Scoop: Fall’s Breakout TV Hits — Watch ’Em

Top 3 shows to follow

By Courtney Hazlett
|  Thursday, Oct 22, 2009  |  Updated 11:30 PM CDT
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Top 3 Best Fall Breakout TV Hits

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Chevy Chase doesn't disappoint in "Community."

The fall television season is only a little more than a month old, but the breakout hits are becoming painfully obvious. And with sweeps just around the corner, shouldn’t you know what those shows are? Or at least some of them?

The following three shows are the ones I’m talking about to the point my friends’ ears are bleeding. So today, their auditory nerves get a break, and you get my top three picks:

‘Modern Family,’ ABC
Ever watch a series’ pilot episode years after its original airing? For the most part, it’s an excruciating experience, one that leaves you marveling at the fact the show ever lived to see an order for the back half. Watch the “Modern Family” pilot, and you’ll be amazed at how fantastically tight the show is straight out of the gates.

The style borrows from mockumentary, but the story lines unfold more organically than you’d expect, and the characters are exceedingly well developed. Take this exchange between Claire, played Julie Bowen, and her husband, the feckless but loveable Phil, played by Ty Burrell:

Claire: I was out of control growing up. There. You know, I said it. I just don't want my kids to make the same bad mistakes I made. If Haley never wakes up on a beach in Florida half naked, I've done my job.

Phil: Our job.

Claire: Right, I've done our job.

Seeing the exchange in print barely does the exchange justice, so know this: I feel like if I were to shake my DVR when “Modern Family” is inside, pieces of funny would fall out. It’s worth the watch.

‘Community,’ NBC
If someone out there knew Chevy Chase and Joel McHale had complementary comedic chemistry, please come forward. You need to explain yourself. The duo’s timing and their different approaches to comedy results in a unique, un-bromance relationship. The McHale/Chase combo plays out in a more unexpected and quirky, modern-day Laverne and Shirley sort of way. And they’re complemented by character actors who don’t engage in the “he/she who acts the most, wins” game that plagues so many shows with ensemble casts.

Because it airs in such close proximity to “The Office” and “30 Rock,” “Community” is unfairly maligned by the folks who aren’t fans of those shows. If you fall anywhere near the ZIP code where this bias resides, please, give “Community” a chance.

‘Glee,’ Fox
“Glee” is getting so much love, it almost seems cliché to add to it. But at the risk of the show going the way of an “American Idol” contestant who gets voted off because everyone assumed that they were just fine, herewith: It’s campy, it fulfills everyone’s secret fantasy of justifiably bursting into situationally appropriate song, and, even Neil Diamond like it. From his Twitter: “Hey, so who’s this guy Puck singing ‘Sweet Caroline’ so good, so good, so good on #Glee? Loved it!!”

If memory serves, there was, not long ago, a lot of talk about the sitcom being dead. No. It’s Not. It’s right there, it’s good and it’s on your television now, so watch it. Please and thank you. 

Weekend box office outlook: horror-ble
When you’re thisclose to Halloween, you really can’t go wrong releasing a horror flick ... especially one from the “Saw” franchise. “Saw VI” opens in more than 3,000 locations, and even though sequels numbers two through five have made less money with each release, the franchise has loyal followers. “Saw IV” will do well, even though some of the audience might find its way to “Paranormal Activity,” which should have another substantial weekend. The biggest competition will come from “Astro Boy.” Animated, family friendly and in more than 3,000 locations, it will draw a huge crowd, but not as sizeable as “Saw IV.”

Courtney Hazlett delivers the Scoop Monday through Friday on msnbc.com. Follow Scoop on Twitter @courtneyatmsnbc

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