Splitsider’s Summer Comedy Preview: TV

This is the first Louie-less summer since Louis C.K.’s acclaimed FX series began, but there’s plenty to look forward to this May-August as a lot of high-profile shows are coming back and some promising new shows on the way too. Of course, the biggest deal amongst this summer’s batch of new and returning series is Arrested Development’s return on Netflix later this month with a 15-episode fourth season. Despite the much-hyped Arrested Development reunion, there’s plenty of other exciting stuff to watch too, including a new series from Christopher Guest, the launch of Fox’s late night Saturday animated block ADHD, and the returns of Childrens Hospital, Whose Line Is It Anyway?, NTSF:SD:SUV, and Comedy Bang Bang. Read on for a guide to all the new comedy coming to your TV over these next few months.

May 12th:

Family Tree

Writer/director Christopher Guest’s first project in seven years, Family Tree is a co-production between HBO and BBC 2 that’s scheduled to have an eight-episode run beginning next week. Starring Chris O’Dowd (Bridesmaids) as a guy who starts researching his ancestry after getting dumped and fired, the series also features appearances from Bob Odenkirk and Christopher Guest regulars like Michael McKean, Fred Willard, Ed Begley Jr., and Christopher Guest himself.

Sundays at 10:30pm on HBO

May 20th:

The Goodwin Games

Originally planned for midseason, Fox pushed its sitcom The Goodwin Games back until it ended up on the summer schedule. Starring Scott Foley, Becki Newton, and T.J. Miller, Goodwin Games follows a trio of estranged siblings who, reunited by their father’s death, must adhere to his wishes in order to inherit his $20 million. The show was created by How I Met Your Mother team Carter Bays, Craig Thomas, and Chris Harris. While the show seems like it has the makings of a hit, Fox’s decision to burn it off during the summer is a strange one and means there’s probably not much of a chance at renewal.

Mondays at 8:30pm on Fox

May 23rd:

Save Me

Like Goodwin Games, Save Me is a show NBC ordered for midseason but inexplicably didn’t air at midseason and instead opted to give a summer burn-off. Starring Anne Heche as a woman who has a near-death experience and then believes she can talk directly to God, Save Me is another series that looks like it doesn’t have a shot at renewal before it’s even aired.

Thursdays at 8pm on NBC

June 10th:

Deon Cole’s Black Box

One of two new TBS shows from producer Conan O’Brien this year (the other being Pete Holmes’s untitled post-Conan talk show in the fall), Deon Cole’s Black Box gives Conan writer/actor a full half-hour to himself. Ordered for a first season of six episodes, Black Box finds Cole sharing his take on pop culture and current events.

Mondays at 10pm on TBS

July 27th:

Animation Domination High Def

Fox is launching a new Adult Swim-esque late night block on Saturday nights late this summer. Called Animation Domination High Def (or ADHD), the lineup features shows like Axe Cop, based on the comic of the same name that was created by a five-year-old; High School USA!, a show about an upbeat high school created by Dino Stamatopoulos; and a show from New York-based twin comedy duo the Lucas Brothers. We’ll see if ADHD can compete with late night juggernaut SNL come the fall.

Saturdays from 11pm to 12:30am on Fox

May 26th:

Arrested Development

Easily the most anticipated comedy event of the year – if not the decade – is Netflix’s resurrection of Arrested Development for a 15-episode fourth season. After seven years away, AD returns for a season where each character has their own episode (or two episodes). Guest stars like Henry Winkler, Liza Minnelli, and Carl Weathers are returning, with new ones like Kristen Wiig, Conan O’Brien, and the Workaholics guys set to pop up too.

All episodes debut midnight May 26th on Netflix

June 2nd:

The Venture Bros.

