I love watching TV comedy and fall TV is coming up with new shows and returning ones so I decide to test watch a bunch of new comedies and some returning ones for each day of the week of September 19th. All synopses I’ve provided are from Wikipedia. And here are my thoughts, which ones I’ll keep watching, and which ones I’m dropping.
*The premiere aired on Monday, the 19th but regular showings are on Thursdays.
The Good Place is an interesting concept and from what I’ve seen of the first three episodes, the worldbuilding is very vibrant, compelling, and slightly whimiscal even though it has the potential for a lot of loopholes of the same caliber as Once Upon a Time because there are no rules. The Good Place is essentially a heaven where literally anything can happen. You can see how that might lead to a lot of convenient plot solutions. The characters could use a loooooot of work. The first episode comprised of Eleanor learning how not to be selfish anymore and this arc has been done sooo many times before and this show didn’t do anything refreshing for this arc and I find the characters continue to be as bland going into the third episode. And I’m surprised considering that the creator of this show is Mike Schur who created Parks and Rec and Brooklyn Nine Nine. So when I found that, he was the only reason why I’m holding out on this show so hopefully it picks up soon. Also, I continue to appreciate the vast diversity of characters (in terms of race) that Schur includes without making race jokes all the time.
Verdict: Keep watching (for one or two more episodes, but if it doesn’t pick up, I’m dropping)
And speaking of Brooklyn Nine Nine, it returned for its fourth season last Tuesday. I think B99 lost a little bit of its humor in the last season but it did pick up near the end and I think it went into the premiere really strong especially because the strongest relationship in the show is the one between Captain Holt and Jake Peralta. If you love Parks and Rec, check out this show. It’s well worth it.
Verdict: Keep Watching (of course)
When I first heard about this show, I jumped on it right away because a) childish Gambino was on the show and b) Childish Gambino was on the show. However I think the humor and the plotlines are a little lost on me. I think there’s just a lot of subtext that I don’t understand. But this is a show that could potentially be a great satire and Donald Glover is an excellent actor.
Verdict: Dropping (might catch up later)
I have so many family sitcoms that I thought I would be bored of this. After watching it, I feel like it’s sort of like a second cousin to The Middle. And even though, it hit a lot of the same notes as other family sitcoms like first crushes, dealing with neighbors etc. etc., it has a lot of potential for character. The first few episodes were unsure about how to handle some of the family members and I want to see more from them. I’m glad the casting directors actually casted a child with cerebral palsy to play a character with cerebral palsy and I’m looking forward to seeing more of the family dynamics. The humor is your standard family sitcom humor although a lot of wasn’t funny to me (probably because of the acting).
Verdict: Keep Watching
I have had my qualms with Modern Family especially in the most recent seasons because they kept falling on the same jokes and what once were refreshing storylines grew tiresome and just too safe which is sad to say for a show that was once heralded for being progressive. But there’s something about the acting performances and the more nuanced messages (like the most recent episode) that it sends about our daily lives that are different from other mainstream family sitcoms that keeps me watching. Also I just really like Haley and Andy.
Verdict: Keep Watching (with some hesitations)
I just literally finished watching the most recent episode and this show just keeps on giving me more extremely pleasant surprises. I have since made peace with the fact that this show is not the funniest out there (at least for me). It’s packed with too many obscure references I don’t get and the dialogue a little too verbatim and scripted for the delivery to be funny. BUT. But it more than compensates for that with its impeccable storylines. It subverts and upends so many romantic comedy formulas and makes them so refreshing and new but still sweet and well..romantic. These characters are some of the nastiest out there in TV but you feel for them anyway and the producers and directors are also not afraid to explore topics like depression and PTSD even in a comedy that never crosses over into dark humor. It maintains its lightheartedness all throughout. And best of all, these topics are neither brushed over nor oversimplified. All in 20 minutes. This show has my heart and I highly recommend.
Verdict: Keep watching (duh)
This show also has a piece of my heart. It clearly has an agenda as a progressive show but unlike Modern Family, it is actually successful in making a conversation. It’s also one of the most hilarious and feel-good shows out there right now. Even people I know who usually hate comedy because they “don’t get the jokes” love Superstore because we’ve all been to the store so the jokes are so relatable. These characters are some of the most lovable out there, endearing and eccentric ones reminiscent of Parks and Rec and The Office, ones that you just want the best for because they care for each other even if they don’t show it.
Verdict: Keep watching (obviously)
There wasn’t any new or returning comedy that premiered on Friday so I decided to watch Transparent. Transparent feels a lot more like drama than comedy sometimes so the humor is biting, more dark. That’s combined with almost soap-opera type drama that never feels over the top with its melancholic tone and careful pacing. But even from the first episode, the main story surrounding our main character, Mort, and his transition to being a woman, feels endearing and heartbreaking all at once. There also seems to be a kind of trend on TV right now where all the characters are unlikeable so all her three children are really selfish and they’re not as endearing, more amusing to watch as they get into more and more shit.
Verdict: Keep Watching
Some comedies on my “to watch”:
Let me know if you’ve seen any of these or what fall TV comedies you are excited for! =)