by Matthew Thompson
No comedies made the cut last time I did my TV Show Power Rankings, so I thought I’d do a whole set just for them this go around. Just as before my Power Rankings are a “what have you done for me lately” kind of thing, so these have generally been my favorites in 2015 with an extra emphasis on how they have been even more recently. Well here it goes!
1. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
This is the 30 Rock successor I needed in my life. It is the style of humor and the rapid pace with which Kimmy Schmidt dispenses jokes that reminds me most fondly of 30 Rock, but with familiar faces popping up throughout the first season and even a similar score, it is hard to not think of Fey and Carlock’s last show while watching this one. And yet the premise and lead help it stand out as a show with brilliance all its own. I can’t say enough good things about Ellie Kemper’s turn as Kimmy Schmidt. She is perfect in the role and I hope she gets some recognition come awards season. Also kudos to Jon Hamm for his excellent work in an important guest spot. Simply put, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a must-watch.
Favorite Joke: This burn from Kimmy: “Hey Xan, 2090 called. You’re dead, and you wasted your time on Earth.”
2. Brooklyn Nine-Nine
In what is probably a pretty good indication that there has been a changing of the guard in terms of television comedies in recent years, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is the elder statesman among this week’s top five and yet is only in its second season. While I’m of the mind B99 hasn’t been quite as good as it was back in Season 1, it remains consistently funny week in, week out. Of the recent episodes, the wedding one was my favorite. The whole cast was good from the back and forth between Jake and Amy to Holt’s skills at wedding speeches to Rosa accidentally spooking the groom-to-be. But most of all I loved it for bringing out the best in Gina who has been a little underutilized this season. She had too many killer lines to recount that episode.
A Memorable Holt Line: This one about pictures: “If you love someone, you’ll remember what they look like.”
3. Man Seeking Woman
There is nothing on TV quite like FXX’s Man Seeking Woman. This absurd take on the dating world will be relatable to anyone who has tried their hand at it in their twenties recently and yet the way they present it all is just so creative and imaginative. Here you’ll see set-ups turned into horror movies. You’ll see mom’s inquiries into the new girlfriend taken to military levels of interrogation. There are sex aliens and Japanese penis monsters and destination weddings in hell. The latest episode even flipped the script for an episode to take a look at things from a woman’s point of view. Not everything works, but at its best it’s as funny as anything on TV and at its worst it’s at least interesting. Man Seeking Woman is worth a look just for how unique it is, but also for how hilarious it can be.
Funnier Than It Should Have Been: My brother has a running joke about getting his groomsmen swords at his wedding which made Josh and Mike’s sword shopping trip extra hilarious for me.
Black-ish was one of this past Fall’s surprise hits for me and it continues to bring the laughs on Wednesday nights. Over the course of the series so far, it has really found the right balance between race-related humor and broader family comedy, filling a nice niche in my sitcom schedule. It has been particularly strong in its two latest episodes. All the bagging in “The Dozens” whether it was from Andre Jr. at school or Dre and Charlie at work was excellent. And “Parental Guidance” was one of the show’s best outings. The return of Lawrence Fishburne was especially welcome. I’d love to see him in the show more often because he has just been pure gold each and every time he shows up. Though both of Dre and Bow’s parents brought a lot to that episode.
Favorite Joke: When it is brought up that he can’t swim and the Earth is 75% water, Dre has the perfect response: “Well, that leaves me 25%. I ain’t greedy.” The delivery on that last sentence was perfection.
5. The Last Man on Earth
Like Man Seeking Woman, The Last Man on Earth gets bonus points for the original concept. Post-apocalyptic shows aren’t all that rare on television, but comedic takes on it sure are and this show makes the most of this unique premise to create some really uproarious situations. And as the title of the show would suggest, the cast is very small which also helps it stand out among its comedy contemporaries. The freedom of being the only person around allows Phil (played by Will Forte) to do some highly entertaining things. Dark humor abounds, but I also like that The Last Man on Earth doesn’t shy away from the loneliness of Phil’s situation. It is another great new show worthy of your time.
Best Bit: Anytime Phil shot out a glass window or door with a gun just to pass through it cracked me up. Him changing his mind about Castaway was pretty great too.
That will do it for this set of TV Power Rankings. What have been your favorite comedies lately? Anything I overlooked? Let me know in the comments below. I have another set of Power Rankings planned for the end of March, so be on the lookout for them. Thanks for reading!