'The New Normal', 'Go On' lead a host of great new series
As TV fanatics try to cope with the inevitable loss of beloved sitcoms like The Office and 30 Rock and the likely cancellation of cult (read: unpopular) hits like Community and Parks and Recreation in the Spring, NBC and the viewing public at large are being forced to scout the newest crop of shows for potential replacements.
While last season's only real standout, New Girl, struggles to keep it's momentum going (the premier saw a steep 44% drop from the series opener last Fall), it's a pleasant surprise then, that this year's crop of up-and-comers is packed with potential favorites.
Fans of Community's measured insanity are likely waiting for the October 19 premiere to see if the show can maintain the show's oddly endearing cast of headcases can get their fix in Go On. Matthew Perry makes a welcome return back to intentional comedy as a megalomaniacal sports show host who is coping with the recent death of his wife with trips to a support group that deals with life changes. Much like Community, each episode is an exercise in coexistence with the upshot of its characters taking steps towards handling their grief. So, obviously it's a laugh riot.
On the same token, The New Normal offers a surprising, unflinching look at a gay couple's quest for a child. With four episodes under its belt, the show has developed a tactic unique for a sitcom: tackling controversial topics head on. In its third episode, the show found humor in the couple's confrontation with a bigot in a department store. Episode four, found characters squaring off in a candid discussion of partisan politics. And it did so in a way that didn't make liberals look like addlepated stoners (or demigods) and managed to shine a small light on a conservatives more humane motives. In fact, those people searching for a Republican role model on TV will find Ellen Barkin's turn as (who would have guessed) a gin-swilling grandma in the mold of the Bluth matriach a more than even match for Alec Baldwin's Jack Donaghy.
Other contenders appear in the form of Mindy Kaling' hotly anticipated The Mindy Project and Ben & Kate, the sitcom starring that guy with odd teeth who's been in lots of comedies you've seen, lots you haven't, and who just won a third of an Academy Award for writing The Descendants.
We can only hope that Leslie Knope and the oddballs at Greendale get a stay of execution (please, please start watching them!), but if this Fall's assortment is any indication, we can rest assured that our time with equally lovaeable series is just getting started.