ABC’s ‘The Neighbors’ Is No ’3rd Rock From the Sun’

This year, no new sitcom was met with as much disdain as ABC’s The Neighbors. The half-hour comedy is about a New Jersey family that moves into a gated community entirely populated by aliens. The premise, though definitely weird, isn’t problematic. How could it be when sitcoms like Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie are beloved and, more recently, we’ve seen just how funny a modern, high concept sitcom can be with FX’s dark, surreal comedy Wilfred? No, the real problem with The Neighbors is that it is all premise and never says anything important or even remotely compelling about real life, which all of the best fantasy and sci-fi shows do. To me, 3rd Rock from the Sun is the gold standard when it comes to alien sitcoms. Sure, My Favorite Martian, Mork & Mindy, and Alf are all treasures and important parts of the proud alien sitcom tradition but 3rd Rock was
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