The Best of Fall Television 2012 – The Comedy

The fall television season is by far the season for television fans. For the most part, television’s best shows air in the fall and it makes sense. The weather outside if frightful and all of that. Why not curl up in front of the television with a blanket and a cup of hot chocolate and stay nice and cozy? From new shows to returning favorites, there is plenty to keep an eye out for in terms of comedy on television for fall 2012. The first list focuses on the best new comedies for fall 2012 that seem promising while the second list focuses on the best television comedies for fall 2012 that we already know and love. Don’t worry drama and reality television fans. We’ve got you covered too. Make sure you come back tomorrow for our picks for the best television dramas for 2012 and the best reality shows for fall 2012. For now, let’s talk laughs!

Comedy – New Contenders

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10: Guys with Kids

Airs: Wednesdays at 8:30pm on NBC
Premiere Date: September 26, 2012
I’m nervous about this one for many reasons. First and foremost is the fact that while NBC chose to bring out Animal Practice and Go On during their Olympics coverage, Guys with Kids was not given the chance to capitalize on that audience. Does the network have less faith in this one? At the same time, I do have a bit of hope as Jimmy Fallon is credited as one of the creators and the cast is pretty promising. This one focuses on 30 something dads who are having a bit of trouble adjusting to their new roles because in their hearts, they’re still children themselves. I think it could be interesting. Plus, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Tempest Bledsoe, Anthony Williams and Jesse Bradford are on board and I love those guys. Yes, cautiously optimistic is probably the best way to put my feelings for this one.

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09: The Neighbors

Airs: Wednesdays at 8:30pm on ABC
Premiere Date: September 26, 2012
The Neighbors is getting a lot of early hate and I’m not entirely sure why. It’s not the best new comedy for fall 2012 but it’s got serious potential. The problem with ABC is that it has a tendency to pick up very similar types of comedies and not everyone is in to that kind of comedy. From what I’ve seen, this one is going to take a little getting used to but with a little patience, I think it could really pay off. The show is set in Hidden Hills, a gated community in New Jersey. The Weavers move to town only to find their neighbors aren’t actually human. Instead, they’re aliens stranded on earth waiting to find a way home. Sound a little, um, out there? It definitely is but I think that’s what makes it so appealing. There is nothing else like it on television. My biggest concern though is that this will wind up being a little too out there. I’m cautiously optimistic but definitely giving it a chance.

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08: Ben and Kate

Airs: Tuesdays at 8:30pm on Fox
Premiere Date: September 25, 2012
At first glance this one seems a little, um, cliché, shall we say? Ben and Kate are siblings. Kate is a single mother working as a bartender but things aren’t easy. She’s struggling to make ends meet so Ben decides he’ll move in with Kate to help out. Here’s the twist – they’re total opposites! Never before in the history of television have we seen this crazy, zany premise! Except, ya know, we have. Several times. What makes this one different? The cast is great and the show really seems to have its heart in the right place. I am a little concerned about the familiar plot but I think it could be done well. Early reviews are fairly mixed but I’m holding out hope with this one.

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07: Malibu Country

Airs: Fridays at 8:30pm on ABC
Premiere Date: November 2, 2012
I love Reba McEntire so this one is pretty exciting for me. I have to wonder whether or not the network is really behind it though. It’s stuck this brand new show behind failing Last Man Standing on Friday nights. That just isn’t a good sign. With that said, I actually really do believe this one could be good. In Malibu Country, Reba plays (surprise!) a country singer who has moved to Los Angeles to try to boost her career after things don’t exactly go smoothly for her at home. Will this show be a total trainwreck? Impossible! It has Reba so no matter how bad the rest of it is, Malibu Country will at least have that going for it.

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06: Emily Owens, M.D.

Airs: Tuesdays at 9pm on The CW
Premiere Date: October 16, 2012
Yeah, I’m not so sure about this one, mainly because I view it as a threat to my beloved Hart of Dixie. At the same time, the show does have some pretty big things working in its favor, namely Mamie Gummer. First, yes, she’s Meryl Streep’s daughter. Second, who cares? This young lady is talented and I can’t wait to see how she does fronting her own show. In this one, a young misfit, played by Gummer attempts to leave the drama of her school years behind her and start over in her new medical career. As a first year doctor, though, she soon finds that the high school mentality doesn’t always stay in high school. In all honesty, it couldn’t be more different from Hart of Dixie. While both shows feature attractive female leads playing doctors who don’t quite fit in, the similarities end there. Let’s not pit them against each other, okay?

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05: Animal Practice

Airs: Wednesdays at 8pm on NBC
Premiere Date: September 26, 2012
Although the pilot has already aired for this Justin Kirk fronted sitcom, the second episode doesn’t air until September 26. While I get NBC’s rationale there (capitalizing on the Olympics audience), it still seems a little poorly thought out. It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve seen the pilot but thankfully, I think Animal Practice is worth the weight. Yeah, yeah, yeah – it’s silly but once you get passed the general ridiculousness of the monkey in the lab coat, you’re actually rewarded with a pretty good comedy. I love Justin Kirk though, so you may want to keep that in mind when you consider my endorsement of this one. It is still very rough around the edges and I think it’ll be a few episodes before I really feel the characters but I thought the pilot was entertaining enough to convince me to tune in again.

