We’re just a few weeks out from the return of one of NBC’s most popular sitcoms. Night Court is returning to our televisions on January 17 for a whole new generation!
The original multi-Emmy Award-winning series ran for nine seasons on NBC, from 1984 to 1992, following the proceedings of the night shift of a Manhattan municipal court led by a young unorthodox judge, Harold “Harry” T. Stone, played by Harry Anderson. A comedy for all ages, Night Court made judicious use of both childish jokes and adult humor to bring a smile to everyone’s face. So it was a pleasant surprise to fans when it was announced back in May 2021 that NBC was developing a sequel series of the same name.
The new series stars Melissa Rauch (Big Bang Theory) as Abby Stone, the eternally optimistic daughter of the late Judge Harry Stone as she follows in his footsteps to become judge over the night shift of a Manhattan arraignment court. With John Larroquette returning to his multi-Emmy-winning role as Dan Fielding and India de Beaufort, Kapil Talwalker, and Lecretta rounding out the courtroom staff, Manhattan’s ‘night court’ will never be the same again. Although, there are some things from the original series we wouldn’t mind seeing in the new series.
For starters, Night Court would never be the same without clever writing and well-timed jokes mixed with some top-notch physical comedy. The original was such a hit because it was a comedy for all ages. The way it made judicious use of both childish jokes and adult humor brought a smile to everyone’s face, and it will be absolutely tragic if the new show does not keep this legacy alive.
Also, from recurring characters like the inept handyman Art, Brent Spiner’s ever-troubled Bob Wheeler, and John Astin’s quite frankly iconic Buddy, the original show built itself around these oddball characters and their antics. So, if the new series doesn’t have a series of wacky but loveable recurring characters with clever or comical names and stories we’ll be sincerely disappointed. It certainly won’t feel like Night Court if the cases are some of the most absurd things you’ve ever heard from the most out-there characters you’ve ever seen.
However, Judge Stone’s generally lighthearted and, shall we say, whimsical attitude in the courtroom is what really made Night Court work. From wearing wacky ties or glasses with a fake nose to joking in the face of the crazy courtroom moments, Judge Stone defined the show. With the original Judge Stone dead, we can only hope that the new Judge Stone inherited her father’s propensity for comedy. Given the show’s descriptions describe Abby as optimistic, and the few clips we’ve seen so far have her joking around a bit we’ve got high hopes that the Stone legacy will live on.
We’d also love to hear an updated version of the original Night Court theme song kicking off the new show. The jazzy, instrumental tune is absolutely iconic, and fans instantly know what show is on the moment they hear the opening notes. Something that memorable really needs to stay with the series.
Finally, we’re hoping to see a lot more of Dan Fielding. Dan was always one of the most interesting parts of Night Court, even though he was an absolute cad whose entire personality seems to revolve around his quests for sex and money. His antics in pursuit of those two things almost always got him in some sort of trouble, but watching him dig his way out of these messes made for some of the show’s most amusing moments. However, Dan was more than just a scumbag lawyer. Although at first glance it might be hard to believe, Dan was actually the vehicle for some of the show’s best emotional moments! While it will be interesting to see how Dan has adapted to the 21st century, we’re really hoping that deep down he’s still the same sarcastic, emotionally repressed, yet loveable man we know from the original.
Whether or not all these things we’re hoping for actually make it to the new series, we’ll certainly be tuning in later this month to see what this new courtroom brings. So be sure to check back in here at Nerds and Beyond for more articles like this, and updates on all things Night Court.