Stop Watching 'Seinfeld' Reruns and Try These Shows Instead

Break out of your TV rut: From New Girl to Modern Family, there are plenty of great comedies that aren't in syndication

reruns.jpg

CBS, ABC


When I get home from work each night, out of habit, I put down my bag, take off my shoes, and turn on the TV to watch a repeat of How I Met Your Mother. How I Met Your Mother is on, no matter what time I arrive home. It airs on no fewer than three different channels where I live each evening, essentially at the same time. So I watch it. Except for when I'm watching a Two and a Half Men rerun, because How I Met Your Mother has gone to commercial. Two and a Half Men airs on two different channels every evening.

Clearly, there is no shortage of modern comedy reruns to watch on TV. They are what I call "comfort food" comedies, ones you know are always there. They're not particularly exciting, but they never leave a bad taste in your mouth. You could catch an old episode of any of these shows—or Everybody Loves Raymond, Friends, Seinfeld, etc.—at essentially any time of the day. With such access, why bother watching new episodes of any series at all?

Well, because there's a lot of good new TV out there. I would know. Over the past few weeks, 23 comedy series aired their fall season, or in some cases series, premieres on the big four networks—ABC, NBC, Fox, and CBS. I watched every one of them. When I told a colleague of mine about this venture, she was thrilled. "Good," she said. "Could you please tell me what my parents should watch so they can stop sitting through marathons of Monk?" Monk, you see, was their comfort food. They didn't know what exotic new cuisine would suit their Tony Shaloub-accustomed palates. And they're not alone. TV viewership has declined dramatically in the past decade, with audiences failing to embrace new shows in the way they once did.

But with my new expertise, I can recommend that my Monk-loving friends would get a hoot out of The Big Bang Theory, for the way it mines laughs from the mannered physicality and social awkwardness of very smart people —something they might enjoy even though the comedy is a little more broad (exotic) than they're used to. And in that spirit generosity, I'd like to help others too. Of the 23 episodes of current shows that I watched, I have narrowed the field down to 12 offerings worthy of recommendation. I've also paired them each with an older series, with the idea that fans of one comedy will enjoy watching the other. Now set your Tivos and start laughing:

Presented by

Kevin Fallon is a reporter for the Daily Beast. He's a former entertainment editor at TheWeek.com and former writer and producer for The Atlantic's entertainment channel.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Entertainment

Just In