About two decades ago, drama series started a big shift from close-ended procedurals to serialized series, with HBO’s The Sopranos among those leading the way. Comedy series eventually caught up with the trend via a slew a series such as The Office, Community, Arrested Development and Veep.
Then five years ago, American Horror Story sparked a resurgence of the anthology series genre, with Fargo, American Crime and American Crime Story among those that have followed. Now comedy is jumping on that bandwagon too.
Over the span of a couple of days, TBS gave a series order to Greg Garcia’s half-hour comedy anthology series Guest Book, set at a small-town vacation home, with each episode featuring a different set of guests renting the house; and HBO picked up the Duplass brothers comedy anthology series Room 104, set in a single room of an average American hotel, with different guests staying in it it in each episode.
Additionally, Netflix has Joe Swanberg’s upcoming Chicago single-camera anthology comedy series Easy, YouTube Red has comedy anthology series Bad Internet, while Hulu has sci-fi drama-comedy anthology series Dimension 404.
There have been attempts at launching an anthology comedy — NBC tried with the hourlong comedy Love Bites, which had a short burn-off run in the summer of 2011. And anthology comedies almost always consist of standalone episodes whereas the current drama anthology trend often involves shows with standalone seasons, each featuring a serialized arc.
Still, as the viewing experience evolves and people learn to accept a wider variety of show structures, anthology comedy series could be the next big thing.