You might have noticed that this new Fall TV season has been… how you say… sucky. That’s especially true in the comedy department. It’s especially cruel since we lost so many good TV shows this year and as a replacement we got… Dads. What’s even worse is that really good shows, like Super Clyde with Rupert Grint, didn’t even get picked up. It would be easy to just give up on the future of television completely, but fear not! There are plenty of comedies in development from very funny people. Every other day there’s a report that someone great is producing or writing or starring in a pilot. We’ve put together a list of some of the most promising options. Here’s hoping that 2014 brings us some great shows to make up for this year’s suckage… and that those shows actually get picked up.
1-2. DINKS and The Mason Twins from Casey Wilson and June Diane Raphael
These two are BFFs and writing partners who wrote this year’s indie comedy Ass Backwards. They recently signed a deal with ABC Studios to write a show called DINKS (Double Income, No Kids) that will star Raphael. They also sold a show to NBC called The Mason Twins about 30-something fraternal twins who end up living together. Yay to funny ladies writing for TV!
3. Mulaney from John Mulaney
SNL writer John Mulaney developed a multicamera comedy called Mulaney with NBC that didn’t end up getting picked up by the network, but Fox swooped in and gave it a series order. The show’s loosely based on Mulaney’s life as an aspiring comedian. The show also stars Martin Short and will be executive produced by Lorne Michaels. Yay for comedy justice!
4. People in New Jersey starring Sarah Silverman and Topher Grace
Silverman and Grace are starring alongside Patti Lupone in this new half-hour comedy pilot from HBO that’s being directed by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids and The Heat) and executive produced by Lorne Michaels. Silverman and Grace will play adult siblings, and Lupone will be their mom. That’s some serious star power, so hopefully it’ll work out.
5-6. Two Untitled Projects from Tina Fey
Tina Fey is returning to TV and it feels so good! She’s producing two projects for NBC. The first is being written by 30 Rock writer Colleen McGuinness and will be a workplace comedy about a young woman looking for her father who finds a new home on Fire Island. The second show, which got a series commitment from Fox, is about a women’s college that accepts men for the first time, and it’s being written by another 30 Rock alum, Matt Hubbard. If Tina Fey approves, I’ll watch.
7. Slide Show from Steve Carell
Steve Carell may no longer be Michael Scott, but he’s not gone from TV for good. He’s producing a new unscripted series called Slide Show, and Fox has picked up eight episodes. The show, based on an international series, will pit two teams of celebrities and comedians against each other in showdowns involving song and dance and sketches. And the set is also tilted at a 22.5-degree angle. Sounds like Hollywood Game Night crossed with Wipeout. I’ll give it a whirl.
8. How and Why from Charlie Kaufman
Charlie Kaufman is known for writing cerebral comedies like Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and he made his directorial debut with Synecdoche, New York. Now he’s writing, directing and executive producing a half-hour comedy pilot for FX called How and Why about a guy who knows a lot about nuclear reactors but is “clueless about life.” It’s bound to be weird and witty, so I look forward to it.
9. Welcome to Sweden from Amy Poehler and Greg Poehler
Tina Fey’s BFF and Golden Globes partner Amy Poehler is developing a comedy for NBC with her brother Greg based on his real life story about a New Yorker who falls for a Swedish woman and follows her to Sweden. Greg Poehler will play himself and Amy will executive produce and make appearances. The show was originally commissioned for a Swedish network and will be shot partly in Stockholm. Interesting stuff!
10. The Younger Man from Justin Long
Justin Long is co-writing and possibly starring in a new comedy for NBC about an optimistic man married to an older woman and raising a teenage son while facing judgment from the people around them. The show is being co-written by Justin’s brother Christian and Office alum Graham Wagner. I’m just glad it doesn’t have the word “cougar” in the title.
11-13. Stuck, The Revengers and Girls Without Boys from Rashida Jones
Look out, Rashida Jones is taking over television. She’s sold three pilots to three different networks. Stuck, for Fox, is about a woman whose daughter becomes her boss. The Revengers (formerly Ladyballs), for the CW, is about a sporting goods store targeted at ladies. Girls Without Boys, for ABC, is about an all-girls school. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like Jones will be starring in any of these, which is especially painful since she’s leaving Parks and Rec.
14. More Time With Family from Ben Affleck and Matt Damon
Yep, these two are venturing into TV comedy. CBS ordered a pilot produced by the pair which focuses on a man who gives up his on-the-road job to spend time with his family, but that’s not exactly what they were asking for. It’ll be interesting to see what an Affleck-and-Damon-produced comedy is like. Only iffy part is that it’s for CBS. Blegh.
15. Untitled Project from Issa Rae
Issa Rae is known for her successful webseries The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, and now she’s developing a comedy with HBO with similar themes. Rae will star and is co-writing with Larry Wilmore (a correspondent on The Daily Show, among other things). Could this be the new Girls?
16-17. Freelancers and And Lies I Tell My Daughter from Zooey Deschanel
She brings her adorkable self to New Girl every week, but Zooey Deschanel is also doing things behind the camera. She and her producing partner Rivka Sophia Rossi have sold two projects, one to Fox and one to NBC. Freelancers is about a lawyer who has to start over at age 30 and interacts with weird freelancers in a shared office space. And Lies I Telly My Daughter is based on a column on Deschanel and Rossi’s site Hellogiggles. I’m sure both shows will be very quirky and lovable, just like Zooey.
18. Growing Ivy from Susan Sarandon and Eva Amurri Martino
Susan Sarandon and her daughter Eva Amurri Martino are developing a show for NBC about a workaholic woman who invites her eccentric mom to move in with her. Martino is co-writing and Sarandon will executive produce. And they’re also both starring in it. Hurray for mother-daughter teams!