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04: Partners

Airs: Mondays at 8:30pm on CBS
Premiere Date: September 24, 2012
Brandon Routh! Brandon Routh! BRANDON ROUTH! I’m a little excited about this one. Perhaps you can tell why. I freaking love Brandon Routh but I am a little concerned about the general premise behind this sitcom. Basically, we have two guys; lifelong friends. These two guys are architects. These two guys form a business partnership. One of the guys is straight, one of them is gay. Hilarity ensues? This show will be most successful if they approach the gay/straight relationship thing like Will and Grace did. That show was never really about Will being gay, although his sexuality was never avoided. Instead, it was about his friendship with Grace. Since Partners was created by the same team that created Will and Grace I have pretty high hopes and I’m fairly certain I won’t be let down.

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03: The Mindy Project

Airs: Tuesdays at 9:30pm on Fox
Premiere Date: September 25, 2012
Last year, I had very high hopes for Zooey Deschanel’s New Girl but I wasn’t entirely thrilled with what New Girl actually turned out to be. I’ve often wondered if it would’ve been possible for the show to live up to my impossibly high expectations. I’m worried about The Mindy Project being a repeat of that this season. I love Mindy Kaling. I love her a lot. I’m trying to keep my expectations for this one in check. In it, Mindy stars as an OB/GYN who is just a little bit obsessed with finding Mr. Right. She also happens to be a little more than a little out to lunch. Sounds promising but I’m waiting to get really excited about it until I’ve seen the pilot.

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02: The New Normal

Airs: Mondays at 9:30pm on NBC
Premiere Date: Already airing
Here’s the thing about The New Normal. I wanted to love it and I didn’t hate it but it wasn’t quite as spectacular as I thought it would be. This is number two on my list because it does have real potential. This show could easily cross the line into being more preachy than entertaining but thus far, the show has struck a real balance between the two. The basic premise is pretty unconventional and is really what caught my eye about this one, even more than Justin Bartha (who I love) and Ryan Murphy (who I also love). Two gay men in a long term, committed relationship decide to have a child. They hire a surrogate to carry the baby. The problem? The surrogate has a bit of an overbearing mother. Imagine her as The New Normal’s Sue Sylvester. The characters do need a bit more time to grow and develop but if the show continues the way it’s going, I think patience could really pay off.

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01: Go On

Airs: Tuesdays at 9pm on NBC
Premiere Date: Already airing
This isn’t just the best new comedy on the air, folks. This is the best comedy on the air, period. The winning formula hear is equal parts hilarious situations and real human emotion. Matthew Perry does some of his finest work to date on this one, playing his dramatic scenes every bit as realistically as his comedic scenes. Matthew Perry stars as Ryan Knight, a charismatic sports radio personality who joins a support group to try to cope with the loss of his wife. It might not sound like the recipe for comedy, but sometimes humor comes from a dark place. With a more than capable supporting cast backing up a phenomenal performance from Perry, Go On isn’t just a home run – it’s a grand slam.

Comedy – Returning Champs

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10: How I Met Your Mother

Airs: Mondays at 8pm on CBS
Premiere Date: September 24, 2012
I was just about done with How I Met Your Mother but last season really pulled me back in. People like to say that the whole mother question has been drawn out too long. Those people clearly don’t get the show. It isn’t really about the mother. It’s about the friends. Obviously. Next season is probably going to be a lot like last season and the season before that and the season … well, you get my point, but as long as the show continues being entertaining, I’ll keep watching. Do I want to know who the mother is? Sure, but I’m enjoying the ride more than the mystery.

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09: Parks and Recreation

Airs: Thursdays at 9:30pm on NBC
Premiere Date: Already airing
There is just so much good comedy on this fall, I couldn’t bring myself to bump my beloved Parks and Rec up higher than number nine. This show really needs to be watched and watched by a whole lot of people. With Community and 30 Rock entering their final, shortened seasons, I can’t stand the thought of losing Parks too. This season, the show opens in Washington, DC. I’m not sure I could think of a more ideal setting. I can’t wait to see where season five of this tragically underrated sitcom takes us.

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08: Modern Family

Airs: Wednesdays at 9pm on ABC
Premiere Date: September 26, 2012
There’s nothing about this show I don’t absolutely adore. The cast is fantastic. The writing is whip smart. Everything about it works. Now in its fourth season, this is one of the few comedies on the air that retains its wit and charm as it progresses. By the third season, the novelty of many shows has started to wear off but not this one. I credit that to the writers and the excellent cast they have to work with. I don’t expect anything less than perfection from its fourth season. The only problem? When you set the bar so high, it’s pretty hard to maintain a certain level of excellence. Somehow though, I don’t imagine that becoming a problem.

