A few quick Monday reviews of some new US sitcoms: Single Parents, The Cool Kids and Murphy Brown

Wastes of your time

Murphy Brown

With the US Fall season now cranked up to full, there are plenty of new sitcoms hitting the screens. Unfortunately, none of them are any good; worse still, none of them really want me rambling on for a full review about them. So rather than leaving them all to WHYBW tomorrow, I’ll just do them now, instead.

Murphy Brown (US: CBS)

Latest of both the sitcom revivals and CBS’s attempts to plunder the 80s archives for remakes, this first episode sees Murphy getting the old band back together to start a new cable network morning news show to do proper news in the era of Trump, with the minor complication that her son (Limitless‘s Jake McDorman) is now a host in the same timeslot on a rival #FakeNews channel. She’s also looking for a new secretary, of course, but the first one, Hilary Clinton (that’s only one l), might not be suitable…

This was naturally never going to be particularly fresh, but this comes on the back not only of Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom, but CBS All Access’ The Good Fight, where Trump-induced liberal rage was the name of the game. So none of it feels particularly fresh and the jokes are all mere shadows of the ones that have already aired in those shows. And that’s before we get started on having an Indian guy as the channel’s social media guru – that’s practically a Dev Patel Newsroom tribute. After that, it’s jokes about how Murphy can’t use her new smart phone because she’s old (hilarious) and how Trump hires are brain dead (that’s practically a The Good Fight tribute). It would help if the show’s producers could even get Donald Trump’s Twitter handle correct, if they’re going to start making jokes about not understanding tech, of course…

It’s nice to see all the old gang back together, but I’d rather be watching a third season of Great News instead, thank you.

The Cool Kids

The Cool Kids (US: CBS)

A diverse collection of friends at a retirement community – one über-gay (Leslie Jordan), one black (David Alan Grier) and one ex-hippy who’s done everything (Martin Mull) – are mourning the loss of the fourth corner of their particular cool square, when a new, female arrival (Vicki Lawrence) comes along, and tries to join in and take his place. Before you know it, she’s shaking things up, stealing cars, getting arrested and defrauding small businesses. Oh, the larks.

It’s nice to see CBS both embracing diversity and reviving some old actors’ careers, but it would have been nice if it could have afforded jokes afterwards. Might work for old people, but probably won’t for anyone else.

UPDATE: Scratch that – it was Fox, not CBS. Don’t know why I thought it was CBS, since even the trailer has Fox on it.

Single Parents
SINGLE PARENTS – ABC’s “Single Parents” stars Devin Trey Campbell as Rory, Kimrie Lewis as Poppy, Sadie Hazelett as Amy, Grace Hazelett as Emma, Brad Garrett as Douglas, Taran Killam as Will Cooper, Marlow Barkley as Sophie, Jake Choi as Miggy, Leighton Meester as Angie, and Tyler Wladis as Graham. (ABC/Ed Herrera)

Single Parents (US: ABC)

A bunch of single parents at a school are first annoyed by but ultimately befriend a new arrival (Taran Killam) who’s gone in at the deep end and forgotten how to interact with other adults. Most interesting of them all is rich old dad Brad Garrett, who married a young ‘stripper’ thinking he only had a few years to live, but whose wife has now passed on, leaving him to bring up the kid. Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl) should be doing better things than this, but does at least manage to raise a few laughs. However, it’s Killam’s man-child who’s the centre of things, and he’s more cringe-worthy than hilarious, unfortunately.

If you have kids and have forgotten what real comedies are like, this might work for you. Otherwise, steer clear.


  • I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.