Each decade brings with it a fresh list of situation comedies, or sitcoms, that reflect the humor of the era.
The 1950s brought us the straightforward but zany antics of comedienne Lucille Ball in “I Love Lucy.” During the 1970s the public enjoyed the good-natured squabbles between the semi-bigoted Archie Bunker and his hippie son-in-law “Meathead” in “All in the Family.” And “Seinfeld,” a show that was literally about nothing and featured standup comedian Jerry Seinfeld, was the big hit of the 1990s.
The venues changed as well. They went from radio to network television, and later to cable TV, and have finally evolved into internet streaming services.
Here are Newsmax’s picks for the best new sitcoms introduced during the 2010s.
1. “Veep” debuted in 2012 on HBO and follows the misadventures of Selina Meyer, a fictional United States vice president portrayed by Julia Louis-Dreyfus (formerly of “Seinfeld” fame).
Rebecca Nicholson described “Veep” as “masterful comedy packed with the darkest of zingers” in her April review for The Guardian.
“As can sometimes be the way with ‘Veep,’ I greatly admire its speed, wit and vicious eye for the sheer ridiculousness of the many awful situations it presents,” Nicholson wrote, adding, "and am simultaneously just a little bit relieved when each episode is over."
2. “Last Man Standing” stars comedian Tim Allen as Mike Baxter, an executive at a Denver-based sporting goods company. It’s centered, for the most part, on the conservative Baxter’s home life with his wife and three daughters. According to Plugged in, Baxter is also “on a crusade to help men get a little more … manly.”
“Last Man Standing” premiered in 2011 on ABC, but despite high ratings and popularity it was cancelled after its sixth season. It was picked up by Fox’s entertainment division in 2018, which has since renewed it for the next season beginning January 2020.
3. “Parks and Recreation” was the brainchild of Greg Daniels and Mark Schur, who also created the hit sitcom “The Office,” which premiered during the previous decade. “Parks” aired on NBC and followed the workings of the Pawnee, Indiana Department of Parks and Recreation.
Rotten Tomatoes gave “Parks and Recreation” a 92 percent Tomatometer rating, and a 91 percent average audience score.
4. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” airs on NBC and follows the comedic goings on at the fictional 99th precinct in Brooklyn, much along the lines of the 1970s to 1980s “Barney Miller.” In February the network approved a seventh season of the series, scheduled to begin on Feb. 6, 2020.
Rotten Tomatoes gives “Brooklyn Nine Nine” a 97 percent Tomatometer rating and a 94 percent average audience score.
5. “Schitt's Creek” is a Canadian sitcom that had its United States debut in January on Pop TV. Prior to its U.S. release, it enjoyed numerous Canadian accolades, including 18 Canadian Screen Awards.
It centers on the fictional and formerly wealthy Rose family, which lost its fortune and moved to Schitt's Creek. This is their last remaining asset, which is a small town the family bought for their son as a joke.
“It's ‘Real Housewives’ meets ‘Modern Family,’” writes one viewer, calling it both “brilliant” and “hilarious.”
6. “Louie,” written, produced and starring comedian Louis C.K., is similar to “Seinfeld” in that the lead character essentially plays himself. “Louie” was released on FX in 2010 and centers on the messy life of an edgy standup comedian who’s also a divorced dad.
After receiving glowing reviews, “Louie” received fading viewership.
“One wonders how long CK will be allowed to make a show that has done so much to expand the increasingly stale US sitcom,” wrote Ian Sinclair for The Guardian in 2014, before Louis C.K was accused of sexual misconduct. “Its loss would be a tragedy.”
7. “Orange is the New Black” is more correctly a comedy-drama series that premiered on Netflix in 2013. It centers on thirties-something New Yorker Piper Chapman, who was sentenced to 30 months in a minimum security prison for transporting a suitcase full of drug money. The crime occurred 10 years before her arrest and trial, which disrupted her then-current crime-free life and pending marriage.
Rotten Tomatoes gave “Orange” a 95 percent Tomatometer rating, based on 55 critic reviews, and a 92 percent audience score, based on 2006 audience ratings.
8. “New Girl” premiered in 2011 on 20th Century Fox Television, and centers on the sweet but naive twenties-something Jessica "Jess" Day’s efforts to deal with relationships and career choices after she leaves her philandering boyfriend to share a loft apartment with three single men. Think of it as a kind of “Three’s Company,” but in reverse.
During the course of its seven-season run, “New Girl” evolved from "simply adorkable" to "sitcom gold," according to AV Club.
9. “Documentary Now!” is a new subset of sitcoms, called a mockumentary, which premiered for the 2015 season on IFC (formerly known as the Independent Film Channel). The series spoofs the style of famous documentary films with each episode introducing a similar, but fictitious, subject matter.
After poring over 29 critical reviews, Rotten Tomatoes awarded “Documentary Now!” a 90 percent on the Tomatometer, and a 95 percent on the audience score, based on 322 audience reviews.
10. “Community” followed an ensemble cast of characters at a community college in the fictional town of Greendale, Colorado, and it aired on NBC and Yahoo! Screen. It’s the creation of Dan Hamon and was based on his own community college experiences.
The first three seasons were well received, but prior to the fourth season Harmon was fired from the series. It received lackluster reviews after the firing, proof that sometimes it’s best to leave success alone.
Accordingly, it was the subject of a review in The Guardian, headlined, “When good TV goes bad.”
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