TV Preview: New Fall Comedies 2012
1. "Go On" (Tuesdays, 9pm ET on NBC)
On ABC’s new comedy Matthew Perry plays hothead sports-radio host Ryan who is having trouble coping with his wife’s death. After an outburst, his boss (John Cho) orders him to attend 10 group therapy sessions, which Ryan tries to get through as quickly and painlessly as possible. At the sessions Ryan meets therapist Lauren (Laura Benanti) and individuals with their own tragedies.
The Verdict: Three episodes in and Matthew Perry’s return to TV is proving to be worthy of following. Perry does great comedy and it’s nice to see him in this role that still has the snarky humor of his beloved Chandler Bing, but with a maturity that brings more depth to his character. This dark comedy might not be everyone’s cup of tea, especially for “Friends” fans who are looking for laugh-out-loud good times. What it really needs is a great ensemble to complement Perry’s performance; hopefully the other members of the support group will be able to do just that.
2. "Animal Practice" (premieres Sept. 26, 8pm ET on NBC)
Combine “Scrubs,” “House” and the monkey from “Community” and you’ve got “Animal Practice,” NBC’s bizarre new comedy. Dr. George Coleman (Justin Kirk) is a womanizing vet who’s great with animal but not with people. His ex-girlfriend Dorothy (JoAnna Garcia Swisher) has just inherited the hospital and the two are forced to work together.
The Verdict: The monkey, Crystal, is hilarious (you may also have seen her work in “The Hangover”). But is that enough to keep this show going? Maybe. Justin Kirk as Dr. George Coleman has his own charm and he and JoAnna Garcia Swisher have a cute little thing going. It’s eccentric and quirky, but as we’ve seen with “Community” the quirkiness might not bring in great ratings.
3. "The Mindy Project" (premieres Sept. 25, 9:30pm ET on NBC)
Moving on from “The Office,” Mindy Kaling is the creator, executive producer and star of the new comedy. She plays a successful Ob/Gyn with a not-so-successful love life. Chris Messina plays opposite Kaling as her lovable jerk co-worker who might be exactly what she needs.
The Verdict: Move over, Zooey Deschanel, Mindy Kaling is the new “New Girl”! She’s quirky, cute and adorkable but with some sass and wit (if you follow her on Twitter you know she’s full of some great one-liners). It’s great to see Kaling shine on her own after appearing on “The Office,” and Chris Messina has done well recently in the films “Celeste and Jesse Forever” and “Ruby Sparks.” The two seem to have great chemistry from the previews and the show will most likely charm our pants off.
4. "The Neighbors" (premieres Sept. 12, 9:30pm ET on ABC)
The Weavers move from New Jersey to the suburbs hoping that their neighbors are nice and normal. Unfortunately that isn’t the case. There’s something off about their neighbors and they almost seem like they’re in a cult. In reality, they’re aliens.
The Verdict: It’s just too out there. Neighbors who are aliens? Really? The concept doesn’t look good on paper and it doesn’t seem to translate well into a TV show either. This one’s headed towards a quick cancellation.
5. "Partners" (premieres Sept. 24, 8:30pm ET on CBS)
The creators of “Will and Grace” bring us this new sitcom about two best friends, Louis (Michael Urie) and Joe (David Krumholtz). Their friendship is tested when Joe gets engaged to Ali (Sophia Bush) and Louis starts dating Wyatt (Brandon Routh).
The Verdict: Let’s face it, at one time or another there have been times when your best friend and your boyfriend/girlfriend have clashed. That’s what makes “Partners” a relatable story with an interesting twist. The chemistry between Urie and Krumholtz is crucial for the show to work, and it looks like it will. We’ve seen Urie shine in “Ugly Betty” and he is just as entertaining in “Partners.” This is definitely a promising sitcom to watch, especially for fans of “Will and Grace.”
6. "The New Normal" (Tuesdays, 9:30pm on NBC)
From “Glee” and “American Horror Story” co-creator Ryan Murphy, “The New Normal” revolves around David (Justin Bartha) and Bryan (Andrew Rannells), a gay couple who wants to have a baby. In search of the perfect surrogate they find Goldie (Georgia King), a single mom who puts her dreams of being a lawyer on hold.
The Verdict: Like “Glee,” the show has some great one-liners coupled with heartwarming moments. Bartha, Rannells and King are all charming and work well together, but some characters may be too stereotypical. Rannells’ character Bryan is the stereotypical flamboyant gay man, but the problem is with Ellen Barkin’s character Nana, Goldie’s grandmother and a prejudiced woman who throws insults left and right. Of course she is intended to be the most hated character on the show, but the caricature might repel some viewers.
7. "Malibu Country" (premieres Nov. 2, 8:30pm ET on ABC)
Reba McEntire plays a woman who moves from Nashville to Malibu after leaving her cheating country singer husband. Now in Southern California she tries to rekindle her music career.
The Verdict: Remember Reba McEntire’s old sitcom "Reba"? This is the same thing, but in Malibu, and worse. It’s just sad that comedy legend Lily Tomlin got dragged into it.
8. "How to Live With Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life" (premieres January 2013 on ABC)
Sarah Chalke plays single mom Polly who moves back in with her eccentric parents Elaine (Elizabeth Perkins) and Max (Brad Garrett). Polly and her parents have very different takes on parenting and they clash trying to raise Polly’s daughter Natalie together.
The Verdict: We’ve seen Sarah Chalke’s comedy skills in “Scrubs,” and with funnyman Brad Garrett and the scene-stealing Elizabeth Perkins this cast just might work. The dynamic between Chalke’s uptight Polly and her too-laid-back and sexually experimental parents has shown some funny moments in the previews that will hopefully stay constant through the entire show.
9. "The Family Tools" (premieres January 2013 on ABC)
Jack Shea (Kyle Bornheimer) has been screwing up his whole life but he finally has a chance to prove himself when he takes over the family business after his father (J.K. Simmons) has a heart attack.
The Verdict: Skip it. Sadly there doesn’t seem to be anything remotely interesting or funny about this show.
10. "Ben and Kate" (premieres Sept. 25, 8:30pm on Fox)
Ben (Nat Faxon) and Kate (Dakota Johnson) are two siblings who are exact opposites. Ben is a big kid in a grown man's body while Kate is focused on getting her life together as a single mom. Together they raise Kate's daughter Maddie and try to help each other out with their life problems.
The Verdict: It looks promising. It’s heartwarming and somewhat funny, and the little girl is adorable. But hopefully Ben, as lovable as he may be, will not get too annoying. Ultimately it's a feel-good show that just needs to be a little funnier.
11. "Guys With Kids" (premieres Sept. 26, 8:30pm on NBC)
You’ve got the single dad (Jesse Bradford), the working dad (Zach Cregger) and the stay-at-home dad (Anthony Anderson) each dealing with their own problems that vary from finding a babysitter to changing dirty diapers.
The Verdict: As we’ve seen with last summer’s box office flop “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” people just don’t find guys with kids that funny. The show might be relatable with some ha-ha moments at first, but the jokes will get old. This isn’t anything we haven’t already seen before.
Reach staff reporter Megan Singson here.