Splitsider’s Fall Comedy Preview 2013: TV
It’s going to be an exciting fall TV season this time around. We have the brand new cable network FXX, SNL‘s biggest transitional season in nearly two decades with five new cast members replacing several departing ones, Bill Cosby’s first televised standup special in 30 years, two new late night shows (TBS’s The Pete Holmes Show and Comedy Central’s @Midnight with Chris Hardwick), the final seasons of Eastbound & Down and How I Met Your Mother, a return to the sitcom world for Michael J. Fox and Robin Williams, and The Simpsons‘ landmark 25th season featuring a Futurama crossover. As if all that weren’t enough, there are also a slew of new shows. The new crop of network sitcoms are oddly heavy on family-centric shows this season, with 10 of the 13 comedies debuting this fall revolving around families.
Let’s take a look at the new and returning falls shows, including promising stuff like Andy Samberg’s cop comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Fox, The Office creator Stephen Merchant’s leading man debut in HBO’s Hello Ladies, and The Birthday Boys, a Bob Odenkirk-produced sketch show for IFC written by and starring the popular sketch group.
As far as network comedies go, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is far and away the most promising of the new batch. Created by Parks and Recreation co-creator Mike Schur and longtime Parks writer/producer Dan Goor, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a sitcom about a group of people working in a New York police precinct, centered on immature detective Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg). The supporting cast includes Andre Braugher, Terry Crews, Joe Lo Truglio, and Chelsea Peretti.
Tuesdays at 8:30 on Fox
Dads, the latest from producer Seth MacFarlane, hasn’t even aired yet, and it’s already courting controversy. The live action sitcom, starring Seth Green, Giovanni Ribisi, and Martin Mull, made headlines last month over allegations of racism from the Asian-American watchdog group MANAA. Created by MacFarlane’s Ted co-writers Alec Sulkin and Wellesly Wild, this is the first live action series MacFarlane has produced since the short-lived Rob Corddry vehicle The Winner in 2007.
Tuesdays at 8 on Fox
Sitcom kingpin Chuck Lorre adds another show to this his hefty pile of CBS hits this fall. Mom, co-created by Lorre, joins the other three current comedies he produces: Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, and Mike & Molly. Mom stars Anna Faris as a newly-sober single mom trying to start a new life in Napa Valley. The show boasts an impressive supporting cast that includes Allison Janney, Nate Corddry, and Breaking Bad‘s Matt Jones.
Mondays at 9:30 on CBS
Starring Jeff Garlin, Wendi McClendon-Covey, and George Segal and narrated by Patton Oswalt, The Goldbergs is a family comedy set in the 1980s from Adam F. Goldberg, creator of the short-lived Fox show Breaking In.
Tuesdays at 9 on ABC
Another family sitcom, albeit with a twist, Trophy Wife stars Malin Åkerman as a cleaned-up party girl who marries a guy, only to find out she has to deal with his two ex-wives (Marcia Gay Harden and Michaela Watkins) and his kids.
Tuesdays at 9:30 on ABC
Back in the Game
When her son is rejected from Little League, a former softball star (Maggie Lawson) and her estranged dad (James Caan) start coaching a baseball team of misfits.
Wednesdays at 8:30 on ABC
The Michael J. Fox Show
Michael J. Fox’s first regular TV gig since leaving Spin City over a decade ago due of his Parkinson’s disease, The Michael J. Fox Show stars the actor as a newsman going back to work after taking five years off following a Parkinson’s diagnosis. Breaking Bad‘s Betsy Brandt costars as his wife and The Wire‘s Wendell Pierce as his friend.
Thursdays at 9:30 on NBC
The Crazy Ones
Another sitcom veteran is set to return to TV screens the same night as Michael J. Fox. Robin Williams, who hasn’t had a regular TV role since Mork & Mindy ended in 1982, stars in The Crazy Ones alongside Sarah Michelle Gellar as a father-daughter advertising team. The Crazy Ones is the first half-hour sitcom from David E. Kelley, creator of Ally McBeal, The Practice, Boston Legal, and tons of other shows.
Thursdays at 9 on CBS
Stephen Merchant, who created The Office and Extras with Ricky Gervais, is finally getting his own starring role. Hello Ladies was stars Merchant as a gawky Englishman looking for love in the US. If the eight-part series ends well, Merchant just might end up being the Larry David of the Gervais-Merchant partnership.
Sundays at 10:30 on HBO
We Are Men
After a young guy (Chris Smith) is left at the altar, he moves into a short-term rental complex and befriends three divorcees (Tony Shalhoub, Kal Penn, Jerry O’Connell). Along with The Crazy Ones, these are CBS’s first single camera comedies since Worst Week in 2008.
Mondays at 8:30 on CBS
Super Fun Night
Scene stealer Rebel Wilson gets her first front-and-center role in a US comedy in Super Fun Night, which she also created. Originally developed for CBS last season, the show found a home at ABC this year. Super Fun Night, which is produced by Conan O’Brien, stars Wilson as the leader of a trio of nerdy women who always spend their Friday nights inside together. The series picks up with her deciding to take her friends out into the real world on a Friday for the first time.
