Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fall TV Preview--NBC

Dean got me off to a great start yesterday, so I am compelled to throw myself into creating the rest of the Fall TV Previews.

And the first question that I must always ask myself is . . . "What order do I write things in? By day? By Network? By some random arbitrary schedule?" In the past I've followed each of these methods. But this year, it was clear what I was going to do. I have selected the show I would focus things on--that wonderful concept of Sleepy Hollow, the bizarre fish-out-of-water crime/cop drama where the fish is a Revolutionary War ghost of a headless Hessian mercenary. What kookiness would ole' Headless do in the modern world? (Besides lopping off heads, I guess?) I had already promoted the upcoming Fall TV posts by talking about Sleepy Hollow and so, of course I would aim squarely at Fox and kick it off.

And then last night came and went and I wasn't even prepared to watch the premiere episode, much less discuss it in any satirical way. So, I called an audible and decided to go with NBC as my kick off subject. And if you think I did THAT because one entire day of their weekly schedule is devoted to the NFL? Well, then good for you.


The aforementioned Sunday Night Football or Football Night in America or whatever gets your week started off right. It begins around 7:30 and just goes all night long. If you didn't get enough football all day Saturday and most of the day Sunday, then here is a little bit more. (Already going on)


Hey look at this! NBC also hardly has any shows devoted to Monday night either! (I really did pick the right network to get my mojo going, huh? I'll be all the way to Friday in about ten minutes of writing at this rate. Thanks for not having any sort of creative process or success, NBC.)

Well, NBC does have two shows. First there is The Voice (9/23 @ 8 pm). This singing competition show goes all the way from 8 to 10 pm, if you can believe it. Are they just rubbing it in to Fox, who's signature singing competition show has sort of gone off the rails in the last few years? I don't know because I make it a policy to just not watch these reality shows or competition-type shows. I don't think the judges are compelling. I don't think the competition is great. It's just not for me.

But if you can make it through The Voice, there is a new show called The Blacklist (9/23 @ 10). It features James Spader as a super-criminal who surrenders to the FBI and pledges to help catch those on the Bureau's "most wanted" list. I think this show reminds me of CBS's Person of Interest and has a bit of that same network's Elementary. I am not a huge Spader fan, at least not since his Less Than Zero days. But this show seems fairly innocuous. If you like crime dramas and enjoy seeing people that you are familiar with in new shows you know nothing about, then you'll probably enjoy this. The biggest problem? Spader's character is named "Red" Reddington. Ugh.


NBC keeps giving up me gifts as I examine their Tuesday night lineup. If you thought that two hours of The Voice on Sunday night wasn't enough for your singing pleasure, then guess what? It's on AGAIN this night between 9 pm and 10 pm. What more could they possibly do? How can NBC afford the broadcasting rights on all these song copyrights? Isn't it a failing network?

The Biggest Loser (Oct. 10 @ 8) isn't interested in hearing the word "fail." It's mission is to help overweight Americans take back their lives and change their eating and exercise habits to turn themselves into a better, healthier version of themselves. The REST of us who sit on the couch eating chips while this show is on might be very familiar with the word "fail." But let's not talk about that.

The last show of the night on NBC is Chicago Fire (9/24 @ 10). Isn't this the same name as the Chicago-area Major League Soccer team? Isn't there some sort of legal copyright problem with this? Are there three subjects I know less about that 1.) Chicago Fire 2.) Major League Soccer and 3.) copyright law?


Drama, reality show, football. All in huge hour+ blocks. That is what NBC is throwing out night after night. Here, midweek, it kicks things off with Revolution (9/25 @ 8), a returning show that got off to a promising start last season. The post-apocolypse show wants to sort of play with the kitsche of zombie show civil collapse but remain firmly in the family-friendly camp. I watch the show weekly during its first months and then it went on a early 2013 hiatus and I lost track of it. Over the summer, I adjusted my DVR to capture most of the second half episodes that I missed. But some of the lustre seemed gone. Maybe season 2 will reinvigorate it. But most shows cant' simply walk away for months and expect you to sit around and wait hopefully for them to come back. It doesn't matter that this show prominently features Giancarlo Esposito. It ain't Breaking Bad.

I'm skipping Law & Order: SVU (9/25 @ 9) because absolutely nothing needs to be said. It runs purely on inertia.

Ironside (10/2 @ 10) features respected actor Blair Underwood as a wheelchair-bound cop solving crimes. Its just another cop show with some elements of House. The show will use flashbacks to give backstory on Underwood's character, allowing him to get out of the chair and play the more impulsive, combative cop that got him into the wheelchair in the first place.


Hello, half-hour comedies! NBC knows that America only knows how to laugh on Thursday night.

It knows this because it consulted  its dusty programming bible which is kept in the locked safe in the abandoned top floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza where no one is allowed to go anymore. Well, no one but Ted Danson, Bill Cosby, and Jerry Seinfeld. (If they are feeling magnanimous, they'll invite Tina Fey.) They occasionally hold candle-lit seances up there. You can see the flickering lights if you look really hard. They open the creaky old safe where the programming bible is stored (the combination is 1985) and flip through the pages.

The comedy block consists of Parks and Recreation (9/26 @ 8), Welcome to the Family (10/3 @ 8:30), Sean Saves the World (10/3 @ 9), and The Michael J. Fox Show (9/26--The show initially will premiere at 9 pm, then move to 9:30 later. Check your DVR to make sure I got that right.)

The big news here, obviously is the return of Fox to TV and to NBC. He plays a news anchor who is battling Parkinson's Disease (as is Fox). The show also marks Betsy Brandt's first show since her role as Marie in Breaking Bad ended. I'm sure Brandt is looking forward to some jokes after the unrelenting drama of Bad and I'm sure Fox is just looking to get back in the TV game that made him famous . . . while he also clearly wants to educate us all on his disease. I'll say nothing at all snarky about this.

But NBC is also not only relying on Fox's muscle memory (sorry) of the network's glory days.Sean Saves the World is starring Sean Hayes of Will & Grace fame. And I am here to say sorry to Parks & Rec. Not only is it firmly in control of Thursday night, but I've never watched it. I'm sure it's good.But I'm too busy watching reruns of The Single Guy to bother with anything made after 1994.


Nothing about Dateline NBC will ever be the same after watching Arrested Development's 4th Netflix season. If I wanted to watch Grimm (10/25 @ 9) I probably already be watching Supernatural anyway. But is there something to the network's splashy Friday night drama Dracula (10/25 @ 10)? Most significantly, the famous vampire is played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers. He used to be an honest-to-goodness movie star! Was he persuaded to do this based on the success of NBC's mid-season Hannibal show?

Or is it something else? Why would the show pair Dracula, posing as an entrepreneur in modern America, with Van Helsing . .  a vampire hunter? And why would they be working together to bring down some shadowy organization called the Order of the Dragon. Oh . . wait . . . NERD BAIT! NBC knows that if you put mythological characters together and mix in a mystery, and if you place it on Friday night, the pimply set will probably latch on and obsess about every little bit of head canon. This show is built for Tumblr posts and lots of .gifs. And the costuming alone will draw some people in. (See?) This might actually work.


Football, football, football!
Go outside.
Read a book (or my blog).

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