While not the phenomenon it was during the first season, the last season of "New Girl" was a big one for the series. It earned a coveted post-Super Bowl spot - with guest star Prince! - and showed it has long-term viability as a cult hit.

While Season 3 displayed “New Girl’s” place in the television landscape — a beloved comedy for a good number of viewers, but not a “Big Bang Theory” hit —it was probably the most inconsistent stretch since those early episodes.

There were some utterly fantastic outings, like the Michael Keaton/Halloween episode, Prince and a run of episodes ending with [Spoiler Alert] Nick (a pitch-perfect Jake Johnson) and Jess’ (Zooey Deschanel) breakup. There were a number of subpar ones too.

Season 3 was a good, not great, season that had a pivotal moment in the series, Nick and Jess’ game-changer. This was a bit of a reset button, letting all the characters begin this season with a relatively clean slate.

The Season 4 premiere deals with this clean slate by having the gang, at the fierce encouragement of Schmidt (Max Greenfield), all decide to hook-up at the last wedding (the 11th) of the summer. It’s a simple setup that lets all the characters have moments — some humorous, others as exposition. The cast makes it all better than it should be, providing the right amount of casual ridiculousness to their shenanigans.

Most importantly, the episode is funny, but there’s more to get excited about for Season 4. While the premiere doesn’t set up any implications for the future, it does present new avenues for the characters to explore narratively.

It could take some time for this season to find its rhythm, which is usually true of network comedies, but once that occurs the winter’s back-half of episodes could turn out to be as good as anything we’ve seen on “New Girl” before.

[photo courtesy of Fox]