Wednesdays at 9:30 on ABC
Sean Saves the World
The latest from Victor Fresco, acclaimed creator of comedies like Andy Richter Controls the Universe and Better Off Ted, Sean Saves the World marks the sitcom return of Will & Grace star Sean Hayes. The show stars Hayes as a divorced gay father raising his teenage daughter while balancing his career. The supporting cast includes Linda Lavin, Tom Lennon, and Ben and Kate‘s Echo Kellum.
Thursdays at 9 on NBC
The latest show created by My Name Is Earl and Raising Hope‘s Greg Garcia, The Millers is a multi-cam sitcom starring Will Arnett as a divorced guy whose parents (Beau Bridges and Margo Martindale) move back in with him. When the pilot was screened for critics, it made headlines for how many farts it included.
Thursdays at 8:30 on CBS
Welcome to the Family
Mike O’Malley stars in this comedy about the culture clash that occurs between two families when a Latino family’s son and a caucasian family’s daughter decide to get married following an unexpected pregnancy. How will they ever get along?
Thursdays at 8:30 on CBS
The Birthday Boys
It’s pretty rare these days for an existing sketch group to get their own TV show, but IFC has ordered one from The Birthday Boys, a Los Angeles-based group of seven writer-performers who have been putting on shows at the UCB Theatre and releasing popular online videos for years. Joining the seven Birthday Boys (Jefferson Dutton, David Ferguson, Mike Hanford, Tim Kalpakis, Matt Kowalick, Mike Mitchell, and Chris VanArtsdalen) in the cast is Bob Odenkirk, who’s writing and executive producing on the show, his first sketch series since Mr. Show ended its run over a decade ago.
Fridays at 10:30 on IFC
Comedy Central has never had a nightly 12am show to follow their successful Daily Show/Colbert Report block, but they’re giving it a shot this fall with @Midnight, a new late night game show hosted by America’s busiest TV host, Chris Hardwick. Produced by Funny or Die with Reno 911!‘s Tom Lennon and Ben Garant serving as showrunners, @Midnight is described as “a rapid-fire game show inspired by the darkest recesses of social media.” While there are a more and more late night talk shows popping up on the TV grid by the second, at least this one is switching things up by being a game show.
Monday through Thursday at midnight on Comedy Central
The Pete Holmes Show
TBS expands its late night lineup by adding this self-titled post-Conan talk show from standup and You Made It Weird podcaster Pete Holmes. The Pete Holmes Show is produced by Conan O’Brien’s production company, and here’s how Holmes described the show to us a few months back:
We would like it to be similar to the sensibility of Conan. It’s going to be a friendly, light-hearted tree house vibe, like a silly safe place. But merging it with a the stuff that I’ve been doing for the past decade, which is, my style of standup, my style of sketch, and then my style of interview. So when we do the interview at the end, even though its not gonna be three hours, which my podcast can be, I’d like to see you how, for lack of a better word, weird we can make it in six minutes. I want to encourage the guests to ruin the show or not take it serious or whatever. To see what we can do to kind of breath new life into the interview format for that third act of the show.
Monday through Thursday at midnight on TBS
Premiering late this fall is Enlisted, a single camera comedy from Scrubs and Cougar Town writer/producer Kevin Biegel about three very different brothers working together on a military base.
Fridays at 9:30 on Fox
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
After eight year on FX, Always Sunny is jumping to FX’s new cable offshoot FXX to serve as the network’s flagship show. The new season of the show features an episode written by Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and another episode called “The Gang Tries Desperately to Win an Award,” mocking the show’s complete lack of Emmy or Golden Globe attention.
Wednesdays at 10 on FXX
Joining Always Sunny on FX is the latest season of The League. There’s an episode this year called “Rafi and Dirty Randy” that’s written by Seth Rogen and Jason Mantzoukas, centered on their characters Rafi and Dirty Randy traveling to LA to avenge their friend’s murder and break into the mainstream porn business. Do I smell a spinoff?
Wednesdays at 10:30 on FXX
Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell
Moving to a nightly slot on FXX, Totally Biased is kicking off its non-weekly run with guest stars like Jim Gaffigan, Tracy Morgan, and the show’s executive producer, Chris Rock. The show will be airing new episodes four nights a week and a clip show on Fridays.
Monday through Friday at 11 on FXX
The Heart, She Holler
Vernon Chatman and John Lee’s nightmarish redneck soap opera The Heart, She Holler returns for a second season comprised of 14 episodes, with Amy Sedaris joining Patton Oswalt in the cast as a replacement for Kristen Schaal, who couldn’t do the show this time around. The Heart, She Holler is currently airing reruns of its first season daily, with season two set to start airing daily next week.
Monday through Friday at 12:30am on Adult Swim
Returning for a third season, New Girl will pick up where the show left off with Jess and Nick’s relationship. More importantly, Damon Wayans Jr., who acted in the New Girl pilot but had to leave when Happy Endings was picked up, is back for at least six episodes.
