The best sitcom episodes of the last 25 years (part 1)

The television sitcom underwent a renaissance in the mid-to-late 1980s, shocked back to life by the likes of Cheers, The Cosby Show, Murphy Brown, and Newhart. While those series worked within the multi-camera confines of ’70s success stories from MTM Enterprises and the Norman Lear factory, other, woolier programs…

The hole in the middle: 16 shows whose lead characters are their least interesting

1. WKRP In Cincinnati, Andy Travis
Building a television ensemble is a tricky proposition. There must be enough outsized characters to keep the laughs (or the drama) coming, but the show also has to stay grounded. To manage this balancing act, shows often end up building around a down-to-earth lead who acts as…

Arrested Development: “Indian Takers”/“The B. Team”

Erik Adams: Noel, at the end of our conversation about “Flight Of The Phoenix” and “Borderline Personalities,” you mentioned that you were eager to see if this fourth season of Arrested Development would “do anything meaningful with its commentary on the intersections of business, government, and religion.” Well, here…

Upfront updates: NBC has a good feeling about these J.J. Abrams and Jason Katims kids

After deciding yesterday that it was quite finished with anyone tied to that stuffy old Office that it’s finally shuttering next week, NBC’s pilot pickups are heading in a fresher, more untested, tied-to-hits-with-only-one-or-three-seasons-under-their-belts-ier direction. Deadline reports that Believe and About A Boy,…

Supernatural: “The Girl With The Dungeons And Dragons Tattoo”

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Tonight’s episode is devoted to restarting the Dick Roman/Leviathan plot and getting it up to full speed now that we’ve only got three episodes left to tie it up with a bow. In the opening scenes, Bobby tells the boys that he understands that they’ve had to take the eye off the ball lately because they’ve been so busy…

Better Off Ted, “Racial Sensitivity”

The Better Off Ted episode “Racial Sensitivity” sports an ingenious premise: Mega-corporation Veridian Dynamics has decided to save money at its home office by installing sensors that will switch off the power whenever nobody’s in a room, except that there’s a glitch in the system that keeps it from recognizing people…

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