Television Reviews: ABC Family Sitcoms

As I eat my lunch today, I’m thinking about the sitcoms I watched last night on ABC (this is a follow-on to last week’s review). Some worked, some didn’t. Some improved, some didn’t. I’d like to share my musings, and hear your opinions.

  • Hank” is a new sitcom starring Kelsey Grammer as a downsized executive moving back to small town Virginia. The various reviews of it I read yesterday (example) didn’t like it, primarily because they found it predictable, and hated the traditional sitcom style with a laugh track. I disagree. I liked the traditional style (I actually abhor the new “documentary” style of shows like “The Office”, which I find hard to watch). I also found the writing reasonable. At points it was predictable, but not at the level of painfully predictable (e.g., the level where you walk away because you know it will be bad). I enjoyed it, and will try it again next week.
  • The Middle” portrays Patricia Heaton as an overstressed housewife in Indiana (which they claim is the middle of the US) dealing with the usual dumb husband and obnoxious teens. No laugh track. I also found this humerous, and think it has the potential to last as the characters are well drawn and played well. It also has some clever approaches to presentation, and isn’t afraid to portray the series star in a less-than-flattering light, if it brings out a laugh. Again, this is a watch again.
  • Modern Family”. This was the 2nd episode of this sitcom: I watched it last week, and didn’t like how the characters were stereotyped. I liked it even less this week. This one had painful predictability: father gets son bike, cautions son to take care of it, walks along street and sees similar bike leaning against lightpole, unlocked. Father decided to teach son lesson. While taking that bike home, gets waylaid by pretty woman locked out of her house. Leans bike against tree while helping her… you can see where this goes as well as I. Other incidents were similarly badly played. I hope this one gets replaced.
  • Cougertown”. This was also the 2nd episode of this sitcom, and was actually an improvement over the 1st. Aspects of the “crude” were toned down, and the supporting characters were built up to a usuable level. The situational humor was good, and it explored the issues of older mother dating in a much less painful manner than does “Old Christine” on CBS, which I find painful to watch. I’ll try this one again.

For some reason this year, I’m not enticed to watch new dramas. Perhaps it is because I don’t want more hour-long shows on the TIVO, perhaps I’m less in the mood for dramas. I am curious what new shows this season you are watching, or what returning shows you think are either improving or declining.