Former "Saturday Night Live" cast member Fred Armisen and rock 'n' roll guitarist Carrie Brownstein first cracked up audiences as the internet sketch-comedy duo ThunderAnt. That led to this absurdist series set in Portland, Ore., that gently pokes fun at the laid-back Pacific Northwest city and the many eccentric characters that call it home. Among the many recurring guest stars on the series are Ed Begley Jr., Jeff Goldblum, Natasha Lyonne, Kumail Nanjiani and Kyle MacLachlan, who plays Portlandia's mayor.
"Saturday Night Live" compatriots Fred Armisen, Bill Hader and Seth Meyers serve as creators, executive producers and writers of this IFC original series, using their love of documentary films and combining it with comedy to present a unique take on the form. Hosted by Dame Helen Mirren and starring Armisen and Hader, each episode is shot in a different documentary film style, paying tribute to some of the most important stories that didn't actually happen. "SNL" creator Lorne Michaels also executive produces "Documentary Now!", and guest stars include Jack Black and John Slattery.
Every workplace is a family. But for Katie, a producer at cable news network MMN, it goes one step further when her mom, Carol, is hired as an intern. That's just scratching the surface of this slightly offbeat team, which includes old-school newsman Chuck and hip millennial Portia, the two co-anchors who only get along when the cameras are rolling. Then there's Greg, the young, ambitious but uptight executive producer, and Justin, the laid-back video editor and voice of reason for this oddball crew. Together, they may be a little dysfunctional, but that won't stop them from doing what they do best: breaking the news.
Leslie Knope, a midlevel bureaucrat in an Indiana Parks and Recreation Department, hopes to beautify her town (and boost her own career) by helping local nurse Ann Perkins turn an abandoned construction site into a community park, but what should be a fairly simple project is stymied at every turn by oafish bureaucrats, selfish neighbors, governmental red tape and a myriad of other challenges. Leslie's colleague Tom Haverford, who delights in exploiting his position for personal gain, is as likely to undermine her efforts as to help her, while her boss, Ron Swanson, is adamantly opposed to government in any form, even though he's a bureaucrat himself.
Accomplished actors Dianne Wiest and James Brolin star as the heads of a large, happy family, in which each member is approaching different milestones. Their eldest daughter, Heather (Betsy Brandt) and her husband consider having another child as they get closer to an empty nest; middle child Matt (Thomas Sadoski) thinks he has found true love; and the youngest of the three siblings, Greg (Colin Hanks) is overwhelmed after having his first child with his wife. Various perspectives are employed as each family member's story unfolds.
Dre Johnson (Anthony Anderson) has it all: a great job, a beautiful wife, Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross), four kids and a big home in a classy neighborhood, but as a black man, he begins to question whether all his success has brought too much cultural assimilation for his family. With the help of his father (special guest star Laurence Fishburne), Dre begins to try to create a sense of ethnic identity for the members of his family that will allow them to honor their background while preparing them to embrace the future.
The husband-wife team of Jason Jones and Samantha Bee, longtime correspondents on "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," executive produce a comedy series inspired by their own experiences with family vacations. Jones stars as Nate Parker, who plans an adventure of a lifetime -- a road trip to Florida -- with wife Robin and their young kids, rebellious daughter Delilah and simpleton son Jared. Packed in cramped quarters, the 1,300-mile journey soon detours into disastrous territory as the family encounters one hellish turn after another. Subsequent seasons see the Parkers make detours to New York City and Alaska, among other adventures.
Upon first look, "Comedy Bang! Bang!" is like any late-night talk show... until the guests sit down and the interviews commence. Then it veers off in all sorts of directions, most of which include unfiltered and improvised dialogue. The show is based on host Scott Aukerman's popular podcast of the same name (and most certainly influenced by the Internet mock-talk show "Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis," which Aukerman produced and directed). In each episode, Aukerman reinvents the traditional celebrity interview by engaging his guests in ad-libbed banter, all of which is punctuated by beats from "bandleader" Reggie Watts or, in later episodes, "Weird Al" Yankovic.