It’s sometimes easy to forget here in this Golden Age of Television, with your Breaking Bad and your Mad Men and your collection of Wire DVDs you keep forcing your friends to borrow that the medium is still, more often than not, about repackaging familiar storylines, similar characters and redundant settings. This is why there’s an endless barrage of cop procedurals and court dramas and not, say, any more Lynchian meditations about the horrors of small-town life since Twin Peaks.
Need proof? Here’s seven shows patched together from the recycling bin this fall:
Back in the Game
That ABC could lure James Caan to a sitcom is impressive. That Back in the Game’s former-softball-player-moves-home-and-coaches-her-son’s-Little League-team beat is essentially Eastbound & Downmeets The Bad News Bears meets The Hogan Family is not. ABC, 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays, premiering Sept. 25.
Will Arnett plays a reporter who gets divorced, tells his parents who then themselves get divorced, and his mother moves in with him. Just like Murphy Brown meets The Odd Couple meets The Hogan Family.CBS, 8:30 p.m. Thursdays, premiering Oct. 3.
Two video-game-making buddies have their fathers move in with them. High jinks, theoretically, ensue. Try The IT Crowd meets the all-dude Hogan Family. Fox, 8 p.m. Tuesdays, premiering Sept. 17.
Malin Akerman is a former party girl who marries into a rich family where she has to deal with his kids and ex-wives. It’s The Nanny meets Soap meets The Hogan Family. ABC, 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays, premiering Sept. 24.
The Michael Bay of TV, Chuck Lorre, offers this one about a single mom who just got sober, is raising her two kids while trying to deal with her own recovering-alcoholic mother. Or, as we like to call it, Sober House meets The Hogan Family, but if the dad were always off on his piloting trips. CBS, 9:30 p.m. Mondays, premiering Sept. 23.
From the mind of the guy who started Sh*t My Dad Says comes the tale of a military man who has to become a full-time parent when his wife goes to law school. It’s not strictly a Hogan Family retread, but itis a gender-swapped rehashing of Valerie, the pre-Sandy Duncan iteration of The Hogan Family. Fox, midseason.
In this Vampire Diaries spinoff, the original vampire family that built New Orleans returns home to suss out a plot against them. It’s Big Chill adaptation Hometown meets that one Hogan Family episode where Jason Bateman became a vampire for some reason. CW, 9 p.m. Tuesdays, premiering Oct. 3.