The Thursday night lineup on NBC is set for more laughs this year, with the new Outsourced joining mainstays Community, The Office and 30 Rock.
NBC comedies need to build up all the strength they can, with star Steve Carrell leaving his role as Michael Scott in The Office at the end of this season. The Office was getting back to what it does best, pranks and goofy office marketing, in the season premiere.
The second episode finally had some reconciliation for Paul Lieberstein’s Toby, who Scott has hated throughout the series.
In mandatory counseling sessions, Toby finally reaches Michael. It was one of Carell’s best performances.
Outsourced is about an American novelty company that moved its call center to India to cut costs. Manager Todd Anderson must move with his center or lose his job.
The show focuses on cultural differences, and the pilot is certainly worth watching. Look for the show to improve each week, as the character nuisances become more defined. The second episode was already better than the first.
Community was a breakout hit for NBC last year. The clever show about community college students brought in Betty White for the first episode. She even sang during the credits.
Other networks are bringing back their comedy standbys. CBS still reels in viewers week after week with Two and a Half Men.
Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother also return. These two shows don’t get the viewers Men does, but they do very well in younger, more educated viewers.
ABC’s sophomore comedy Modern Family is also looking to return to its comedic geniuses. The show won an Emmy this year for Best Comedy. The first and second episodes were as good as ever.
Over at Fox, it’s dangerous to follow shows that aren’t animated, chock full of singing, or focused on paranormal events.
If Fox ever gets its hand on a cartoon about alien-investigators who also are in a show choir, perhaps it could outlast the Simpsons.
Glee is still dominating Tuesday nights, as it even held top spots on iTunes single downloads for a while. It has recorded 34 Billboard Hot 100 songs already this year. Unfortunately, the singing – does autotune count? – is more important to fans than plot lines.
The people behind Arrested Development are showcasing Running Wylde on Fox Thursday night.
Will Arnett stars are a businessman who is in love with his childhood sweetheart, who is also an environmentalist. Her daughter, Puddle, narrates. The pilot left much to be desired, especially compared to Development.
If network TV still isn’t enough, FX’s late night shows are back as well. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The League represent some raunchier comedy on cable. The League follows a group of Fantasy Football fanatics as they compete together. Youtube star Jon Lajoie plays Taco, an unemployed musician.
Television comedy looks good this year, but many shows are probably not worth following. Hulu.com is currently running episodes from NBC, ABC and Fox the day after airing. The best overall this season to date are Modern Family, The Office, Community and, hopefully, Outsourced.