Sunday, August 26, 2007

NBC TV Preview, Fall 2007

Usually I wait until either Entertainment Weekly or TV Guide publishes their Fall TV Preview issues to begin researching and writing these posts. But that's the easy way out, really. If I'm going to bother to write these things, I should do it on my own merits and not wait for others to tell me what's good and what's not. Besides, I can only tell you what I think sounds good, since I don't have any insight into the inner workings of Hollywood, and therefore can't tell you what's going on behind the camera.

So, on my own lights and with my own opinions, here goes.

NBC's list of new shows for the fall is pretty thin, really. Only five new shows debuting. This is a result of NBC and the other networks deciding to hold back some of their new shows for mid-season replacements, which I always think of as a backup plan in case the newly released shows turn out to be horrible and no one wants to watch them--sort of like when a pitcher gives up home runs early in a baseball game and has to be relieved in the early innings.

But that makes this easier for me, since I don't have that many shows to consider.

I'll admit to being somewhat intrigued by Chuck (Monday, Sept. 24 @ 8 pm). I only know a bit about the show, based upon a commercial I saw a few nights ago while surfing past NBC. It seems that Chuck is a everyday sort of wage slave that works as a computer technician in a retail store (think the Geek Squad at Best Buy--wonder if there will be any cross promotional commercials?). He has the misfortune of stumbling across classified information while defragmenting a laptop or something and PRESTO! he is the unwitting new sidekick of a real government spy that is fighting to save the world or something. So, this show is something of a cross between "Jake 2.0" and "Gotcha." I'm sure it's my fondness for "Alias" that makes me even consider watching this show. It'll probably stink. The very fact that the website prominently features a ninja should make you run screaming for the remote.

If farcical spy stuff isn't your bag, then you might like Life (Wednesday, Sept. 26 @ 10 pm). It's a police drama but it's not by Dick Wolf and doesn't feature the words Law or Order. Instead, the main character is an ex-con who is back on the force after spending time in jail. Are you intrigued by this character being described as "complex and offbeat"? Do you think he'll be able to bring special wisdom to his beat, since he was once on the inside and (maybe) understands the criminal mind? You might be thinking "Law and Order" meets "House," but hold on! What if I tell you that Detective Charlie Crews was "serving time in prison for a crime he didn't commit." (!!??) How do you feel NOW? Maybe this show is "Law and Order " meets "The A-Team." Or maybe it's "Hill Street Blues" meets "Prison Break." Or maybe it's fresh and original TV programming that we've never experienced before! You decide . . .

Another new show is Journeyman (Monday, Sept. 24 @ 10 pm), another drama, but this one seems to be about time travel. The intriguing tag phrase on the website is--"They say you can't live in the past, but Dan Vasser does that and more." Really? What MORE could this be referring to? Isn't living in the past special enough? Does he alter time in some way while living in the past? Can he prevent himself from altering time, even if he wanted to? Does it help that the actor playing Dan Vasser reminds me of a cross between Anthony Michael Hall ("The Dead Zone") and Daniel Craig? (Bond . . . James Bond.) Can a show set in San Francisco avoid being compared to "Nash Bridges," no matter many times it goes into the past to avoid such a comparison being made? Still, NBC seems to be investing a bit in this show. The website is already set up with a Quiz link and a Community link. Somebody seems to think that the Web is waiting to get involved. The fact that it follows last year's geek hit "Heroes" will surely help in this regard.

NBC's new reality show for the Fall isn't new at all. It's a continuation of the Summer show The Singing Bee. I don't like reality shows much and I haven't watched this one, in which people compete to sing popular songs and fill in the lyrics once the band stops playing. So, this one is a cross between "American Idol" and "Name That Tune." Not for me, thanks. And when you consider that they got ex-NSync-er Joey Fatone to be the host, my nonexistent interest level goes into negative numbers. I bet even Howie Mandel turned this one down.

My interest for NBC this Fall is devoted to only two things--the return of Heroes (Monday, Sept. 24 @ 9 pm)--and the arrival of Bionic Woman (Wednesday, Sept. 26 @ 9 pm). Clearly NBC is preparing for this show to make a splash. The website alone is so detailed, it has been reducing my laptop to a crawl while I try to type all of this. But, NBC is probably right in hoping this show will make a splash. It is produced and created by David Eick who has done quite well for himself the past few years co-producing the reimagined "Battlestar Galactica" on the Sci-Fi Channel. I'm a BIG fan of the new BSG, so I have high expectations for "Bionic Woman." This show owes debts to both of the original "Bionic" shows of the 1970s. It might hew more closely to Lindsay Wagner's "The Bionic Woman" show. (Lindsay's bionics included a right arm, both legs, and an ear.) But the 1970s Jaime was a tennis professional that was injured in a skydiving accident. Michelle Ryan's version of Jaime Sommers is a struggling singleton who bartends to make ends meet while acting as mother to her teenage sister. She gets in a bad car accident and becomes extraordinary. So, there is less glamour here. And she gets a bionic eye along with the legs, arm, and ear. This is probably a nod to Lee Major's "Six Million Dollar Man," who got the cool eye with his bionic legs and arm.

The fact that this show's premiere was leaked onto the Internet this summer and has been downloaded a lot since then should tell you all you need to know. There is a lot of buzz around this show and I'll be tuning in.

So, there are the new shows coming up for NBC. Old favorites like The Office (Thursday, Sept 27 @ 9 pm--1 hour premiere), 30 Rock (Thursday, Oct. 4 @ 8:30 pm), My Name is Earl (Thursday, Sept. 27 @ 8 pm), and Scrubs (Thursday, Oct. 25 @ 9:30 pm) are coming back as well. But you know about them, so I'm not going to get into those.

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