For me, every Fall comedy TV season is like Christmas, just waiting to unwrap the great shows and watch them. Of course, more often it is like the networks are in some massive food fight and they just hurl gooey chunks at the viewers to see what sticks. I am here to give you a closer look at some of the new chunks before they hit you right between the eyes. There are several shows this season that I think may have a chance; Trophy Wife, Back in the Game, The Goldbergs, Welcome to the Family, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and The Michael J. Fox Show. These are some fresh looking comedies on NBC, ABC, and FOX this year and I want to tell you more about them. Continue on to the Magical Fall TV Review.
Summary: Three’s company… no a crowd, or so party girl Kate (Malin Akerman) finds out when she falls into love with, and into the lap of, a slightly older man, Pete (Bradley Whitford). They get married and, with two former wives and three children already under his belt, Kate gets an insta-family. Despite what life, and the kids, throw at her, Kate is determined to make this work with her new family in “Trophy Wife,” premiering TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 (9:30-10:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.
What I liked: Malin Ackerman plays the ditzy blonde to a tee. She is funny, her timing is spot on, and she seems to sincerely care about her character. I really like the kids, too. They are quick witted and funny, not just background noise as in some other shows. The kids all really add to the story. Then there is the addition of both ex-wives. These characters are complete polar opposites. You have the flighty mother of the adopted chinese son who loves organic stuff, food co-ops, and crystal healing. The other is an uptight doctor control freak.
What I didn’t like: I really can’t think of anything except the fact that when I start a show from the beginning and really like it, it always gets cancelled.
Back in the Game
Summary: An All-Star softball player in high school and college, Terry Gannon Jr. has been hit with her share of curve balls in life — a son, problems with her college scholarship and a husband that cheated and still got everything in the divorce. Terry and her son, Danny, are forced to move back in with her estranged father, Terry Sr., aka “The Cannon.” Despite Terry’s attempts to keep her son away from any sort of sports, baseball/softball especially, Danny is wants to play to impress a girl. The problem arises when Danny and a team athletically-challenged benchwarmers are told there is no room on the local youth baseball team due to lack of coaches. Terry reluctantly offers to coach the team of misfits, on the premiere of “Back in the Game,” WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.
What I liked: James Caan plays the Cannon and he is a hoot. A crotchety old man who has no tact and even less patience is a great role for Caan and reminiscent of the classic Bad News Bears role of Walter Mathau. Maggie Lawson as Terry Gannon, Jr., is a great character battling to be a mom and still to win a little of the respect she feels she never had from her dad who always wanted a son. Ben Koldyke plays Dick Slingbaugh, the jock-jerk coach that Terry has to compete with as she faces this man’s world of baseball.
What I didn’t like: It’s a good premise and should be a good show, but I worry about how long the show can continue, since baseball season is shorter than the typical TV season.
Summary: If your family was anything like mine, there was many a time you said, “Man, I wish I could record this stuff.” That really the basis for the new series, The Goldbergs. The story of the youngest son with a video camera capturing every stupid, funny, annoying, scary, guilt-inducing, and heart-warming moment of a families life, this show is set in the 80’s and follows the Goldberg family through their dailiy dysfunction. “The Goldbergs” premieres TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 (9:00-9:30 p.m., ET) on ABC.
What I liked: This show has an all-star cast. Wendi McLendon-Covey (“Bridesmaids”), Patton Oswalt (“Ratatouille”), Sean Giambrone, Troy Gentile (“Good Luck Chuck”), Hayley Orrantia (“The X Factor”), with George Segal (“Just Shoot Me”) as Pops Solomon and Jeff Garlin (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) as Murray Goldberg. Everyone is a recognizable face, but the characters are classic 80’s family sitcom fare… just in 2013. It’s an interesting new twist on things.
What I didn’t like: The show was funny and I laughed, but it was also full of “groaners”. Some of the comedy was very forced and I am not sure I can see this show going on for several seasons… but, who knows, people amaze me in what they like to watch on TV.
Welcome to the Family
Summary: Typical suburban white family and typical suburban Hispanic family come together over mutual obligation? That might be the headline explaining this show. Two families and two different cultures, one family with a daughter who barely graduates high school and the other with a son with a promising future, find themselves connected by blood when the daughter becomes pregnant and her boyfriend, the other families son, proposes to her. Sparks will fly along with more than a few thinly veiled threats and possibly even some racial slurs before it is all over. Good times. Premiers Thursday, October 14, 2013, (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on NBC.
What I liked: This is a funny show, playing the fathers against each other before they even know their kids are dating. The potential here is great, let’s see if the writers can follow through.
What I didn’t like: Tired concept, but they may be able to breathe life into it with some good writing and solid characters.
Summary: A team of detectives in New York who get the job done. Sounds like another CSI/NCIS/Law & Order… except that the detectives have rolling-chair-fire-extingusher races across the office. With Andy Samberg as Detective Jack Peralta, a hot shot but immature cop in a Brooklyn precinct, the show is full of laugh out loud moments. Terry Crews as Sgt. Jeffords, a high-strung cop who will do anything to stay out of the line-of-fire, brings a special level to this comedy that I really enjoyed. Add to this the new no nonsense captain, Ray Holt, played by Andre Braugher, along with the rest of the team and you have a gut-splitting cop show that promises to please.
What I like: Andy Samberg is very funny as the childish, sometimes almost simple, Peralta and his back and forth with every member of his team is fun to watch. The pacing of the show was good for a pilot and it covered all the bases without telling us everything about the characters.
What I didn’t like: Sometimes Samberg can be a little over the top or too wild. The show goes a long way to bringing everyone into the act so the show is not just “Hey, Andy Samberg plays a funny cop!”
The Michael J. Fox Show
Summary: Micheal Henry had been a newsman all his life until he developed Parkinson’s, a degenerative nervous system disease. Sounds like some boo hoo drama or tear jerking Hallmark Channel movie. Instead, this is the setting for Michael J. Fox’s return to TV, a rousing comedy about the ups and downs of dealing with a family, public recognition, and this life-changing disease, not just from the perspective of Mike, but his family and friends as well. Things change even more as he returns to his old anchor job at NBC.
What I liked: The jokes are great, well paced, self-deprecating humor in a tasteful manner while still dealing with issues that people in Fox’s condition must have to cope with every day. I love the interaction with his family and the fact that the show addresses their coping mechanisms and reactions to the disease and changes to their dad.
What I didn’t like: Matt Lauer… just kidding. The show was well thought out and I hope it is more than just a gimmicky thing using Parkinson’s as a mechanism for comedy. I feel, with Michael J. Fox involved, this can be a great show.
That is just a start, but I know I will be watching this year to see what survives and what goes to that big TV show graveyard in the sky.