Beyond 'Veep': The greatest big sitcom ensembles of all time

Beyond 'Veep': The greatest big sitcom ensembles of all time

From 'Cheers' to Selina Meyer, the big casts where every member truly counted.

Among the reasons Veep has stayed so vital at its advanced sitcom age is its big and talented and versatile cast. Between the 10 regulars and all the recurring players, the show never runs out of amusing combinations of people to put in a room together to see what will happen.

The fun of watching that group made me think back to other sitcoms with particularly large — at least 7 regular castmembers for the bulk of the run — ensembles, which I talk about in the video embedded at the top and bottom of this post.

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Credit: Showtime

Review: Can Cameron Crowe recapture 'Almost Famous' magic with 'Roadies'?

Crowe and the creator of 'My So-Called Life' head to Showtime with Luke Wilson and Carla Gugino

In one of the many famous lines of dialogue Cameron Crowe has written, Dorothy Boyd says of Jerry Maguire, "I love him for the man he wants to be, and I love him for the man that he almost is."

Dorothy is a dreamer, like most of Crowe's heroes and heroines — and, at this stage of his career, like many of his fans. We love Crowe for the storyteller he's trying to be, and almost is, even though we'd have to go all the way back to 2000's Almost Famous for a scripted project where Crowe actually lived up to his full potential as writer and director. With the likes of Elizabethtown and We Bought a Zoo, Crowe fans would look for even the faintest signs of the man who had given us Jeff Spicoli, Lloyd Dobler, Rod Tidwell, Penny Lane, and so many more, and hope for better the next time out. By the time we got to last year's Aloha, even the most die-hard Crowe cultists couldn't really defend — or explain — his latest work, even as they hoped he could at some point rekindle his '80s/'90s groove.

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<p>Person of Interest</p>

Person of Interest

Credit: CBS

Programming note: Summer vacation time

The 'Person of Interest' finale review will be delayed a week

Programming note: I'll be on vacation for the rest of this week, returning Sunday night to write about the Game of Thrones and Veep finales. My Silicon Valley finale review will also post that night, and a couple of things I wrote in advance (like my review of Showtime's Roadies) should publish in my absence.

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<p>Hugh Laurie on Veep</p>

Hugh Laurie on Veep

Credit: HBO

How did 'Veep' pull off last night's documentary episode?

Going behind the scenes on a hilarious format-busting installment of the HBO comedy

Last night's Veep was a format-breaking episode presented as the long-gestating documentary Selina's daughter Catherine had been filming all season. It not only detailed the results of the electoral tie-breaker vote in the House of Representatives, but cast new light on a lot of events we had witnessed earlier in the season.

I spoke with Veep showrunner David Mandel about how and why they pulled off the documentary episode, coming up just as soon as I make a call from an elementary school classroom...

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<p>Game of Thrones</p>

Game of Thrones

Credit: HBO

Review: Did 'Battle of the Bastards' on 'Game of Thrones' live up to the hype?

Tons of stunning combat imagery, but less satisfying than it should have been

A review of tonight's Game of Thrones coming up just as soon as my offer is free of marriage demands...

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Credit: HBO

Review: 'Veep' tries to break a tie with 'Kissing Your Sister'

Catherine's documentary shows us the results

A review of tonight's Veep coming up just as soon as I remember to check for lead...

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<p>Silicon Valley</p>

Silicon Valley

Credit: HBO

Review: 'Silicon Valley' hits a big problem with its 'Daily Active Users'

Richard's genius comes back to bite him

A review of tonight's Silicon Valley coming up just as soon as the problem is Terminator...

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Credit: AMC

Review: 'Preacher' gets to know Odin Quincannon in 'Monster Swamp

The episode that most felt like an actual TV show, for good and for ill

A quick review of tonight's Preacher coming up just as soon as I have a direct line to Heaven...

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<p>Orange Is the New Black</p>

Orange Is the New Black

Credit: Netflix

'Orange Is the New Black': Reviewing every season 4 episode

A dark, twisted, tragic period for the women and men of Litchfield

I really liked the new season of Orange Is the New Black, particularly the second half of it. Now that many of you have had the weekend to watch the whole thing (and if you're not done yet, you can come back to this when you are), I have specific thoughts on each episode — and I'm writing all of these capsules assuming you've seen the whole season, so there will be spoilers for later episodes in discussion of earlier ones — coming up just as soon as I rent a bounce house in the shape of a frog...

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<p>Gilmore Girls</p>

Gilmore Girls

Credit: WB

Ask Alan: One-shot guest stars, product placement, and small-town dramedies

Will there ever be another 'Gilmore Girls' or 'Ed'?

Happy Friday, everybody! You already heard me talking at length earlier this week with Fienberg, and now it's time for Ask Alan, where I deal with three questions: TV's best guest appearance where they only appeared on the show once, my favorite use of product placement on TV, and what happened to quirky small-town dramedies like Gilmore Girls and Ed.

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