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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014

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In Arts & Entertainment Commentary

Liz Lemon and the gang finally start their new season at 8:30 p.m. Thursday on Channel 4.

In Arts & Entertainment Commentary

ABC's "Modern Family" has helped make Wednesday nights funny.

In Arts & Entertainment Commentary

CBS "Accidentally on Purpose" proves that not all the new comedies are keepers.

OnMedia: The happy return of the sitcom


A quarter-century ago, it was "The Cosby Show" that resurrected the failing sitcom, making it a dominant TV genre through the 1980s and the "Seinfeld" '90s.

But every few years since "Seinfeld" went off the air in 1998, there have been new claims of the death of the sitcom -- especially since the rise of cheaper "reality" shows.

Well, this new TV season is proof that the half-hour comedy is alive and well on the traditional broadcast networks, with ABC giving early pickups to three of its Wednesday night comedies, with one real keeper in the bunch: "Modern Family."

NBC offers a new Thursday night entry, "Community," which deserves a full-season pickup. It's the best use of Chevy Chase's talents in decades.

The new comedies join a list of mature sitcoms that still provide laughs. NBC's "30 Rock" makes its long-awaited return at 8:30 p.m. Thursday on Channel 4 . CBS' "How I Met Your Mother" and "Big Bang Theory" have both developed nicely over the seasons.

Not all the new comedies are gems. CBS has brought back Jenna Elfman as a 30-something newspaper movie critic (now, there's a job with a future) who gets pregnant after a one-night-stand with a younger guy on Monday night's "Accidentally on Purpose."

Hilarity always follows an unplanned pregnancy.

Speaking of hilarity, what's making you laugh this season? And what comedies just aren't working for you?

ON TV: In addition to the digital channel shuffle that hit today, Time Warner is adding some channels. Channel 4's digital subchannel 4.3, TheCoolTV, is available at Channel 994 for digital subscribers.

  • While we're on the subject, Time Warner has added rebroadcasts of Channel 12 newscasts to its Wisconsin On-Demand Channel 411. They'll be posted a couple hours after airing and be available or a week. Rebroadcasts of Channel 4 newscasts are also available on Channel 411.
  • ABC has ordered a full-season of its Thursday night "FlashForward," which has been doing well against CBS' latest run of "Survivor."
  • The Hollywood Reporter says that despite low rating, high DVR numbers for Fox's "Dollhouse" assure that the entire 13-episode second season will run. Thanks to baseball, it's back Oct. 23.

TV NEWS' TOUGHEST CRITIC: Regular viewers of Comedy Central's "Daily Show" now that faux anchor Jon Stewart is as harsh a critic of TV news as you'll find.

On Monday's show, Stewart took off after CNN for fact-checking a "Saturday Night Live" skit on the president's accomplishments -- or lack of them. That led into a rip on CNN for failing to use its 24-hour-a-day schedule to actually fact check the facts offered by some of the folks it interviews.

The funny -- and pointed -- bit follows below.


Talkbacks

CoolerKing | Oct. 15, 2009 at 6:20 a.m. (report)

It's refreshing to have many of the programs mentioned. I'm fed up with all of the reality shows and talent shows.

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brewcitypaul | Oct. 14, 2009 at 1:05 p.m. (report)

Accidentally on Purpose is just a total ripoff of the movie Knocked Up. I'm shocked I haven't seen that comparison in print yet. How I Met Your Mother is probably one of the best shows around right now. But this should really be the last season with no "mother" on the cast. It's turning too into Friends with Robin and Barney now dating. Bring the mother on board and develop the storyline. Unless they want that to be the last episode.

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angelamb825 | Oct. 14, 2009 at 11:52 a.m. (report)

I LOVE "How I Met Your Mother". I can't get enough of it. This show is legend...wait for it... -ary.

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FUGITIVEMSD | Oct. 14, 2009 at 10:49 a.m. (report)

Oops! Forgot "Community," absolutely love it and all the characters. NBC's Thursday schedule is "Must See."

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FUGITIVEMSD | Oct. 14, 2009 at 10:48 a.m. (report)

Hi, Tim! So nice to see you back on a daily basis. You were greatly missed. I absolutely love the broad, randy humor of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." I discovered it into the second season; thank gooodness for DVDs from Netflix! Also, I catch up with "Entourage," "Californication," "Tara," "Dexter," and "Curb," thanks to DVDs. On the networks, "Hank" is really flat and very unfunny; very sad for Kelsey Grammer, who is also creator/writer/producer of the show. Any chance of bringing "Frasier" back? "Middle" is cute and amusing, "Modern Family," to me, is really straining..."Cougar Town," is really a chick's sitcom, but it works for me, and I'm a bachelor! "'Til Death" is better this season than the last, but not as good as the first: bring back the zany neighbors, the Woodcocks! "Brothers" has hopes, but it won't last.

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