The recently announced TV network fall line up seems to have some common themes this year. Did anyone order some revived sitcom actors? FOX, ABC, CBS, and NBC sure did, and these new shows will all have some very familiar faces.
FOX's new series The Mindy Project stars Mindy Kaling in a quirky sitcom about a young woman who has professional success as a gynecologist but just can't quite figure out that love life of hers. Mindy's character on the show is not totally unlike her ditzy, celebrity-obsessed character Kelly Kapoor on The Office, which looks like it will add to the show's likability. Kelly was irritating, sure, but nonetheless comically entertaining. I think Kelly's incredible naïveté has at lest been removed from Mindy's new character, which is definitely necessary if this series is going to work. You just can't have the star of a show plotting to dupe her ex-boyfriend into impregnating her in every episode... Well, unless it's a reality show. And it takes place at the Jersey Shore.
Country music star Reba McEntire is back to the small screen in a new ABC sitcom called Malibu Country. Yes, that's really what it's called. To be honest I see very little difference between this new show and her WB show, Reba, which ended in 2007 -- single mom, lots of kids, and not without a generous amount of Southern witticism thrown in there. Not exactly my idea of quality television. I do enjoy the fact that the show takes place in California (hence the title), which allows for some not-so-subtle marijuana humor, mostly delivered by Reba's wacky, retired mother. The downside is that this seems to be the most entertaining aspect of the series. Malibu Country doesn't really look like my cup of tea, but then again I think this show is intended for the 12- to 18-year-old demographic anyway. At least I hope it is...
On the CBS fall line up I'm really looking forward to the Partners premiere. While this show doesn't include any major former sitcom stars (although it does include Sophia Bush of One Tree Hill fame) it was created and written by the brilliant men responsible for Will & Grace, David Kohan and Max Mutchnick. Partners is about a gay man and a straight man that are childhood best friends and business partners, who now have to make room in their lives for each other's romantic relationships. Will & Grace is one of my all time favorite sitcoms and I have to admit that I'm really hoping for a Jack McFarland-esque character in this new show. But who could ever really top Jack McFarland anyways? Evidently, there was a strikingly similar series also titled Partners that aired during the 1995-96 season on FOX. Not only are the premises of the shows very similar, but James Burrows, who directed the retro version, also directed the pilot for the new version. The old series didn't last more than a season but I have high hopes for this one. Even though it might just be because I haven't been able to fill the void that Will & Grace left and I'm still looking for my next gay sitcom fix.
Lastly, we come to the new NBC sitcom titled Go On, starring my longtime friend Matthew Perry. Okay, fine, I've never actually met Matthew Perry but he might as well be my best friend because I'm pretty sure I've watched the entire Friends series more times than should be humanly possible. But this new show is definitely not a Friends revival to say the least. Perry plays a sportscaster whose wife was recently killed in a car accident caused by her texting (the "don't text and drive" PSA does not go unnoticed). He starts attending a support group to try to deal with his feelings, and while there seems to be a generous amount of comedy, the fact remains that this show revolves around a tragedy and incorporates the tragedies of the people in the group as well. Hold up, isn't this suppose to be a comedy...? Go On looks like it could definitely be a hit, especially because I know Matthew Perry will always bring his Chandler Bing charm to each episode, but I get the feeling that it has a bit of an identity crisis going on... I guess there is such a thing as a dramedy, right?
With the always-changing landscape of television these days, especially network television, it will be interesting to see which of these sitcoms lasts for more than a season. It's just too bad we still have to wait four months to see them premiere!