After years in which TV was dominated by reality shows and procedurals, scripted comedy is back—not since the nineties have there been so many sitcoms on network TV (NBC alone is airing 10 this fall). "Last year, with New Girl, talent started feeling fresh again," says Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly. "A new voice was emerging." These up-and-comers may not rewrite the rules of comedy, but they follow them to hilarious effect.
|THE MINDY PROJECT (FOX, pictured above)||1600 PENN (mid-season on NBC)||GO ON (NBC)||BEN AND KATE (FOX)|
|WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH|
|As a single doctor and hapless, hopeless romantic trying to navigate her love life, Mindy Kaling is as endearing here as she was off-putting as the vapid, clingy Kelly Kapoor on The Office.||Bill Pullman and Jenna Elfman play a First Couple struggling to raise an off-the-wall son—The Book of Mormon's Josh Gad. Modern Family director Jason Winer directs and former Obama speechwriter Jon Lovett is an executive producer.||Matthew Perry's latest sitcom—in which he plays a sports-radio host who starts group therapy after his wife dies in a car accident—shows genuine promise. No, really.||The odd-couple formula works in this smart show about a well-meaning slacker (cult comedian Nat Faxon) who moves in with his sister (Dakota Johnson) to help raise her precocious 5-year-old.|
|THE SITCOM FORMULA|
|30 Rock + Grey's Anatomy||Arrested Development + The West Wing||The Howard Stern Show + In Treatment||Raising Hope + Up All Night|
|THE STAR TURN|
|As Kaling's straight-shooting, cynical (but ultimately caring) best friend, Chris Messina delivers the show's funniest lines in a delicious deadpan.||Gad, who could be the long-lost love child of John Belushi and Gilda Radner, was born to play this bumbling oaf.||The very qualities that made Perry so annoying in other post-Friends roles—grating sarcasm, ham-handed delivery—help him kill it as an on-air loudmouth.||Johnson. Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson's daughter shows appealing vulnerability as the single mom in need of brotherly love (a role intended for SNL's Abby Elliott).|