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Fall 2016 Previews and Predictions: NBC

19 Sep


(In order to meld the spirit of futile sports predictions with the high stakes world of the who-will-be-cancelled-first fall (edit: spring, now) 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 (spring, again)(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

Additional note: Since more and more series on network TV are following cable models with set orders for shorter seasons, and mid-season replacements tend to have shorter seasons in particular, I’ll note any planned limited runs in my prediction section for each show)

The Good Place – 9/19

The Good Place

The high concept drama is a dime a dozen, but rarer is the high concept comedy. Kristin Bell wakes up, finds out from Ted Danson that she just died and has been elevated to the “good place” a take on a version of conventional heaven where all people who have lived extremely good lives go and get to live in a community with others like them. Apparently, a mistake was made however, and she was confused with a human rights lawyer. She was supposed to probably go to the not-so-good bad place, but she’s going to live amongst a bunch of goodie-goodies and maybe hope not to get caught. Oh, and possibly most importantly, it’s from Parks and Rec’s Michael Schur.

Prediction: Renewal – Is this likely to last? Not necessarily, but it’s from Michael Schur and stars Kristin Bell and Ted Danson so I’m going to be rooting for it and hopeful that NBC will give it some leeway.

This is Us – 9/20

This is Us

It’s a melodrama about some people. The hook is that instead of being about a family or group of friends or coworkers, the show focuses on a cadre of people born on the same day including Sterling K. Brown and Milo Ventimiglia. The show follows them through happiness, sadness, births, deaths, you know; life. Looks like it’ll rate high on the crying scale.

Prediction: 12- Network family melodramas do catch on occasionally (Parenthood lasted a cool five seasons) but the odds are definitely against them. They’re not procedural and they don’t have the over-the-topness or suspense hooks to keep network viewers coming. Leave them to cable (or whatever amazon and Netflix are).

Timeless – 10/3


This is a variation of a concept that comes up every few years, the time-travel show. Seven Days, Timecop, Quantum Leap, Time Trax. (I could have sworn there were more, but it might just be my imagination because it’s such a classic idea) A team of, in this case, three people use top-secret government technology to time-travel to chase down a supercriminal who is using that same machine to mess up history, which could result in butterfly effects and what not. They’ve got to do whatever’s necessary to make sure history continues to exist as we know it.

Prediction: 13+ Splitting the difference. With these average looking shows, it’s always just a guess.