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07: 30 Rock

Airs: Thursdays at 8pm on NBC
Premiere Date: October 4, 2012
I’d like to put this one higher on my list but I have to admit, last season was really lacking in a lot of ways but more than that, there are some seriously great comedies on this fall. I still love the cast and I still love the writing but I think shortening the season and calling it a day was the right way to go. I’m excited to see what happens in the show’s final season. There are a lot of ways this could go. Even though last season was probably my least favorite season to day, 30 Rock remained on of the best comedies on television. I hope it gets a fitting send off.

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06: Don’t Trust the B**** in Apartment 23

Airs: Tuesdays at 9:30pm on ABC
Premiere Date: October 23, 2012
I know some people have had pretty mixed reactions to Don’t Trust the B**** but I really don’t get why. I hesitantly watched the pilot fearing James Van Der Beek’s role, but I was surprised in the best possible way. Funny, smart and a little bit sleazy, this show is everything 2 Broke Girls wishes it could be. Is it over the top? Yes, of course it is, but that’s what makes the show so appealing. I have never been a James Van Der Beek fan but this show has changed that in a big way.

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05: Big Bang Theory

Airs: Thursdays at 8pm on CBS
Premiere Date: September 27, 2012
Earlier I spoke of how Modern Family is one of the few shows that consistently turns in great episodes. Big Bang Theory is the only other one that immediately pops into my head. In fact, in my opinion, this show has only gotten better with age. The characters have grown and developed. Their relationships have developed. While it’s tempting to say Jim Parsons’ Sheldon is the star of the show, I can’t imagine the whole thing working without Johnny Galecki, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyer or Kaley Cuoco. When last season ended, Helberg’s Howard was a married man headed into space. It’ll be interesting to see where we head in season six.

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04: Hart of Dixie

Airs: Tuesdays at 8pm on The CW
Premiere Date: October 2, 2012
Is Hart of Dixie funnier than Big Bang Theory? No, but I really, really want people to start watching it. If this show doesn’t get picked up for a third season, I’m going to be utterly crushed. I say this before season two even starts because I know it’s going to be fantastic. I have faith in Hart. While maybe not as sharply written as shows like Big Bang Theory and Don’t Trust the B****, the soapy allure of the show is its real strength. There’s drama. There’s romance. There’s a real continuing story that draws you in. This isn’t your traditional sitcom and I think that’s what I like most about it.

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03: Suburgatory

Airs: Wednesdays at 9:30pm on ABC
Premiere Date: October 17, 2012
Suburgatory was by far one of my favorite new comedies last season and I could not be more excited to see it return. I love the characters, I love the plot (even though we’ve all seen it before) and I love the larger than life way the suburbs were shown. This is a very tongue-in-cheek show and I enjoyed that. I loved the relationship between father and daughter because it didn’t feel glossed over. Instead, it felt very real and very authentic. With all that said, I can’t describe the heartbreak I felt when Jane Levy’s Tessa made the decision to move out of her father’s home. It was a beautiful scene in a series not necessarily known for its emotional impact.

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02: Community

Airs: Fridays at 8:30pm on NBC
Premiere Date: October 19, 2012
Community’s final, shortened season will definitely be a bittersweet event. I will be incredibly sad to see this one go. At the same time, I’m glad NBC at least gave Community fans a final season (albeit a shortened one) so that the show can have a worthy sendoff. I don’t like the move to Fridays and I don’t like that we only get thirteen episodes but they’ll be thirteen glorious Fridays and it’s far better than the nothing it looked like we’d get. It’s hard saying goodbye to something you love but at least we have a little warning so we have time to prepare ourselves to mourn our loss.

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01: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Airs: Thursdays at 10pm on FX
Premiere Date: October 11, 2012
While it was hard to rank the rest of this list, there was never a doubt in my mind about what should would end up at number one. It’s Always Sunny is without a doubt my absolute favorite comedy on television. It’s so over the top all of the time and there is absolutely no depth to the characters. These are horrible, horrible people and, somehow, that works. When It’s Always Sunny returns, I hope for more of the same. We don’t need growth and development from the gang. We love to hate them just as they are. This season has promised to offer up Sweet Dee, the online gaming addict and the gang doing a little community service by helping to settle a garbage man strike. What could possibly go wrong?

1 COMMENT

  1. I agree, there are a lot of great comedies to watch this fall. My personal favorite is Malibu Country. I can’t usually watch it live because I work late at DISH on Fridays, but I catch it on my DVR. Malibu Country is set to auto-record on my DISH Hopper along with the other big four prime time network shows using Primetime Anytime, so I never have to worry about missing an episode even if I forget to set a timer. It’s a great, lighthearted comedy. I definitely recommend it to those who haven’t seen it yet.

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