Let's get this out of the way first. There are times of the year TV lovers crave -- those weeks in May when shows finale; the hour after the Super Bowl, to see if the lucky series that scored the plum spot is a goody; awards shows that honor television, like last night's Emmys or the Golden Globes. Ahhh, good times.
For me, however, this week is the week -- when almost everything we've been waiting for is finally back. "Grey's Anatomy." "CSI." "Fringe." "The Good Wife." "Dancing With the Stars." "Criminal Minds." "Castle." "The Big Bang Theory." "Modern Family." "Hawaii Five-0." "Once Upon a Time." "New Girl." And those are just the ones I watch. That's right, partly because I love television, mostly because I have no life, I watch all the shows I just mentioned, and that's on top of the new ones and the shows that don't return until October (I'm looking at you, "Raising Hope," "The Walking Dead," "Happy Endings," "Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23" and "Nikita"). Sigh. I just re-read all those shows and ... wow, I truly am a loser.
Anyway, two returning comedies that I have been anxiously awaiting are "New Girl" and "Raising Hope" (which premieres Tuesday, Oct. 2), and not because they ended with crazy cliffhangers. It's merely for their awesomeness. But what better way to celebrate two of television's best and brightest comedies than by teaming them with two of television's best and brightest newbies: "The Mindy Project" and "Ben And Kate."
Really, whoever's idea it was to make Fox's Tuesday night a full-on funny one -- as well as bumping "Glee" to Thursdays (where it totally fits in with "The X Factor") -- definitely made the right decision.
I've already written about my love for the Mindys (Kaling and her character, Lahiri), so now it's Ben and Kate's turn to get some love. Nat Faxon (who bears an uncanny resemblance to Seth Meyers) and Dakota Johnson (who looks and sounds like Renee Zellweger), play titular siblings Ben and Kate Fox. Ben's a goofy slacker who constantly upends the life of his straight-laced sister Kate whenever he unexpectedly drops in. But all that changes by the end of the premiere when SPOILER ALERT! (but not really) Ben decides to move in and help Kate raise her five-year-old daughter, Maddie (Maggie Jones).
The concept is loosely based on the experiences of creator Dana Fox and it's probably just a coincidence that she landed on the network of the same name, though it makes total and complete sense. Her tone is an ideal fit with Fox's other comedies, making it hands-down the strongest comedy block on television. Not since "Beverly Hills, 90210" and "Melrose Place" has the network boasted such a strong 120 minutes of sheer entertainment.
And in Canada, Citytv is no fool -- it followed in Fox's footsteps and picked up the two new shows (and caps off its Tuesdays with "Private Practice"). "Ben and Kate" might not be all knee-slapping and wocka-wocka, but you will definitely laugh out loud (the high-fives and cookie jar scenes were my favorite chuckle-worthy moments). I promise.