While the start of term isn’t the best time to hit the couch with a DVD boxset, Emmet Curtin explores the best options available – without having to revert to Home & Away.
Frasier: Psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane leaves Boston after his divorce from his wife Lilith, and returns to his hometown of Seattle. He is reunited with his brother (Niles) and father (Martin), the latter of who is forced to live with him after being shot some time before the series. Frasier begins working at KACL, working closely with his producer, Roz, and an assortment of colourful radio personalities at the station. The cast is rounded off with Daphne Moon, his father’s live-in physical therapist and caretaker. Frasier was originally conceived as a spin-off to the show Cheers (another great sitcom) and is one of the most successful spin-offs in television history. Watching the pretentious Frasier settle into his return to Seattle and his new-found celebrity status, as well as watching Niles pine after Daphne for the majority of the show’s lifetime are amongst some of the funniest moments in the show. Pretty much every episode works as a stand-alone, so just pick it up and watch it.
Spin City: Another oldie but a goodie, Spin City was co-created by Scrubs and Cougar Town creator Bill Lawrence. It follows the life of Michael J. Fox, Deputy Mayor of New York, who is in charge of the staff who run the city. The group run the city from City Hall – in charge of improving the Mayor’s image and covering up his frequent goofs and mistakes, all while trying to deal with their own personal lives. The series takes an interesting look at the American government and political issues ranging from political image to women’s rights, while still being one of the more entertaining sitcoms that you’ll find.
The Critic: If you’re looking for some good animated shows to watch but are sick of Family Guy, American Dad and The Simpsons then you should really check out The Critic and Futurama. The Critic was a short-lived show created by the show-runner of The Simpsons, Al Jean. It follows the life of Jay Sherman, a New York based film critic and his life as his strong opinions and overbearing boss often lead him into trouble. The show parodies many films of the eighties and nineties and is frequently regarded as one of the best animated prime time TV shows. It is a must watch for anyone who likes the sitcom and animated genres.
Arrested Development: You have probably heard of Arrested Development already, but in case you missed it the first time around; it is definitely worth checking out. Arrested Development is one of the best comedies of the last ten years, focusing on Michael Bluth, the centre of the Bluth family – a dysfunctional, formerly wealthy family. The series is filmed in a documentary/reality television setting, using comedy devices like cutaways and self-referencing. Despite being cancelled after failing to find a large audience, the series is due to be resurrected next year for a short fourth season, followed by a feature length movie. You should be able to find Arrested Development on Netflix if you want to watch it. If you’re only going to watch one show from this article then I would recommend this above all others – you won’t regret it any time soon.