Snap Judgements: NBC Upfronts

13 May

I’ve made a mini-tradition of previewing and predicting the success of new fall shows towards the end of summer and beginning of fall, and I plan on continuing that, but I’m adding an even earlier take on new shows which have clips available, where I’ll look solely at the previews provided by the networks at the upfronts (fancy TV talk for place where they show off their upcoming schedule and shows) and provide some quick thoughts.  Because I’m a born pessimist, I’ll be ranking the shows to provide at least some relative positivism.  Hint:  If your show has a laugh track, it’s probably towards the bottom.

First, we’ll take a look at the mostly CBS-ification and occasional ABC-ification of NBC’s new programming.  Follow along.

6.  Sean Saves the World

Sean Hayes is a single gay dad who has to juggle work, parenting (he quite literally says “parenting” at least twice in the trailer), and his overbearing mother.  Life is rough!  He gets into zany situations trying to get home early from his hilariously brutal boss!  There’s a laugh track!  Only points are for use of Capital Cities’ Safe and Sound in the second half.

5. Ironside

Remake city! Ironside (presumably how the main character is referred to, I don’t think anyone calls him that in the trailer that I can recall) is Blair Underwood as a cop in a wheelchair who sees things differently (from his lower perspective, of course)!  Ironside is based on a late-60s and early-70s show starring Raymond Burr as a paralyzed cop.  My problem is not the fact that it’s a remake though.  I mean, boy, you know The Blacklist is nothing new, but this just hits every fucking cop show convention pitch perfectly.  He plays by his own rules, he has his own special unit to get the serious business done, and sometimes he doesn’t follow every regulation in the name of justice.  It’s in danger of being one Blair Underwood away from veering into parody.

4. The Michael J. Fox Show

Of course I like Michael J. Fox.  He seems impossible not to like.  That said, this show is far more on the traditional end of sitcoms than what normally interests me.  There’s no laugh track.  But there’s really nothing at all funny in the trailer.  It’s not insufferable like Sean Saves the World but the jokes just do not fly.  I watched it actually a second time and there must be 25 lines designed for potential laughs in the trailer and none of them work.  Points for featuring Wendell Pierce of The Wire, though, and just a note that his wife is Marie from Breaking Bad, Betsy Brandt.

3.  Dracula

Are we not done with vampires yet? True Blood and Twilight have pretty much helped eliminate all the good will for the mythical beasts in pop culture generated by Buffy by now. Anyway, I have no idea what this show is about still after watching the trailer, and me not knowing is pretty much by itself elevating it to the third spot, which may say something about the early look at NBC’s line up.  I think maybe one vampire decides to violate other vampire’s codes and somehow gets into a battle with them.  I don’t really have hope, but maybe I’m confused and everything about it is a lot more interesting.

2.  Welcome to the Family

Mike O’Malley, who is gearing up his resume for Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame consideration, plays a dad who is excited to have his daughter, who just graduated high school, off to college, so he can finally get some empty nest him-time with his wife.  Unfortunately, his plans, like the best of them, go awry, when it turns out his daughter his been knocked up by another high schooler, with a dad who shares a mutual enmity with O’Malley.  This is going to be awkward.  It’s a clear Modern Family clone, and looks, well, like Modern Family.

1.  The Blacklist

Hey, production value counts here.  It’s a CBS/TNT-esque darker version of White Collar starring James Spader as a dangerous criminal who works with the FBI to put other criminals away, but he’s a lot less likable, it seems than Neal from the USA show.  The banter remains though and Spader remains as deliciously slimy as ever.  As this appears procedural, I highly doubt I will ever watch more than one episode but I’m sure it’ll give me something for my dad to watch and me to ask him about for the next couple of years.

2 Responses to “Snap Judgements: NBC Upfronts”


  1. Snap Judgments: CBS Upfronts | Television, the Drug of the Nation - May 23, 2013

    […] ranking the shows at each of the upfronts here.  CBS is next, check here for NBC and a fuller intro.  Watching a new TV show is like meeting a new person.  You usually […]

  2. Snap Judgments: Fox Upfronts | Television, the Drug of the Nation - May 28, 2013

    […] ranking each network’s upfronts.  NBC was first, with a longer intro, because it was first, and CBS came next.  Now it’s […]

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