Rachel Strange

NBC’s new comedy Abby’s, about a backyard bar tended and owned by the incredibly likable Abby, isn’t perfect. But if it can work out its kinks before it gets canceled, it will be a great show. The pilot itself was honestly only fine. It reminds you of the shows it’s supposed to. Shows that have laugh tracks and a lesson that can be learned and put into practice by the time 30 minutes is up. It's honestly the kind of program many adults grew up watching in the evenings with parents or maybe on Nick at Night in the summertime. But so far there is nothing overtly original or new about Abby’s. So in spite of the stacked cast that includes Natalie Morales as the title character, Neil Flynn (The Janitor from Scrubs) and frequent New Girl guest star Nelson Franklin, it all feels perfectly ordinary.

So I wasn’t 100 percent sure I was going to go back for seconds, but the good cast and that easy feeling of nostalgic, comforting, predictability brought me back in for episode two which somehow snuck up on me. I really enjoyed each of these characters as they fell into their obvious role. Seeing Neil Flynn as the wise sage rather than the rude bully was something I had no idea I wanted so badly And the chemistry among the cast is slowly developing in the way that all ensemble comedies should. I’ve not watched this Thursday’s episode yet, but I find myself surprisingly looking forward to it showing up on my Hulu queue.

And yet, there’s still something missing. The show does a great job filling the void that currently exists regarding good traditional half hour comedies, but like all lasting, great shows, Abby’s will have to discover what makes it special. Like other, now extremely well loved, comedies before it, Abby’s hasn’t gotten there in its first couple of episodes. Maybe it will come with time. Maybe NBC will cancel it before it has the chance to do so. But I’m personally hoping that Abby’s teaches a whole new generation some tidy sitcom lessons.

Strange Perspective is a weekly look at all things pop culture by Progress columnist Rachel Strange.