Sitcoms have been struggling since Frasier,
Friends, and Seinfeld signed
off the air during the course of the last decade, and canned
laughter has lost its appeal for many viewers.
While The Big Bang Theory (CBS) does offer
some fresh one-liners - like "We've already watched
Battlestar Galactica Season Two" and
"Not with commentary!" - it plays on expected stereotypes, in
this case, two socially challenged brainiacs who become
intertwined with their new neighbor, a slightly ditzy server
at the Cheesecake Factory. While romantic promise is there,
you're just waiting for the pocket-protector jokes to
Back to You (Fox) is equally mediocre.
Anchorman Kelsey Grammer gets demoted and transferred back to his
old Colorado station after freaking out at a coworker while on the
air in Los Angeles, and his old coanchor (Patricia Heaton) has a
grudge against him. Some peppy one-liners are marred by a lack of
real chemistry between the stars. There is a big revelation in the
pilot that may keep viewers watching, but for how long is yet to be
Samantha Who? (ABC) is undoubtedly the best
new comedy of the season, and it needs no laugh track. Christina
Applegate plays an amnesia victim who can't remember that she was a
shallow, unfaithful club girl with vapid family and friends.
Shocked at her former life, Sam quickly decides that her new blank
slate of a life has advantages, one of them being that she can
change who she was. And in this role, the endearing Applegate can
continue to buck her old Kelly Bundy image.