Fall 2011 Preview and Prediction: NBC

14 Sep

(In order to meld the spirit of futile sports predictions with the high stakes world of the who-will-be-cancelled-first fall television season, I’ve set up a very simple system of predictions for how long new shows will last.  Each day, I’ll (I’m aware I switched between we and I) lay out a network’s new shows scheduled to debut in the fall (reality shows not included – I’m already going to fail miserably on scripted shows, I don’t need to tackle a whole other animal) with my prediction of which of three categories it will fall into.

These categories are:

1.  Renewal – show gets renewed

2.  13+ – the show gets thirteen or more episodes, but not renewed

3.  12- – the show is cancelled before 13)

NBC is the only other network (aside from the CW) debuting shows this week so we’ll take them on second.  Up All Night and Free Agents start tonight, everything else in coming weeks.

Up All Night – 9/14

Failed sitcom all-stars Will Arnett (Running Wilde) and Christina Applegate (Samantha Who, though I’m being harsh since it somehow ran two seasons, as did the late ‘90s Jesse) unite as a couple having possibly hilarious difficulties managing their work and professional lives.  Maya Rudolph and Nick Cannon co-star.  Going for it is a modicum of positive buzz and the claim that Will Arnett has managed to tone down his Will Arnett character which he perfected in Arrested Development and honed as a recurring guest star in 30 Rock.  Going against is it is the fact that I still don’t have a ton of confidence in Arnett as a leading man and the previews didn’t look particularly funny.

Verdict:  13+ – they’re backing it too hard for anything less – it honestly has a good shot at renewal, and if it’s actually hilarious I’ll instantly want to change my opinion, but I’m maybe unfairly having trouble seeing it succeed

Free Agents – 9/14

Hank Azaria and Kathryn Hahn star as public relations employees who end up in bed together and struggle to maintain professionalism at the work place.  It’s based on a British show of the same name, and carries over Anthony Head as the cocky boss character, who has apparently taken the “Stewart” out of his name since Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  It also features Apatow-movie that guy and former The State member Joe Lo Truglio as a security guard.  Some people like it so far, but it’s going to need more than that to survive on what might be the wrong network for it.

Verdict:  12- – outside of The Office, I feel anecdotally at least that these British adaptations tend to struggle (Worst Week, Coupling, Life on Mars) and aside from me wanting to see Giles from Buffy back on TV, something’s got to go, and I don’t feel like the network has too much riding on this one

The Playboy Club – 9/19

One of two series set in the early ‘60s, inspired by the successful use of that time period in Mad Men, The Playboy Club seems the less interesting of the two (Pan Am on ABC being the other).  Starring Amber Heard as a new playboy bunny who enters the family, it promises as much sexploitation as you can get on network television.  That seems like about it, though.

Verdict: 12- – I’m probably being harsh, there’s enough network support to get it through midseason probably, but I just don’t have a lot of hope for it – if a series has to move on from the early ‘60s, I’m putting my money on Pan-Am

Whitney – 9/22

No series has gotten as much advertising push behind it for NBC, and no series has made a worse impression in my mind due to the constant terrible advertising.  From Whitney’s rant about how stupid we men are to wear jerseys even though we’re not on the field, we can relate to just how much Whitney doesn’t understand men, but in a comical and observational way.  Maybe I’m being harsh, but it looks bad and the buzz doesn’t sound a whole lot better.

Verdict:  13+ – Far too much press for it to fade away after only a couple of episodes, it looks to me like this year’s Outsourced – NBC will really, really try to make it work, but it just won’t – it’s a bad fit for the Thursday night block

Prime Suspect – 9/22

Mario Bello stars in this police procedural also at least loosely based on a British show of the same name which starred Helen Mirren.  I don’t really see the hook other than it’s a female cop in a bureau dominated by men and she’s full of attitude and vigor and whatnot.  Honestly, it looks pretty generic to me, but I’ve read a surprising amount of positive press and I really like Maria Bello, so I’m going to grant it some leeway, not every show need be innovative to be good.

Verdict:  Renewal – something on NBC has to get renewed before Smash comes around in February, and hey, police procedurals seem to be working out pretty well for CBS

Grimm – 10/21

As The Playboy Club is one of two new series set in the early ‘60s, Grimm is one of two new dramas dealing with fairly tales (Once Upon A Time on ABC the other).  The main character is an Oregon homicide detective who learns that he is descended from a long line of “Grimms” or hunters whose mission is to keep humanity safe from supernatural fairy tale baddies which came through stories to inhabit our world.  Wikipedia describes it as a “fantasy/mystery/crime drama.”

Verdict:  13+ – I really wanted to use the line that it’s chances for survival are Grimm, but this is probably the NBC show I have the least basis for taking a stab at, I have absolutely no idea what to expect, which leads me take the easy way out and guess in the middle

4 Responses to “Fall 2011 Preview and Prediction: NBC”

  1. E-Money September 14, 2011 at 6:01 pm #

    Did anyone else provide thoughts on this topic? Will you posting such thoughts?

  2. Janssen September 14, 2011 at 8:24 pm #

    Let’s see what’s wrong with Grimm.

    It airs on Friday nights.
    It is a supernatural fantasy cop show. High concept mash-up shows just don’t work. “Kings” clause.
    It is produced by David Greenwalt, who also produced Jake 2.0, Surface, Kidnapped, and Moonlight.

    I’d say the chances of renewal are “grimm” (a completely original line that I made up myself).

  3. Beardface September 14, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

    Life on Mars was rad and deserved to be renewed for Michael Imperioli’s moustache alone, so dont lump it in with that other dreck.

    Pretty sure Prime Suspect is just a straight remake of the Mirren one, which is also great. Hopefully Mario Bello brings back that cheerleader uniform from A History of Violence.

    I really like the guy playing Whitney’s boyfriend, he was hilarious on Glory Daze and his guest spot on Workaholics.

    Christ, Whitney looks terrible.


  1. Fall 2011 New TV Show Predictions Reviewed, Part 2 « Television, the Drug of the Nation - January 6, 2012

    […] couple of months ago, I made predictions about how long new shows on CBS, NBC and The CW would last.  As all the shows have aired for a few weeks, it’s time for an evaluation […]

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