The “Season of Comebacks” Marred With Problematic Premieres


Television has come a long way since the days of Good Times, Maude, and All in the Family. However, television has not lost its social issues orientation. Many of the show on television now, revivals included, are going to be aimed at some of the issues covered by the news. Though, it seems as though some of these shows have a much different advantage at covering these events than the news does.

To begin with the revival of Will & Grace was renewed for a second season before the first season of the revival premiered. The show, when it first premiered was known for being topical with LGBTQ related issues, as well as pop culture issues. Now the series is back and will once again delve into LGBTQ issues, but will bring out the big guns to take on President Donald Trump.

In a YouTube special last year, the cast reunited to persuade people to vote. The series dealt with the candidates in their own humorous way. After the special aired, many people thought it was meant to get people to vote for Hillary Clinton, but it was more or less to get people to vote. With a constant barrage of outlandish statements the next two telelvison seasons stand a chance at being better than every season since 2011.

2018 will see one of the biggest names in comedy make a return to the small screen with her hit series… Roseanne Barr! The show that was as blue collar as it got, Roseanne, is making a return and plans to address all of the issues that the series finale left undiscussed. For instance, the show will be explaining what happened to Roseanne’s husband, Dan, who didn’t survive the heart attack he dah in the eighth season, and what became of the Connors family in general.

Aside from television streaming shows have also taken to tackling cultural issues and assimilation. Netflix’s series One Day at a Time is a remake of the 1970s series of the same name. Instead of the show only dealing with the issues surrounding a mother raising two it now goes into a myriad of complex issues. Some of the issues aside from being a single mother, the show also goes into being a veteran dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, believing in God, and an LGBTQ family member coming out.

In dealing with all of these issues and more the show can become more of a comedy drama then the sitcom format that the show is in. Some shows however can take an approach that keeps people from having to think too hard about some jokes. Many of the new premieres for the season are doomed to fail because they happen to be so such as CBS’ 9JKL.

9JKL is based on the life of Royal Pains star Mark Feurstein. This show is about actor Josh Roberts coming back to New York City after the television series he starred in got cancelled, he divorces his wife, and is left with nothing. He moves into the same building as his parents who live in apartment 9J. He lives in apartment 9K and his brother’s family live next door in apartment 9L. The family doesn’t respect his boundaries but love him no matter what happens.

Though the series has big names such as Linda Lavin (Barney Miller & Alice), Elliott Gould (Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice and The Long Goodbye), Mark Feurstein (Royal Pains), and Liza Lapira (Don’t Trust the B in Apt. 23); it’s a series in which you can predict every episode based off the trailer and leaves little to be desired.

However, this is just what is expected from the shows that aren’t topical or aren’t dramas. The goofy shows are left to die without an ounce of dignity. Many of them suffer from underdeveloped plots and thoroughly overused ideas. Maybe that’s why television and entertainment went back to other shows for good television.

Based on the new lineup of television that is set to come for this season, NBC has decided to bring back its former Thursday night promotional block, Must See TV. Most of the premieres can be considered Should See TV because of their missing quality. Topic based television has taken over the networks and even though we should have expected this, it snuck up on us.

Former NBC shows that were based on goofy comedy such as NewsRadio and Just Shoot Me! deserve a chance at being revived to balance the topic based shows. The balance of television is fragile and must be kept intact otherwise we risk another season of one season wonders and shows with several episodes left unaired.

Topical television has become a staple of our viewing habits and manages to undermine some of television’s best comedic efforts. Sure, we should appreciate the educational value and lively discussion these shows create but at the same time, I look forward to someone repeating some crazy joke from a show to me just because it was funny, not because the subject matter was relevant to society.