Tuesday, September 23, 2014

2014 Fall TV Preview: NBC

And so, we come to the end of the network examinations with the last of our alphabetical listing--the National Broadcasting Company. Most people don't know, however, that for the last decade or so, NBC has actually stood for Never Becoming Cosby Again. (That last A is silent.)

It's no surprise that the Peacock network hasn't had a run of good shows: be they comedy or drama for a while. And even the ones that WERE good, like 30 Rock or Community just never generated enough consistent numbers to help pull the network out of the ratings swoon it has suffered in recent years. But enough about the past. What shows does the network have for us THIS fall?

State of Affairs (premieres Nov. 17): This show is an odd parallel to the CBS show Madam Secretary. Katherine Heigl makes her return to TV as a CIA analyst that assembles the White House's daily threat briefing. So this show is a drama. But won't it have a hard time walking in the last White House drama that was shepherded by NBC--The West Wing? It's just never going to be that and so it somehow seems diminished before it starts. But I'm just being critical for the sake of being critical, I guess.

Marry Me (premieres Oct. 14): It this show is lucky it won't be compared to The Michael J. Fox Show and if is REALLY lucky it might end up being good like Mad About You. The two main actors "meet cute" but Annie (Casey Wilson) scuttles the burgeoning relationship right before Jake (Wilson's real life husband Ken Marino) is to propose. You see . . . he didn't do it as fast as she wanted him to and yada yada yada. This is the kind of show that most likely will start slow and feel artificial and awkward. But if given the chance for decent acting and providing the writing staff time to work out the kinks, it could turn into something worth watching. Sure, its formula TV. But NBC needs some predictable success.

The Mysteries of Laura (just recently premiered): This is another show based on a Spanish TV premise (Jane the Virgin, Ugly Betty, Killer Women) but that is not what you need to take away from this show. The show is being blasted by critics because of its unfortunate premise that Debra Messing's ("Hi Grace! Where have YOU been?") character is noteworthy for trying to be a professional cop AND a mom! How can she handle BOTH?!!! It's even in the tag line promotional for the program:
credit: www.nbc.com

I don't really care whether this show is good or not, but I DO care about this parody theme for it that was created by NPR writer and blogger Linda Holmes. Click on this link to learn more about and listen to the wonderful song "copmom momcop".

Bad Judge (premieres Oct. 2): Because this post is full of NBC nostalgia. I wish that this show was something of a recurrence of Night Court. But it's not.

Speaking of NBC nostalgia . . . twenty years ago this week, the first episode of Friends premiered. Those were good days for this network. But back to the shows on tap for THIS year.

A to Z (premieres Oct. 2): First . . . what is going on at NBC that all of theie shows are premiering in October? Are they so used to being last that they want to premiere last as well? Anyway . . . this show features The Mother Cristin Miloti (the best thing about the last season of HIMYM) Änd it also has the tag line "Destiny has a funny way of finding you." So maybe this show might offer the thrills of the first few seasons of How I Met Your Mother. And so, on blind faith alone I think I will make this the one new NBC show that I will give a shot this year. Huzzah!

But wait, you're thinking right now. We must be nearing the end of this post and we haven't encountered ANY comic book-based shows? What is NBC thinking? Well, it turns out that NBC is thinking exactly what ABC, The CW, Fox, and even CBS is thinking . . . comic books are where its AT! And NBC's offering in this vein is Constantine (premieres Oct. 24). You might remember this story from the Keanu Reeves movie of recent years. I don't as I didn't see that movie.

And well, that is it I guess. (Except for the holiday event Peter Pan LIVE!)  As I said, I think that I'll give A to Z a try and  . . . maybe Marry Me? But probably that is it. Will any of these shows help NBC begin to pull things around? Have they built up enough good will (and ratings) with "established" shows such as The Biggest Loser, Blacklist, About a Boy, Grimm, Chicago P.D., or Law and Order: SVU to give cover to the fledgling shows? Only time will tell, but I imagine most people are skeptical of NBC.

What do you think? Have you seen anything on NBC that catches your eye? Sound off in the comments if you like.

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