I have a phobia about the fall TV season. I fear getting hooked on a fun, quirky, intelligent new show, just to have the rug pulled out from under me when it's cancelled after four or five episodes. It's happened so many times before: "Covington Cross," "Firefly," "Flash Forward"...a lot of the time now, I just don't watch a new show until it's been renewed for a second season. That's when I feel like it's safe to start watching - I can catch up on NetFlix during the summer.
So far, this strategy works for me. I missed the first season of "Lost" but was able to catch up in time for season 2. And I didn't watch "The Event" or that dinosaur time-travel show from last year, so I didn't get my heart broken when they were cancelled.
But this season, I started watching "The Neighbors," an odd little sitcom about a family who moves to a condo development in the Jersey suburbs, only to find everyone else in the neighborhood is a space alien. It's like "Mork & Mindy" for the 21st century.
I didn't expect to like the show so much. It seems like a standard family sitcom formula: pretty mom, clueless dad, smart-mouthed kids. But when you add the aliens, it changes everything. The condo development is an enclosed colony, and when the first human family moves in, the aliens' attempt to fake human interaction is hilarious - starting with the fact they all have names of athletes. (The colony leader is Larry Bird, his wife Jackie Joyner-Cursee, and their kids, Reggie Jackson and Dick Butkis.)
I don't know why this show works, but it does. It makes me laugh out loud every episode, something I can say about very few sitcoms. ("Big Bang Theory," "New Girl," and sometimes "How I Met Your Mother" and "Two Broke Girls.") So please start watching it. I'm not ready for it to go away yet.