I mentioned in my last post that last week was a tough one for TV creatives, who were hearing the fates of their shows. But while last week focused on pilots, I wanted to put a spotlight on some of the current shows that were cancelled to make room for new programming. There has been a lot of talk about the fact that the broadcast networks have a hard time sticking with their half-hour comedies and giving them a chance to really succeed, and I agree. Ratings are important, but there have been success stories for shows that were given a chance to pick up an audience (i.e. The Mindy Project on Fox). At the ABC upfronts earlier this week, where the network presented its new slate, Jimmy Kimmel warned the audience: “Don’t get attached to any of these shows – it’s like adopting a kitten with cancer.” And while I am excited for most of the new shows being broadcast this fall, I’ve chosen one show from each network that was my kitten with cancer this year. I highly recommend giving these shows a binge watch if you haven’t already seen them. Plus, since they’re not coming back next year there is very little commitment involved.
Trophy Wife (ABC)
Favorite Episode – 01X08: “Lice and Beary White”
Easily my favorite new comedy this year, and one that racked up loads of critical acclaim in the TV world but didn’t rope quite enough viewers. I strongly believe that had it been given the post-Modern Family slot, we would be seeing a season 2, but that’s a mute point now. Created by Emily Halpern and Sarah Haskins, Trophy Wife is the story of a reformed party girl (Malin Akerman) who finds herself caught up in a crazy family after falling in love with and marrying a man (Bradley Whitford) with three manipulative children and two judgmental ex-wives (Marcia Gay Harden and Michaela Watkins). The show is hilarious and sweet, and a perfect showcase for three extremely talented child actors: Albert Tsai, Bailee Madison, and Ryan Lee. Like I’ve said before, I’m a sucker for an unconventional family, and this one is an absolute crack up.
Surviving Jack (Fox)
Favorite Episode - 01X06: “She Drives Me Crazy”
I’m always drawn to comedies about parents raising teenage children, and the fact that this one is set in the 90s made it a must-see for me. With the tagline “Putting the F back in fatherhood,” Surviving Jack is a story told by Frankie (Connor Buckley), as he recalls his teenage years being raised by his intimidating, unconventional father (Christopher Meloni), who has never been dealt a problem that he couldn’t solve. While Christopher Meloni (one of my favorite actors) carries the show, the stories that develop between the Dunlevy family: Jack, Frankie, Joanne (Rachael Harris), and Rachel (Claudia Lee) are relatable and hilarious. Jack is a new take on a TV dad, who isn’t completely oblivious or entangling himself unnecessarily in his children’s lives. I’m sad to see this one go when it had so much potential.
Friends With Better Lives (CBS)
Favorite Episode - 01X05: “The Bicycle Thieves”
Every season there is an attempt to make a comedy that has a similar draw to Friends. They very rarely work out, and I believe that this comparison dooms them from the start. However, I love ensemble casts, and I love the demonstrations of friends that are so close that they have no problem walking through your front door whenever they damn well please. Therefore, this show greatly appealed to me. Yes, it’s cheesy, but most comedies are, and if you strip away the halo of perfection from Friends, it was too. FWBL is centered around six 30-something friends who each think the other has it better. There’s the married couple (Kevin Connolly and Majandra Delfino), the engaged couple (Brooklyn Decker and Rick Donald), the divorced one (James Van Der Beek), and the perpetually single one (Zoe Lister Jones), who make up a group of friends that all think the grass is greener on the other side. It’s funny, cheesy, and worth a watch.
Sean Saves the World (NBC)
Favorite Episode - 01X02: “Busted”
I’m aware that I’m in the minority of people who love this show, and that’s probably because my love for Sean Hayes blinds me to the issues this comedy had. But once again, I’m drawn to the fact that it’s a show about raising a teenager in an unconventional family model. The show centers on Sean (a gay man), who must figure out how to parent his 14-year-old daughter, who just moved in, while navigating a temperamental new boss at work. He receives help (often times unsolicited) raising his daughter Ellie (Samantha Isler) from his mother (Linda Lavin) and his best friend Liz (Megan Hilty). While his mother always advises as an experienced parent, Liz is always available to be the fun, cool, ‘older sister’ type voice in Ellie’s life. I especially love this dynamic, and think it promotes funny and interesting dialogue about raising a teenage girl in a space that has not been previously explored. I think that the struggles this show faced was in its depiction of the workplace, which always fell a little short.