Brolin in Community, Hind in Game of Thrones and more awesome casting

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NBC’s Thursday night anchor is entering its final season. This week, the swan song was met by a chorus of crickets, as apparently nobody cared that two of the best comedies on television were returning in The Office and Parks and Recreation. This despite the fact that CBS aired reruns of its juggernaut lineup. One cannot help but wonder if the absence of Community from Thursdays will further cripple the peacock’s efforts to legitimize itself and rebound from the ratings cellar. Maybe the same geniuses who cancelled Futurama and Family Guy now handle the scheduling at NBC. Or maybe it’s the monkey from Animal Practice.

However, those of us still watching should be thrilled to discover that Stephen Colbert will be guest starring as one of Andy’s Cornell buddies and fellow member of his a cappella group. This makes a grand total of four current or former Daily Show correspondents who have appeared on the show. In other news, Bryan Cranston will direct one of the final 13 episodes this season.

Parks and Recreation

While The Office had been NBC’s flagship comedy for so very long, that torch has all but officially passed to Parks and Rec. Unfortunately, the season opener fell victim to NBC’s Thursday ratings crash this week, but hopefully fans will tune in live as the season wears on.

This season, we will see Lucy Lawless appear on the Amy Poehler-led series’ fifth season as a love interest for uber-man’s man Ron Swanson. Also, keeping with the flood of Breaking Bad actors to invade NBC, Ben’s father will be played by Jonathan Banks. Of course, this all follows very capable cameos by sitting U.S. senators Barbra Boxer, Olympia Snowe, and John McCain.

Raising Hope

After last year’s nail-biter renewal, followed by that bizarre season finale, it’s hard to know what we should expect this season. Will fans watch the show live? Will it jump the shark, as it so frequently threatened to do last year? In fact, having Hope’s serial killer mom survive the electric chair as the premise of last season’s two-part finale looked a whole lot like Fonzie strapping on a pair of water-skis, but hey, who am I to judge?

Regardless, some fun casting news is on tap. This year, we will meet Sabrina’s wealthy family. Specifically, we can look forward to meeting her evil grandmother (played by Tippi Hedren) and her narcissistic mother (played by Hedren’s real-life daughter Melanie Griffith). Also appearing this season will be American Pie and Wilfred actor Chris Klein, That 70s Show’s Wilmer Valderrama, and SNL’s Jenny Slate.

Suburgatory

I don’t know about you, but this could be my favorite new network comedy from last season. Granted, Alicia Silverstone was a total disaster: annoying, unfunny, and more than a little creepy. However, the season as a whole was brilliant and very funny, with a cast of secondary characters who grew stronger, funnier, and more complex as the season progressed.

This year, we are in for a treat. Not only will Wilmer Valderrama reprise his role for season one (man, this guy gets around!) but none other than H. John Benjamin will appear as Dallas’ life coach. The star of Archer and Bob’s Burgers will appear in the season’s third episode. Wasting no time in doling out the guest stars, Malin Akerman, who will portray Tessa’s mother, is set to appear in the season opener.

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