OK, it’s time for a mid-course correction.
When the season started, I picked “Perfect Harmony” as the best new situation comedy. That was based on the near-perfect pilot film, with a prickly Princeton prof (well, ex-prof) taking over the choir at a small Kentucky church.
“Harmony” (8:30 p.m. Thursdays on NBC) remains a good show, but it’s no longer my No. 1. CBS’ “Bob (Hearts) Abishola” (shown here) keeps sneaking up on me in sly ways.
You can soon sample it from the beginning: After one new episode (8:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16), a string of reruns – starting with the pilot film – is coming Dec. 21, 25 and 30.
In one way, the show shouldn’t surprise me: It’s produced by Chuck Lorre, who’s done my favorite recent comedies, “The Big Bang Theory” and “Mom.”
But in another way, it does: Lorre lets each show have its own style and rhythm. “Big Bang” and “Mom” pushed hard for laughs; “Bob” doesn’t.
It has a droll, dry style. For that, we might credit show-runner Alan Higgins (who also works with Lorre on the Golden Globe-winning “Kominsky Method”), but let’s especially credit Gina Yashere.
She’s a Nigerian-born comedian who was a key addition to the show, which tries to link opposite worlds. A Detroit sock manufacturer (Billy Gardell) hopes to romance a Nigerian-born nurse (Folake Olowofoyeky).
Yashere brought quick changes – including the name “Abishola.” She also plays a nurse colleague (Kemi), was a co-writer of the pilot film, is a producer of the series and has written three of the teleplays – including the terrific one, “Ice Cream For Breakfast,” that aired on Dec. 9.
She may be responsible for the show’s special style. All of the Nigerian characters – including Abishola’s aunt and uncle – share a drolly understated approach. That works well with their accents … and links with the quiet approach that Gardell uses comfortably.
Sure, there are a few standard sitcom characters – Bob’s brother, sister and mother – but they appear briefly. Most of the time is spent on characters who disagree on many things, but are warm and immensely likable.
Give it a try. The schedule, subject to change, has:
– The show’s regular time, 8:30 p.m. Mondays. There’s a new episode Dec. 16, a holiday pre-emption on Dec. 23, a rerun Dec. 30 and then back to new on Jan. 6.
– More reruns. The original pilot is 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21. Another episode is 8:30 p.m. on