New Fall Comedies: What We’re Watching (And What We’re Not)

Left to right: ‘Ben and Kate’ (Fox), ‘Go On’ (NBC), ‘The Mindy Project’ (Fox)

A new season of television is upon us! Which means we have a new buffet of shows to pick from, some of which are destined to become new favorites, and some of which will fall by the wayside. (Oh hi, The Neighbors, I didn’t see you there.) This TV season brings us aliens, monkeys, lots of babies, and yet another sitcom from Matthew Perry. So what should you put on your watch list, and what should you skip? Here’s a rundown of our impressions of this fall’s new comedies…


Go On—NBC (Matthew Perry, John Cho)
Why I’m Excited: This one was initially in my “Pass” category (because Matthew Perry + grief counseling couldn’t possibly be a good formula for a comedy, right?) but after watching the first two episodes, I’m completely smitten with it. This show’s survival odds might not be that great considering it features a lot of sad people, and typically audiences don’t like sadness in their comedies, but the miracle is that Go On still manages to be both genuinely hilarious and hilariously genuine. The heartfelt moments between characters are poignant without being sappy, and anytime it gets too real, Matthew Perry diffuses it with a joke or a sarcastic comment. Trust me when I say you won’t regret it if you give Go On a chance. (Check out my full review of the pilot here.)
Tuesdays at 9 on NBC

The Mindy ProjectFox (Mindy Kaling, Chris Messina)
Why I’m Excited: Mindy Kaling is a very funny woman. There’s no denying it, especially after watching the pilot episode of her new show, during which she rides a bicycle while drunk, delivers a baby, and unapologetically cops to having Googled her date before meeting him. Yes, she’s a mess. But she’s also relatable and wildly entertaining. The Mindy Project is like watching a romantic comedy in sitcom form, and I’m totally hooked.
Tuesdays at 9:30 on Fox, premieres September 25th

Ben and KateFox (Dakota Johnson, Nat Faxon)
Why I’m Excited: I’m a sucker for a good TV sibling relationship, and this new comedy about a young single mother and her well-intentioned spaz of a brother looks like it could very well be the last piece in Fox’s Tuesday night comedy block. (Ben and Kate will air between the fantastic returning comedy Raising Hope and sophomore hit New Girl.) With Nat Faxon as the titular Ben, and the outrageously funny Lucy Punch as the funny best friend, the cast is shaping up quite nicely. (Plus, I spy Jon Foster in the pilot episode!) The real selling point, of course, is the news that former Community executive producers Garrett Donovan and Neil Goldman have joined the B&K team, which means there’s a good chance some Community stars might be stopping by for guest appearances.
Tuesdays at 8:30 on Fox, premieres September 25th


The New NormalFox (Justin Bartha, Andrew Rannells)
I thought I would love The New Normal, but I was underwhelmed by the first two episodes. It was funny enough, and the cast is great, but I still feel like it’s missing that x-factor. (No, not that X Factor.) The New Normal should be great, in theory. It has a fabulous cast, vividly drawn characters and relationships, and a feel-good premise that will make you say “awww.” If the writers can find a way to subdue some of that excessive earnestness, maybe this show can get out of its own way and actually be successful.
Why I’ll Give It a Chance: Like I said, it has all the elements I look for in a comedy. The pilot had a fair amount of hearty laughs—not to mention heart—and I’m confident that once The New Normal finds its groove, it could be a new hit for the struggling NBC.
Tuesdays at 9:30 on NBC

Guys With Kids—NBC (Anthony Anderson, Jesse Bradford, Zach Cregger)
I love you, Jimmy Fallon, but you were channeling late-2000s-era Adam Sandler when you came up with this show. Guys With Kids, about three friends navigating the rocky seas of fatherhood, looks like it’s straight out of the 90s. (And not in a good way.) I really don’t see any scenario in which this show will succeed.
Why I’ll Give It a Chance: Jesse Bradford. Oh, who am I kidding—there’s no way I’m watching past the pilot episode. But I respect your creative ambition, Jimmy Fallon, and I wish you the best.
Wednesdays at 8:30 on NBC, premieres September 26th


Animal Practice—NBC (Justin Kirk, JoAnna Garcia Swisher)
I want to like this show because I love Justin Kirk, and I want to support him in his post-Weeds career, but he was the only part of the pilot that I liked. A part of me wonders if this is just an excuse for NBC to have a show with a capuchin monkey that wears people clothes. I can’t say that I blame them—oh, wait, yes I can. I’m hoping for a quick and painless cancellation for this new quirky animal hospital comedy (it’s basically House as a veterinarian…with a monkey) so that Justin Kirk can move on to something better.
Possible Redeeming Qualities: Lots of adorable animals behaving like humans. But isn’t that what YouTube is for?
Wednesdays at 8 on NBC

PartnersCBS (David Krumholtz, Michael Urie)
This new laugh-track-laden sitcom looks like what Will & Grace would have been if it was Will & Jack, and Will was straight. This thought occurred to me even before I noticed that Partners is from the creators of Will & Grace. Sadly, I don’t see this show measuring up to its predecessor’s prolific eight-season run. As much as I’d like to say we live in an age where a sitcom with a flamboyantly gay main character can succeed on CBS, I just don’t think we’re there yet. In fact, GLAAD just released its annual Network Responsibility Index (an assessment of how many hours of network programming feature lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender images), and CBS came in last place among the five major networks for the fourth consecutive year with only 8 percent of its programming considered LGBT-inclusive, according to The Washington Times.
Possible Redeeming Qualities: Even if Partners doesn’t live to see November sweeps, at least CBS is making an effort to include more gay characters in their lineup. Now if only they could do it without being offensive and outdated…
Mondays at 8:30 on CBS, premieres September 24th

The NeighborsABC (Jami Gertz, Lenny Venito)
Seriously, ABC? What planet are you living on? When I first saw the promo for The Neighbors, I legitimately thought it was an insurance commercial. Because no one would really make a sitcom about a family who moves into a neighborhood of Stepford-like aliens who masquerade as humans…right? Wrong. Do you think the executives at ABC are just playing some epic game of chicken with each other to see how far into production they’ll go with a terrible show before someone gives in and says, “okay, shut it down.” (I mean, that would explain Work It…) The Neighbors looks like a cross between The Coneheads and Paul, with a hefty dose of 3rd Rock from the Sun, but less funny.
Possibly Redeeming Qualities: I’m assuming the show will have an allegorical message about coexisting with aliens, like, “even though they look different, they’re really just like us, and we should accept them.” Also, the fact that ABC picked up this show makes NBC’s perennially questionable judgment pale in comparison.
Wednesdays at 8:30 on ABC, premieres September 26th at 9:30

Malibu Country—ABC (Reba McEntire, Lily Tomlin)
Hey look! Another sitcom starring Reba McEntire as a character named Reba with some charming kids and an ex-husband! I was just saying last week how we could use another one of those, because I’m really getting tired of watching the same old re-runs of Reba on ABC Family. Only, in this sitcom, Reba has a crass mother played by Emmy Award-winning comedian Lily Tomlin, and she lives in Malibu. So yeah. It’s totally different.
Possible Redeeming Qualities: Lily Tomlin. The end.
Fridays at 8:30 on ABC, premieres November 2nd

So far, I’m calling Go On, Ben and Kate, and The Mindy Project my favorite new comedies of the season. But there’s still plenty of time for another show to unleash some hidden potential. (Though, given this year’s crop of shows, I wouldn’t bet on it.) What new comedies will you be tuning in for? Hit the comments section below, or tweet us @PopCultureNexus!



Posted on September 17, 2012, in Television, TV Premiere and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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