Even though Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and all of the cable channels have made the idea of a TV season seem antiquated, we still get a mini-rush at the end of September when the broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and The CW) premiere their new and returning series each fall.
We’ve got two old sitcoms on two new networks (Brooklyn Nine-Nine left FOX for the NBC precinct, while Last Man Standing found new standing at FOX after getting axed by ABC), and one really old hit sitcom making a comeback (Murphy Brown is back on CBS).
What else is new? How about this…
The Neighborhood stars Cedric the Entertainer in a comedy about what happens when the friendliest guy in the Midwest moves his family to a neighborhood in Los Angeles where not everyone looks like him or appreciates his extreme neighborliness. Dave Johnson is a good-natured, professional conflict negotiator. When his wife, Gemma, gets a job as a school principal in L.A., they move from Michigan with their young son, Grover, unfazed that their new dream home is located in a community quite different from their small town. Their opinionated next-door neighbor, Calvin Butler, is wary of the newcomers, certain that the Johnsons will disrupt the culture on the block. However, Calvin’s gracious wife, Tina, rolls out the welcome wagon; their chipper younger son, Marty, thinks the Johnsons could be good for the community; and their unemployed older son, Malcolm, finds Dave may finally be someone who understands him. Dave realizes that fitting into their new community is more complex than he expected, but if he can find a way to connect with Calvin, they have an excellent chance of making their new neighborhood their home.
Happy Together stars Damon Wayans, Jr. in a comedy about a 30-something happily married couple who begin to reconnect with their younger, cooler selves when a young pop star drawn to their super ordinary suburban life unexpectedly moves in with them. Jake, an accountant, and his dream wife, Claire, a restaurant and bar designer, are very comfortably settled into their marriage, enjoying evenings together on the couch watching TV and scheduling time to change their outgoing voicemail message. Their tame routine gets a makeover when Jake’s client, exuberant music superstar Cooper James, arrives on their doorstep looking for refuge from the paparazzi following a high-profile breakup with his girlfriend. Jake and Claire quickly discover there’s no way they can keep up with their world-famous houseguest’s effortlessly cool, fast-paced lifestyle. Cooper, however, enjoys Jake and Claire’s more relaxed way of life, discovering that a touch of ordinary can be extraordinary for all three of them. Stephnie Weir stars as Claire’s mother, Bonnie; Victor Williams stars as Claire’s father, Gerald; and Chris Parnell stars as Cooper’s agent, Wayne.
ABC: The Kids Are Alright
Set in the 1970s, this ensemble comedy follows a traditional Irish-Catholic family, the Clearys, as they navigate big and small changes during one of America’s most turbulent decades. In a working-class neighborhood outside Los Angeles, Mike and Peggy raise eight boisterous boys who live out their days with little supervision. The household is turned upside down when oldest son Lawrence returns home and announces he’s quitting the seminary to go off and “save the world.” Times are changing and this family will never be the same. There are 10 people, three bedrooms, one bathroom and everyone in it for themselves. Starring Michael Cudlitz and Mary McCormack.
ABC: Single Parents
This ensemble comedy follows a group of single parents as they lean on each other to help raise their 7-year-old kids and maintain some kind of personal lives outside of parenthood. The series begins when the group meets Will, a 30-something guy who’s been so focused on raising his daughter that he’s lost sight of who he is as a man. When the other single parents see just how far down the rabbit hole of PTA, parenting and princesses Will has gone, they band together to get him out in the world and make him realize that being a great parent doesn’t mean sacrificing everything about your own identity. Starring Taran Killam, Leighton Meester, Kimrie Lewis, Jake Choi and Brad Garrett.
CBS: Murphy Brown
Amid a divided nation, chaotic national discourse and rampant attacks on the press, Murphy decides to return to the airwaves and recruits her FYI team: lifestyle reporter Corky Sherwood, investigative journalist Frank Fontana, and her former wunderkind news producer Miles Silverberg. Joining them is social media director Pat Patel, who is tasked with bringing Murphy and the team into the 21st century. Murphy’s millennial son, Avery, shares his mother’s competitive spirit and quick wit, and is following in her journalistic footsteps—perhaps too closely. The team still lets off steam at Phil’s Bar, now run by his sister, Phyllis. Now back in the game, Murphy is determined to draw the line between good television and honest reporting, proving that the world needs Murphy Brown now more than ever.
NBC: I Feel Bad
Emet is the perfect mom, boss, wife, friend and daughter. Okay, she’s not perfect. In fact, she’s just figuring it out like the rest of us. Sure, she feels bad when she has a sexy dream about someone other than her husband, or when she pretends not to know her kids when they misbehave in public, or when she uses her staff to help solve personal problems. But that’s okay, right? Nobody can have it all and do it perfectly. From Executive Producer Amy Poehler comes a modern comedy about being perfectly okay with being imperfect. The cast includes Sarayu Blue, Paul Adelstein, Madhur Jaffrey, Brian George, James Buckley, Zach Cherry and Johnny Pemberton.
FOX: The Cool Kids
From executive producer Charlie Day (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) and starring Tony Award nominee David Alan Grier (“The Carmichael Show,” “In Living Color”), Emmy Award nominee Martin Mull (“Veep”, “Roseanne”), Emmy Award winner Vicki Lawrence (“Mama’s Family,” “The Carol Burnett Show”) and Emmy Award winner Leslie Jordan (“Will and Grace,” “American Horror Story”), THE COOL KIDS is a multi-camera comedy about a rowdy, rag-tag group of friends living in a retirement community who are willing to break every rule in order to have fun – because, at their age, what do they really have to lose? HANK (Grier) is the leader of this motley crew, a gruff, opinionated, 21st century Archie Bunker who will go to any lengths to have a good time. His loyal, but less than helpful, friends include CHARLIE (Mull), a bumbling wanderer who constantly goes off on tangents about some bizarre, barely believable episode from his life; and SID (Jordan), a fun-loving hedonist with a flair for the melodramatic. Complicating matters is MARGARET (Lawrence), a brash, confident woman who forces her way into their group and refuses to leave because she’s not going to take crap from anyone – especially not these three. But what unites them all is their shared belief that they’re not done yet – not by a long shot. Growing old with dignity is for chumps. These self-proclaimed “cool kids” are determined to make the third act of their lives the craziest one yet.
Inspired by the comedy of Lil Rel Howery (“Uncle Drew,” “Get Out,” “The Carmichael Show”), REL is a multi-camera comedy starring Howery as a successful, hardworking father and husband on the West Side of Chicago, whose life is perfectly on track. That is, until he finds out his wife is having an affair with his own barber – the worst person for your wife to sleep with, because as hard as it is to find love, it’s even harder to find a good barber. Now separated, and with his son and daughter having moved to Cleveland with their mother, Rel must begin the difficult task of rebuilding his life as a long-distance single dad. Offering Rel support are his best friend and unfiltered sounding board, BRITTANY (Jessica “Jess Hilarious” Moore, “Wild ’N Out”), and his recently out-of-jail, excitable and overly encouraging younger brother, NAT (Jordan L. Jones, “NCIS: Los Angeles”), as well as his prideful and recently widowed DAD (Sinbad, “A Different World”, “The Sinbad Show”), who finds both his sons deep disappointments. As Rel works to repair his life, he often finds himself the victim of his own well-intentioned hubris. He is the “Icarus” of Chicago’s West Side – repeatedly flying too close to the sun and getting burned. But, ever the optimist, he always dusts himself off to try again.