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Revisiting the 80s in Absurdist Fashion. Night Court is Back!

Night Court 2023NBC’s Night Court is back in session, and instead of giving us a series laden with nostalgia, there’s some updates to show that life has moved on for some, others stuck in a rut, and the new faces are replacing familiar ones. That is, a few members of Harry Stone’s courtroom have either retired or have passed away. Although the first two episodes don’t have the zest that the original series had, I waited for the next releases to judge if the series is solid sitcom gold or not.

So far, John Larroquatte still got it as Dan Fielding, the character he plays. He’s a far cry from the irrepressible version from long ago, and to see how he developed to that state is why I’m loving this show. Although he was really hesitant to return to working at the old haunting grounds, the new young magistrate has high hopes that he can do what his collegue from long ago could offer. Be empatic and keep people from going to jail.

In the latest, “Dan V. Dating,” he’s certainly getting challenged in more ways than one. So far, this is the best episode to date, and it suggests that this series is more about Dan than the other characters. Hopefully that’ll change as the character arcs for the others get better. This new Night Court needs to better balance the narratives between the five. I’m finding the newcomers are basically replacements of those those performers who sadly passed away. Nothing’s been said about what happened to Christine Sulliven (Markie Post) or the others. She will always be that perky ray of sunshine and Abbey Stone (Melissa Rauch) gives similiar vibes. Had she lived, I’m willing to bet the producers would have put her on the bench once again.

Even Rosalind “Roz” Russell lives on in Lacretta’s performance as Donna “Gurgs” Gurganous. Although she’s not as gruff as the previous version, long time fans will recognise the nod. Everyone else, namely Olivia (India de Beaufort) and Neil (Kapil Talwalkar) are new. Their presence gives the series a new coat of paint, as the first episode joked at, and as for how well they’ll adapt or imitate their predecessors, I really need more episodes to tell.

Overall, it’s a joy to see this series make a comeback that I really want to watch. Unlike ICarly which fizzled by episode three and that I have little interest in That 90’s show, the North American sitcom scene is only as good as those worlds which strikes a chord with the viewing public. In Night Court, the mix of humour and empathy made the 80s series special.

As for the new one, it’s still trying to find ground. At least we see Abbey attempting to fill her father’s shoes. It’s not easy given the weight that’s upon her. I’m sure there’ll be more story development in that regard where she recounts those times with dad, and she’ll try to put what was taught to her in good practise. I’ll be tuning in to see how that develops. Also, I want to see when or if the others will get mentioned somehow. I want to see the surviving cast make some kind of return.

Next to Richard Moll, a regular guest star who I truly want to see is Brent Spiner. To see how the years have treated this amusing down and out farmer, Bob Wheeler has me curious.

4 Stars out of 5

NBC’s Night Court Early Promo

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