With the new fall season just around the corner (where did the summer go?), there are a slew of new comedies on the horizon that network marketing execs want you to believe are the most revolutionary things since the invention of color television.
Due to the recent writers' strike, a good chunk of these programs got pushed through to series without networks even seeing a pilot episode. So how can viewers weed through them to find the deep belly laughs amid piles of mere canned chuckles? That's where we come in. Here we break it down night by night and highlight what is worth a try and what is worth a TiVo Season Pass:
Though Monday nights will boast the premiere of CBS' "Worst Week
" (airing at 9:30), it looks to be no match for timeslot rival (and Emmy nominee) Christina Applegate's Samantha Who?
Though "Worst Week" has the fact that it's a remake of a BBC original going for it (just look at the success of America's version of The Office
, for example), its premise feels short lived at best.
Premiering Sept. 22, "Worst Week" is a sitcom with yet another hapless husband or soon-to-be husband. At the helm (ironically it's another Sam, but this one is played by Kyle Bornheimer
), "Worst Week" focuses on the uncomfortable nature of telling your girlfriend's parents (Kurtwood Smith
and Nancy Lenehan) that she is pregnant and you are getting married. But today that really only warrants one slightly awkward conversation, so what kind of wacky hijinks will be forced upon the two couples for the rest of the episodes as they are forced to get very well acquainted with each other? If we're using the pilot to determine that, than its safe to say there will be an abundance of pale, flabby, upper male nudity, and that can only be funny for an episode or two at best.
The verdict? Give "Worst Week" a shot, but if it lives up to its name after episode three, it won't get any better, so tune into the already established "Samantha Who?" on ABC instead.
Wednesday nights will offer two new sitcoms - one from CBS starring Jay Mohr
("Gary Unmarried," 8:30 p.m., starting Sept. 24) about your typical work-in-progress newly single dad, and one from Fox about the intermingling personal lives of employees at a chic hotel ("Do Not Disturb," 9:30 p.m., starting Sept. 10).
Though the pilot of "Do Not Disturb" is full of broad, somewhat stereotypical humor, this upstairs/downstairs comedy (both literal with the various floors in the hotel as well as metaphoric for the split between employees and guests) boasts perhaps the greatest potential for the fall season. It stars Niecy Nash
, Jerry O'Connell
, Jesse Tyler Ferguson
, and Molly Stanton. It is produced by one of the Arrested Development
writers, and it is directed by Jason Bateman
. Each of these people are so funny on their own, they have legions of fans following them to whatever project they take on next, so throwing them onto one set together, assuming there is some room for improvisation, should be side-splitting. This is definitely the one to watch!
NBC is once again reclaiming its Must See Thursday nights with the addition of the quirky rendition of an Australian hit, "Kath & Kim," at 8:30 p.m starting Oct. 9. Smack dab in the middle of already proven successes My Name Is Earl
and The Office
, Kath & Kim already has the right (dysfunctional) sense of humor to speak to that audience. And boasting actors that are equally as oddball like Molly Shannon
, Selma Blair
, and John Michael Higgins
, "Kath & Kim," even in its most outlandish moments, still comes off believable. They are the new Bluth family, and that alone is a huge positive in their favor.
We Eagerly Await "Suburban Shootout"
Also on the horizon, though not yet with an airdate, is yet another adaptation: HBO's "Suburban Shootout" starring Judy Greer
, Rachael Harris, Kerri Kenney, and Kelly Preston
. A satirical comedy, "Suburban Shootout" is one part Desperate Housewives
, one part Weeds
, and one part Sopranos
, centering on a couple who moves to a quaint little town from the big city only to find they are surrounded by rival gangs of housewives. Such comedic genius, paired with the smart style of HBO, makes "Suburban Shootout" the most eagerly awaited new program for the 2008-09 season and well worth the price of premium cable service.
Tune in this week for a preview of upcoming fall dramas.
Story by Danielle Turchiano
Starpulse contributing writer