The Neighbors

Channel Guide - Large

This year, no new sitcom was met with as much disdain as ABC’s The Neighbors. The half-hour comedy is about a New Jersey family that moves into a gated community entirely populated by aliens. The premise, though definitely weird, isn’t problematic. How could it be when sitcoms like Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie are beloved and, more recently, we’ve seen just how funny a modern, high concept sitcom can be with FX’s dark, surreal comedy Wilfred? No, the real problem with The Neighbors is that it is all premise and never says anything important or even remotely compelling about real life, which all of the best fantasy and sci-fi shows do. To me, 3rd Rock from the Sun is the gold standard when it comes to alien sitcoms. Sure, My Favorite Martian, Mork & Mindy, and ALF are all treasures and important parts of the proud alien sitcom tradition but 3rd Rock was able to take its implausible concept—four aliens visiting Earth to study the planet’s customs while trying to blend in with the human population—and present a meaningful and timeless mediation on the human experience. What’s more, this was achieved through broad humor (there was so much screaming on that show), which is pretty amazing.

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Channel Guide - Large

“Why just watch when you can feel?” That was the question ABC Entertainment Group President Paul Lee put to advertisers while pitching next year’s lineup at the network’s upfront presentation. Those are awfully grandiose words for someone affiliated with The Bachelor and Dancing with the Stars (both returning next year), don’t you think? The shows that apparently weren’t living up to this lofty guiding principle: GCB, Missing, The River, Cougar Town, and Pan Am. Cougar Town is moving to TBS where they don’t care about feelings, and there’s been an outpouring of support from GCB fans, with people signing petitions to save the show, so there were some feelings, but I guess it was too late. No one seems too worked up about the other cancellations, though, so Lee got it right. The emotion stirring returning shows include Last Man Standing, Happy Endings, Modern Family, Scandal, Once Upon a Time, Revenge, and America’s Funniest Home Videos. ABC recently released trailers for its new series and here are a few of the more interesting ones. But how well they fit with the network’s new philosophy is a little confusing.

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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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