Tuesdays at 9 on Fox
The Mindy Project
The Mindy Projectstarted slow last year, but over the span of its first season, grew into one of the season’s best new comedies and there’s a lot of fun stuff in store for season two. James Franco and Timothy Olyphant are set to guest star, with Glenn Howerton and Adam Pally both set for multi-episode arcs on the show.
Tuesdays at 9:30 on Fox
Key & Peele
Comedy Central’s acclaimed sketch show Key & Peele returns for its biggest season yet, consisting of a whopping 13 episodes, with guest stars like Andy Daly, Jack McBrayer, Jason Schwartzman, Natasha Leggero, Colin Hanks, and Metta World Peace set to appear alongside all your favorite characters.
Wednesdays at 10:30 on Comedy Central
Brad Neely’s late night animated show China, IL returns for a second season this fall, with episode lengths expanded from 15 minutes to 30 this time around. Standup Hannibal Buress will be coming aboard to voice a character named Matt Attack, joining a talented voice cast that already includes Neely, Greta Gerwig, Hulk Hogan, and Jeffrey Tambor.
Sundays at 11:30 on Adult Swim
How I Met Your Mother
The (alleged) final season of CBS’s long-running sitcom all takes place during Robin and Barney’s 56-hour wedding weekend with plenty of flashbacks and flash-forwards mixed in. The show will also be doing its 200th episode and the titular mother will be joining the cast for the season.
Mondays at 8 on CBS
The new season of South Park will operate on a different schedule than the show’s been running on for the last decade, with Trey Parker and Matt Stone opting to do one uninterrupted string of 10 episodes instead of two separate chunks of seven episodes this time around. In other exciting developments, Saturday Night Live‘s Bill Hader is joining the writing staff full-time for the new season, following years of working on the show as a consultant.
Wednesdays at 10 on Comedy Central
Parks and Recreation
It’s going to be an exciting season for Parks and Recreation. In addition to cast members Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe departing 13 episodes into the season six, the show will feature an hour-long season premiere set in London and Chris Pratt will be appearing sporadically during the first half of the season due to filming his Marvel superhero movie Guardians of the Galaxy, so he’ll inexplicably look like a superhero now. Also, a slew of exciting guest stars are set to visit Pawnee, like Henry Winkler as Jean-Ralphio’s dad and group of doppelgangers from rival town Eagleton’s Parks Department with Kristen Bell for Leslie Knope, Sam Elliott for Ron Swanson, Billy Eichner for Donna, and June Diane Raphael for April.
Thursdays at 8 on NBC
Saturday Night Live
It’s a big transitional year for SNL with the show adding five new cast members — Beck Bennett, John Milhiser, Kyle Mooney, Michael Patrick O’Brien, and Noël Wells — to fill the void left by Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, and Jason Sudeikis. This is the largest number of cast additions the show has had since the massive 1995 revamp of the show, which added six performers and kicked off the show’s Will Ferrell era.
Saturdays at 11:30 on NBC
Eastbound & Down
Season three was supposed to be Eastbound & Down‘s last, but showrunners Danny McBride and Jody Hill opted to finish things off with a season four to give some closure to the Kenny Powers and April story they couldn’t get into season three. The final eight episodes will take place several years after we left off, with Kenny Powers living with his family in North Carolina. The show has plenty of exciting cast additions in store: Ken Marino is appearing in every episode as a hard-partying middle-aged athlete, Tim Heidecker is recurring as Powers’s vanilla neighbor Gene, and, um, Lindsay Lohan is guest starring.
Sundays at 10 on HBO
The best animated comedy on network TV returns for its fourth season, with great guest stars both new (Molly Shannon, Bobcat Goldthwait, Rachel Dratch, Kathryn Hahn) and old (Aziz Ansari, Will Forte, Kevin Kline, Megan Mullally, Tim Meadow, Ken Jeong).
Sundays at 8:30 on Fox
Sundays at 8 on Fox
Aziz Ansari: Buried Alive
Netflix is getting into the original standup special game this fall, competing with Comedy Central, Showtime, and HBO on that front for the first time. Aziz Ansari’s Buried Alive, the comedian’s third special, will be Netflix’s second ever original standup special after a Russell Peters special that debuts October 14th.
Sarah Silverman: We Are Miracles
It’s hard to believe that We Are Miracles is only Sarah Silverman’s second standup special ever, but the hour-long HBO special, produced by Funny or Die and directed by Liam Lynch, is the first since her 2005 concert film Jesus Is Magic.
Bill Cosby: Far From Finished
It was a major coup for Comedy Central earlier this year when they landed the rights to Bill Cosby: Far From Finished, the comedian’s first televised standup special since 1983’s widely influential Bill Cosby: Himself. Directed by Robert Townsend, the special is compiled from material Cosby performed at the Cerritos Performing Arts Center this summer.
For more, check out our preview of the fall’s new movies.