The long-awaited return of the Adult Swim animated action/comedy Venture Bros., after nearly three years without a new episode, is finally happening this summer. Season 5 picks up with a one-hour season premiere taking place right where Season 4 left off, with an impressive roster of guest stars (Aziz Ansari, Paget Brewster, Wyatt Cenac, Kevin Conroy, Bill Hader, John Hodgman, Gillian Jacobs, Kate McKinnon, Tim Meadows, J.K. Simmons, and Brendon Small) set to appear throughout the season.

Sundays at midnight on Adult Swim

June 6th:

The Greatest Event in Television History

Last year, Adam Scott created an 11-minute TV special for Adult Swim called The Greatest Event in Television History, in which he and Jon Hamm recreated the title sequence to the cheesy ‘80s detective show Simon & Simon, shot for shot. Scott is coming back this summer for another one-off special, recreating a different cheesy TV show’s opening credits, with Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz joining him this time around. While Adam Scott is keeping it a mystery what TV title sequence they’re doing this year, a Splitsider commenter seems to have guessed it already.

June 6th at midnight on Adult Swim

June 19th:


Comedy Central last month decided to cancel Futurama, the second time in the show’s on-again, off-again 14-year run that it’s been canceled by its network. The show’s final 13 episodes premiere next month – unless another network or Netflix decides to save it from doom again. Says Matt Groening, “We would love to continue. We have many more stories to tell. But if we don’t, this is a really great way to go out … I think these episodes are the best ones we’ve ever done … It’s a really satisfying ending. It’s an epic ending. If indeed it’s the ending.”

Wednesdays at 10pm on Comedy Central

July 12th:

Comedy Bang Bang

Scott Aukerman’s excellent IFC show returns for a second season this summer with a whopping 20-episode order from the network. Once again joined by sidekick and one-man band Reggie Watts, Aukerman is at the center of a new season that looks chock-full of fun stuff and exciting guest stars, as you can see on Scott Aukerman’s Tumblr.

Fridays at 10pm on IFC

July 16th:

Whose Line Is It Anyway?

This summer, the CW network is resurrecting short-form improv extravaganza Whose Line Is It Anyway? for a new run of Drew Carey-less episodes. Aisha Tyler will be filling Carey’s shoes as host with Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie, and Wayne Brady coming back and being joined by a guest performer each week. Get ready to watch the CW network for the first time, comedy people!

Tuesdays at 8pm on CW

July TBA:

Childrens Hospital

The new season of Rob Corddry’s 15-minute Adult Swim faux-medical drama Childrens Hospital is taking a pretty ambitious turn: it’s all taking place in a hospital on a U.S. military base in Japan. Here’s Adult Swim’s description of the new season, which contains some spoilers (in case people care about spoilers for a silly show like this):

Childrens Hospital returns for its fifth season to find the doctors relocated to a pediatric clinic on a U.S. Army base in Osaka, Japan. With the loss of recently murdered co-worker Dr. Blake Downs still fresh in their minds, the doctors find that life in Japan tests their solidarity in ways it has never been tested before. Conflicts arise with everyone — from the Army bureaucracy to the Yakuza — in a series of new adventures that include a star-studded USO show, a wine tasting held during an operation, a chaotic “old fashioned” day where modern medicine is forbidden and the closing of Ward 7 for patients’ imaginary friends. The tension culminates in an explosive two-part season finale, in which the doctors are thrust onto the front lines of an enemy attack.


Paul Scheer’s crime procedural parody NTSF:SD:SUV is back for a new season this summer too, paired up with Childrens Hospital on the schedule once again. New cast member Karen Gillan joins veterans Scheer, June Diane Raphael, Brandon Johnson, Kate Mulgrew, Martin Starr, and Rob Riggle for the season, which will include the return of the Time Angels, a flight on Comic-Con Air, and conclude with a TV movie NTSF:SD:SUV:London, which is being shot in the UK with guest stars like The Mighty Boosh’s Julian Barratt and Look Around You’s Peter Serafinowicz.

For a look at the summer’s new comedy movies, check out our handy guide.

Splitsider’s Summer Comedy Preview: TV