news ‘Night Court’ Renewed for Season 2 at NBC

Night Court” is going back into session — again. The NBC sitcom, and sequel to the popular ’80s series of the same name, has been renewed for a second season at the network.

The news comes shortly after the series premiered to a surprisingly sizable audience on January 17. The first season has thus far aired four episodes of 13 episodes; the fifth scheduled for February 7.

“It’s so rewarding to have audiences respond and return to a show in which they have such incredibly warm feelings, and, more broadly, it’s testament to how broadcast is still a huge driver of communal viewing,” Lisa Katz, president of Scripted Content at NBCUniversal Television, said in a statement on Thursday. “A huge thank you to our studio partners, a wonderful cast, incredibly talented writers and producers, and a crew that has transformed a lower Manhattan courtroom into a true family.”

Since its premiere last month, “Night Court” has quickly shaped up to be one of the network’s biggest comedy hits in years. The first episode received a strong 7.55 million “live” viewers, according to Nielsen ratings. Across all platforms, that viewership has since grown to a total of 25.7 million viewers, according to NBC. That makes the show the biggest NBC comedy premiere since “Will & Grace” came back in 2017.

“The verdict is in and the ‘new-boot’ of ‘Night Court’ is a hit! The series’ razor-sharp humor makes the show a weekly must watch. We’re overjoyed that court will remain in session and return with new cases for season two,” Channing Dungey, the chairman and CEO of “Night Court” studio Warner Bros. Television Group, said. “We’re so grateful to our colleagues at NBC, to the richly talented creative team led by Melissa Rauch, Winston Rauch, Dan Rubin and John Larroquette, and to the stellar ensemble cast.”

The original “Night Court” was created by Reinhold Weege, and ran from 1984 to 1992 on NBC for a total of nine seasons and over 200 episodes. The original show starred Harry Anderson as Judge Harold T. Stone, a young and quirky judge presiding over the bizarre and wacky cases set during the night shift of a Manhattan criminal court. John Larroquette played Dan Fielding, the narcissistic and selfish prosecutor, while Markie Post played the public defender Christine Sullivan from Season 3 onward. The cast was rounded out by Charles Robinson as the court clerk; Richard Moll and Marsha Warfield played the bailiffs.

The new series stars Melissa Rauch as Abby Stone, Harold T. Stone’s daughter, who takes on her dad’s old role as the night-shift judge at his old court. Larroquette reprises his role as Fielding, now serving as a public defender instead of a prosecutor. India de Beaufort plays assistant district attorney Olivia, Kapil Talwalkar plays court clerk Neil, and Lacretta plays bailiff Donna Gurganous.

“Night Court” is executive produced by Dan Rubin, Rauch, and Winston Rauch; Larroquette produces. The series is a production of Warner Bros. Television in association with After January Productions and Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group.
I was cautiously optimistic about this series when I heard it was in production. “Night Court” was a staple for me in the 80s (and reruns in the 90s). One of the best sitcoms of its era. What I worried about was how they can’t really make it again. There was something gritty and simplistic about the original, in production value, that just worked. It fit the mood of the show. We’re so far past that now… there’s no way to do that again. But I do like Melissa Rauch, and have been a fan of John Larrouquette since the original series.

And I was right. It’s not the same. It’s too clean.

There also seems to be an unwritten rule with more modern sit-coms that the pilot, for some stupid reason, has to put all the horribly forced writing up front. It’s like the writers have to get it out of their systems with the obvious jokes that even a laugh track can’t salvage. I know that pilots are intentionally full of exposition, and there’s a reason for that, but the joke writing shouldn’t be so… so… obvious. Low-hanging fruit is the only dish on the pilot menu.

But I kept watching and, while it just doesn’t have the rough-hewn feel that made the original so damn good, I will admit that the series is growing on me. The writing is improving as well. The prosecutor, as a character, just doesn’t have the needed chemistry opposite Dan Fielding that Markie Post was able to bring. In fact, hers is the one character that just feels out of place, but I’m beginning to get more invested in most of the cast at this point. We’ll see if it really comes into its own throughout the rest of Season 1.
I tried it. I didn't hate it, it wasn't terrible, but, IDK, the magic was gone.
The original magic is gone, yes.

We were in a similar place with the first two episodes, though leaning toward “this is bad”. But we decided to stick with it and see where it went. It‘s getting better with each episode.