder Years”, or if it’s just trying to hard in general. It doesn’t come close to “The Wonder Years”, but it’s not exactly bad, either. Still, I removed it from my DVR list because I know I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch it.

Trophy Wife – (Starring Malin Akerman, Bradley Whitford and Marcia Gay Harden) – Coming into the new season, this was the comedy I wanted to hate. No one is more surprised than I am that I like a show about a younger “trophy” wife married to an older man with two ex-wives and three kids, but it is somewhat charming. It is kind of silly, but Whitford and Harden are always fun to watch, and definitely lend sophistication to the premise and the show. I think this one may be around for a while.

Dads – (Starring Seth Green, Giovanni Ribisi, and Martin Mull) – I’m not sure why I even attempted to like this boring comedy about two young men who run a video game company, and their two fathers who move back in with them to complicate their lives. One and done was all it took for me. I think it might be gone by Halloween.

The Middle – (Starring Patricia Heaton and Neil Flynn) – Wednesday nights are great for the situation comedy, and the returning show, “The Middle” didn’t disappoint. The trials and tribulations of Frankie, Mike and their three kids, Axl, Sue, and Brick, and their frustrating and hilarious middle class existence in small town Indiana, make me laugh every week. These actors know how to do comedy.

Modern Family – (Starring Julie Bowman, Ty Burrell, and Ed O’Neill) – Another reason Wednesday nights shine is the return of Modern Family. Clearly one of the funniest, if not the funniest show on television, as evidenced by its multiple Emmy Awards for Best Comedy, the brilliant cast and writers keep coming up with gems week after week.

Back in the Game – (Starring James Caan and Maggie Lawson) – After two episodes of this sitcom focusing on a single mom who moves back in with her father, an ex-baseball playing, beer-guzzling widower, I’m not completely sold. With my limited television time, that means it’s erased from the DVR for good.

Super Fun Night – (Starring Rebel Wilson and Kevin Bishop) – When I first saw this show advertised, about a square peg young woman and her geeky friends going out on the town to create “super fun nights”, I cringed. I thought it looked awful, and wasn’t even going to give it a chance. However, I watched the first episode, and found it wasn’t that horrible. The problem I see is keeping the premise fresh week after week. The show, I believe, has to change direction for it to succeed in the end. I don’t think this one will be around long enough to have the chance to do so.

The Millers – (Starring Will Arnett, Margo Martindale and Beau Bridges) – All three actors in this new sitcom have impressed me in other roles, so I was excited to try it. The premise is quirky. When Nathan Miller (Arnett) tells his parents he’s divorced, his father (Bridges) decides to follow his example and leave his wife after 43 years. His mother decides to move in with him, while his father moves in with his sister and her husband. Only time will tell if this is a hit, but the pilot was mildly funny. This one I’ll keep recording, at least for a little while.

The Crazy Ones — (Starring Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar) – Not since the likes of “Mork and Mindy” did we get to see Robin Williams on the small screen. He plays the co-owner of an advertising agency, which works nicely with his quick wit. The other co-owner is his daughter (played by Gellar). Again, this show could go either way, but the pilot was funny. Strange though, I have the next two episodes DVR’d, yet each time I go to the playlist I opt for something else. That’s not a good sign.

The Michael J Fox Show – (Starring Michael J Fox and Betsy Brandt) – Critics claimed that this show would be the hit of the season, and after the first two episodes, I am not sure if I can agree. I didn’t dislike it per se, but the words of the critics are pretty tall orders to fill. Fox is enjoyable on screen as the newscaster who goes back to work after a Parkinson’s diagnosis, just as he has been in other roles. However, I need a little more screen time before I make my final decision. The problem is, that like “The Crazy Ones” above, I keep bypassing it on the DRV.

Parks & Recreation – (Starring Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman) – I just discovered this comic gem about the small town politics of Pawnee, Indiana, and have been watching reruns On Demand. I’m only halfway through season two, but began watching the new episodes of season five, and I’m somewhat sorry I did. The humor is still top-notch and the cast incredibly goofy, but apparently a lot happens in seasons three and four, and it spoiled it for me.

Sean Saves the World – (Starring Sean Hayes and Linda Lavin) – This comedy would be dull if it weren’t for the likes of Hayes and Lavin, two sitcom professionals who have shined in other TV comedies. There’s something so likeable about Hayes especially, which gives me the impression that this show about a single, gay dad raising a teenage daughter may last. Yet, it still hasn’t sucked me in all the way. I keep recording, but I am behind on a few episodes. We’ll see if I take the time to watch in the next few days. It’s iffy.

It’s nice to see that the sitcom plays a more prominent role on TV this year, but many of them – some on this list and some I didn’t review – won’t last the season.

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