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Summer TV Preview: 20 New and Returning Comedies Worth Watching

IndieWire's guide to Summer 2017 TV comedies includes some long-awaited returns (like "Broad City" and "Insecure") and a few promising new entries.

“I’m Sorry” (truTV, July 12)

Andrea Savage’s comedy about family, showbiz, and L.A. families is the latest installment in a fruitful genre of industry-adjacent comedies. But like other shows like better things, it is a series that benefits from being a singular vision. With a bevy of comedy guest stars, this will still be a show that comes firmly from Savage’s point of view. Plus, it’s part of an emerging truTV slate that is home to some of the most exciting new comedies around.

“Idiotsitter” (Comedy Central, June 10)

Idiotsitter Season 2 Jillian Bell Charlotte Newhouse

When “Idiotsitter” first dropped in January 2016, Jillian Bell and Charlotte Newhouse’s debut season was a hilarious, smart, and ridiculously fun odd couple comedy. Gene (Bell) and Billie (Newhouse) formed a compelling team with a classic yin & yang relationship built around one’s genuine attempt at education and the other’s equal desire to screw off and party. It’s a simple but effective formula, and they took it to surprising new heights in just 10 episodes. Now, they’ve got 10 more, and the tutor/pupil duo is heading to college.

READ MORE :If Comedy Central’s ‘Idiotsitter’ is Half as Funny As Talking to Its Creators, It Could Be the Funniest Show on TV

“Insecure” (HBO, July 23)

Yvonne Orji and Issa Rae in HBO's "Insecure"

Yvonne Orji and Issa Rae in HBO’s “Insecure”

Anne Marie Fox/HBO

Issa Rae’s HBO series hit the airwaves last fall and signaled the arrival of an instantly recognizable, fresh new TV voice. The show was able to blend the romantic and professional anxieties of L.A. life, adding a personal spin to a familiar premise – plus one of the most honest depictions anywhere of a friendship – including its ups and downs – between two African-American women. Season 1 left some of the consequences of some drastic Issa decisions still up in the air. We’re excited to see what new surprises (and spontaneous raps) she has ready for us in Season 2.

“Playing House” (USA, June 23)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNJ-gIhUa2s

Lifelong best friends Maggie Caruso (Lennon Parham) and Emma Crawford (Jessica St. Clair) have made a family together – just the two of them and Maggie’s baby Charlotte. They’ve been through a series of wacky (mis)adventures, including an unforgettable Kenny Loggins concert. The story of friendship and love has been a heartwarming balm for fans of the series, and this season, it will hit home even more. Art imitates life when the show’s stars draw from their real-life friendship yet again. St. Clair’s battle with breast cancer has been written into the upcoming season and will be sure to be an inspiration to BFFs everywhere.

“South Park” (Comedy Central, August 23)

South Park Season 20 Episode 9 finale

Cartman. Wherefore art thou, Cartman? In its 20th season, Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s iconic animated series was thrown into the post-election hellfire with just four episodes left in its 10-episode arc. It’s hard to blame them for being unprepared, given that everyone was taken aback by the result, too — and without a looming deadline or a pre-determined story in place. Now, the brilliant comic minds have had a year to take in the new world and prepare a fresh satirical examination of America via the innocent lens of its children. We have lost faith in a lot of things over the last seven months, but we have not lost faith in Cartman.

READ MORE: ‘South Park’ Finale Review: A Post-Funny Era of Satire Is Not What We Need Right Now

“There’s… Johnny!” (Seeso, August 24)

Tony Danza in “There’s… Johnny!”

Seeso

Long before the late night wars, there was one king: Johnny Carson. Seeso’s new seven-episode series “There’s… Johnny!” promises to be a treat for TV junkies interested in late night’s first golden age. The show centers on 19-year-old Andy (Ian Nelson), who arrives in Hollywood from Nebraska and ends up as a gofer at Carson’s “The Tonight Show.” The fictional look back at Carson and company also stars Jane Levy, Tony Danza, Roger Bart, and T’keyah Keymah. Paul Reiser, who was an NBC star in the late 1980s (“My Two Dads”) just as Carson’s reign there was coming to an end, created and wrote the series with David Steven Simon (“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”). Hey-o!

“The Tick” (Amazon, August 25)

The Tick

There have been several incarnations of the absurdist blue-suited hero, all of which hold a fond place in our hearts — but this one seems particularly well-suited to today’s flood of super-powered characters. After all, it’s hard to imagine The Tick (as played by Peter Serafinowicz) ever blending into the background. The Amazon Studios reinvention, headed up by original creator Ben Edlund, promises a slightly more grounded take on the six foot tall figure of mystery, but his battle cry remains the same: “SPOOOOOOON!”

“Wrecked” (TBS, June 20)

This “Lost” parody, which had an immediate in with a niche audience, grew to become an intriguing asset in the evolving TBS lineup. Fronted by Rhys Darby and the rest of a talented ensemble, the show by its nature will have to evolve from the small-scale castaway drama that powered much of Season 1. But if we’ve learned anything from the first batch of episodes, it’s that even on a remote desert island, there still plenty of room for absurdity to break through.

“Younger” (TVLand, June 28)

As the TV Land series enters its fourth season, it’s about time that Liza’s (Sutton Foster) secret — that’s she’s actually 40, not 28! — gets blown in a big way. Only her younger ex-boyfriend Josh (Nico Tortorella) and best friend Maggie (Debi Mazar) have been in the know, and judging from the Season 4 trailer, work gal pal Kelsey (Hilary Duff) also found out, and it seems to have heartbreaking results. Everyone is sleeping with the wrong person, and it doesn’t seem that anyone will make it out of this unhurt or blameless. While “Younger” has never hit the pop culture heights of “Sex and the City,” its still has Darren Star’s hilarious and stylish stamp to it. The world of publishing has never been sexier or punnier, and its ability to highlight or spoof literary trends is a gift for any bibliophile. It’s no wonder that big-name guest stars like Kristin Chenoweth are dropping by this season to join in on the fun.

“Zoo” (CBS, June 29)

Josh Wolk, “Zoo”

CBS

Technically, “Zoo” does not belong on this list. As far as CBS sees it, the series based on the James Patterson novel about a world under siege when the animals rise up against the humans is an hour-long drama. But as many TV critics have observed, “Zoo” is maybe one of our finest comedies, with the second season including insanity beyond description. While there’s always a chance that Season 3 will sober up, this has always been a show we admired for its drunkenness.

TOMORROW: Summer TV Preview: 20 New and Returning Dramas Worth Watching

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