We really should spend more time, every TV season really, talking about The Cosby Show. It was kind of amazing, and you can take out the "kind of." Which is why the news that the comedy legend who gave that show its name, its face, and a lot of its magic is returning to TV is big news indeed. And yeah, you read that right: Bill Cosby's returning to NBC. So what does that mean?
Well, for one, it means there'll be another family comedy in the mix on the networks. It also means NBC's trying desperately to rebuild what made them notable all those decades ago.
This new venture will be a family comedy much in the vein of the original Cosby Show (1984-1992) as well as CBS' later Cosby (1996-2000): It'll be a family sitcom meant to highlight Cosby's "take on family and parenting." According to Deadline he "will play the patriarch of a multi-generational family" and According to what Cosby told Yahoo! TV this past fall, he and Tom Werner (who also exec-produced Cosby Show) "would like to see a married couple that acts like they love each other, warts and all, children who respect the parenting, and the comedy of people who make mistakes. Warmth and forgiveness.”
This could, if audiences and NBC are lucky, be a second coming of The Cosby Show, ratings and critical acclaim and all. If they (and we) aren't, it could go as wonkily bad as The Michael J. Fox Show . As HitFix's Alan Sepinwall said in his coverage of the news:
On "30 Rock," fake NBC executive Jack Donaghy once declared that the network's number two priority was to "Make it 1997 again through science or magic." Based on the news that the real NBC has cut a deal with Bill Cosby to star in a new sitcom — on the heels of an expensive and unsuccessful deal this season with Michael J. Fox, along with failures from other past NBC stars like Sean Hayes and Matthew Perry — it appears that the current administration has its eyes set on making it 1987 again, if not earlier.
There are some aspects of The Cosby Show that it would be virtually impossible to replicate: The perfect storm of that superb cast, but more importantly the perfect storm of everything The Cosby Show symbolized in terms of race, family, and representation. This isn't the 1980s anymore, and we don't need a rehashing of everything Bill Cosby taught us the first time around — though some people could do with watching the reruns. Luckily for everyone, though, Bill Cosby is still a comedy legend, and a very talented man. Can't wait to see what he has planned for us this time around.