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Fall 2013 Previews and Predictions: NBC

13 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, surprisingly enough has been making slight progress over the last couple of years while people forgot to check on them because they were so far in the basement.  Their biggest new hit is reality show The Voice, but they’ll hope one of these new shows will bolster their line up.  Will they?  Let’s take a guess.

The Blacklist – 9/23

Spader is on The Blacklist

No network, aside from maybe, maybe ABC with Agents of Shield is pumping any new show this year as much as NBC is pumping The Black List.  James Spader seems perfectly cast a slimy mega-criminal who turns himself in for some mysterious reason to the government, agreeing to help them catch other mega-criminals in exchange for some sort of deal which includes that he only talks to one young female agent.  If it works, it could be the best CBS procedural in ages. In theory, he’ll help catch a new criminal every week while many a long term plot develops about why he turned himself in to begin with.

Prediction: Renewal – NBC, a network in need of a hit, has put all of its promotional muscle behind The Black List, and they claim viewers in focus groups loved it beyond belief.  Even if it’s not a huge hit, they’ll take it.

The Michael J. Fox Show – 9/26

Fox is The Michael J. Fox Show

Michael J. Fox portrays a legendary local news anchor who retires, like Fox himself, because of Parkinson’s disease, but then after driving his family and himself crazy in retirement, decides to make a return. Fox’s wife is played by Breaking Bad’s Betsy Brandt and his boss is played by The Wire’s Wendell Pierce.  Fox is a certified TV legend but the show does not look good. It doesn’t look historically bad, or worst sitcom of the year bad, it just looks generically mediocre, like a sitcom that should have existed two decades ago and not today.  It’s unfortunate because it’s hard to not root for Fox.

Prediction:  Renewal – after the Blacklist, I was almost arbitrarily deciding to pick a second NBC show for renewal, and when in doubt I go with the star power of Fox, who everyone loves, even if his show isn’t very good.

Ironside – 10/2

Underwood is Ironside

Blair Underwood will probably not channel original Ironside actor Raymond Burr too much in this remake of a ‘60s show about a detective in a wheelchair.  Ironside doesn’t play by the rules; he makes his own, and so on and so forth.  You will probably be able to watch five minutes of this show or less to realize exactly how it goes.  The superiors will be annoyed by Ironside now and then, as he’s tired of their conventional thinking and bureaucracy, but dammit, he’ll get results. The police procedural Ironside is yet another sign of NBC imitating CBS.

Prediction: 13+ – It looks pretty generic, which in this case, means I’ll take the middle ground, and go full season but not second.

Welcome to the Family – 10/3

O'Malley is Welcome to the Family

Every network has a limited amount of time and money for promotion, and every year, some shows, like The Blacklist, get promoted endlessly, while some shows, like Welcome to the Family, get more or less entirely ignored.  Mike O’Malley, who has grown on me over the years, plays the father of a recent high school graduate who gets knocked up by her high school boyfriend (a Latino, no less!), whose father O’Malley does not get along with.  The kids decide to make a go of it, meaning the families have to try to make a go of it as well.  Wacky hijinks ensue, with the potential for the occasional culture clash as a backdrop.

Prediction: 12- Maybe you’ve heard of some of these shows, but unless you pay really close attention you probably haven’t heard of this one, hence the lack of faith.

Sean Saves the World – 10/3

Hayes is Sean Saves the World

Sean Hayes juggles a judgmental mother, a teenage daughter, and a horrible boss, already before his life gets even more difficult when he gets full custody of his kid. Wacky Reno 911 actor Thomas Lennon plays his boss, while Linda Lavin plays his mom.  Was TV really missing Sean Hayes that badly? I would vastly prefer a show where Sean literally saves the world every episode; as it is, I expect very little.

Prediction: 12- – Sean Hayes doesn’t have the Michael J. Fox star power.  This show will probably be worse, and it’s definitely first to the chopping block fi they both do about the same, ratings-wise.

Dracula – 10/25

Rhys Meyers is Dracula

Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who last starred on TV as an entirely different kind of historical figure in The Tudors, stars as Dracula, who comes to London to get his revenge for a multitude of betrayals from centuries earlier.  The creator of Carnivale will serve as showrunner which probably means the show will make no sense.  This is actually a British-American joint venture, and there will be only 10 episodes in the first season, so,I’m not going to predict it because it breaks the rules, and at least until enough network shows break the rules to come up with a better system, I’m going to leave this one out.  Still, it’s a show, so I feel at least compelled to provide a preview. This is definitely one of the very few network shows this year I don’t really have a read on.  I wouldn’t count on much from it, but it actually might be good, which is more than many network shows even have from the get go.