Tag Archives: Go On

Fall 2012 Preview and Predictions: NBC

11 Sep

(In order to meld the spirit of futile sports predictions with the high stakes world of the who-will-be-cancelled-first fall (now spring!) 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.  14+ – the show gets thirteen or more episodes, but not renewed

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

NBC

NBC has the first debuts this year so we’ll start there.  The last place network, which is coming off a super popular Olympics high, has six new shows initially scheduled to air this fall.  Let’s take a look.

Go On – 9/11

Go On aired a special pilot sneak preview in August, as NBC tried to take advantage of the one time people were actually watching, during the Olympics to promote a couple of its new shows.  You can read my full review of the pilot here, but here’s the basic premise.  Friends veteran Matthew Perry is an egomaniacal sports talk radio shock jock who is forced by his employers to attend grief therapy while dealing with the death of his wife.  He helps out the other members of the therapy group, while also learning from them, etc, etc.

Verdict:  14+ I don’t see it going that far – it’s just not that good, and while obviously that means little to nothing in what happens to shows on network television, I don’t think audiences will connect – I don’t really see it’s audience – not Community enough for that crowd, or Whitney enough for that crowd (I hope that’s not really a crowd).  Perry’s name will get it the full season pick up though.  Also, it’s better than Mr. Sunshine, which is worth something I suppose.

Animal Practice – 9/26

The other NBC show which got a shot at airing during the Olympics, a full review can be found here.  It’s about a veterinarian who loves animals, but not so much their owners.  He’s now forced to work with the new owner of his animal hospital, who is an old flame, who is returning after having not seen him for a couple of years.  Also a couple of wacky sidekicks and a monkey that does human stuff.  So that’s cool.

Verdict:  13-  Honestly, a quick look over the fall shows (and maybe I’ll regret this when I get to CBS or Fox) tells me there are far fewer crazy obvious instant cancellations like The Playboy Club and I Hate My Teenage Daughter (and Last Man Standing…oh, wait).  Something’s got to get cancelled.  Probably quite a few somethings.  This utterly forgettable show will likely be one of them.

Chicago Fire – 10/10

Too soon for a reference to a disaster that killed hundreds and destroyed over three square miles of downtown Chicago?  House’s Jesse Spencer is the lead in an ensemble show focusing on the exciting and fast-paced lives of firefighters and paramedics in Chicago (the non-police two thirds of Third Watch).  It’s less overused than cops for sure, so small amount of credit there, but it offhanded screams out generic procedural (I really think the logic was um, cops, been there – how about firefighters?), maybe with some personal life business to get you all attached to those characters.  We’ll see though.

Verdict:  Renewed – crapshoot 101.  NBC has not been a big home to procedurals of late, but they’ve got new management and probably want to follow the CBS model to success, with at least one.  Prime Suspect did fail miserably last year, but boy, NBC would take almost anything right now.  Oh, and it’s produced by a guy named Dick Wolf who used to have some pull around NBC.   Dick Wolf claims he chose Chicago over Law & Order’s NYC to be different but if you don’t think it’s because of the name you’re kidding yourself (future overseas spin off The Great London Fire?  Think about it).

Guys With Kids – 9/26

Jimmy Fallon co-created this sitcom which stars Law & Order verteran Anthony Anderson, Whitest Kid U Know Zach Cregger, and general actor who is in a bunch of things but no one super notable role Jesse Bradford as three dads with young kids, “desperately trying to remain dudes” as the official NBC web site tells us.  Two are married, one is divorced.  Anderson is married to Cosby Show daughter Tempest Bledsoe and Cregger is married to Sopranos daughter Jamie-Lynn Sigler.  Can they remain “cool” with little kiddies by their side?  Only time will tell.  It seems incredibly uninspired but who knows these days.

Verdict – 13- – it’s got the Jimmy Fallon backing and early reports say that it might be better than I instinctively thought (any show about dudes trying to remain dudes just reeks off the bat but comedies are less premise dependent than dramas) But again, it’s NBC so I have to assume that a fair amount of their shows will get cancelled.

The New Normal – 9/11

Ryan Murphy kind of owns television these days.  Glee is still going str…well, going.  American Horror Story made some splashes last fall and will be back.  And this year he’s got a more traditional comedy featuring a less traditional group of folks.  A career oriented gay couple decides they want a kid, and hire a surrogate mother from the Midwest who has an 8 year old kid of her own who comes out west where they live.  She’s accompanied by her racist, homophobic grandmother (I’m kind of guessing about the racist, homophobic part).  And now, they’re THE NEW NORMAL.  It smells a lot like Modern Family, for better or worse.

Verdict:  Renewal – Ryan Murphy’s on something of a role these days, and what network wouldn’t kill for even a shot at the next Modern Family, which will be winning Best Comedy Emmys like Rafael Nadal wins French Opens (Congrats Andy Murray by the way!).

Revolution – 9/17

JJ Abrams 101.  A post-apocalyptic future where the power is out, for good.  Without electricity, the world descends into chaos with militias and warlords and what not ruling their own patches of earth.  Is the supernatural involved?  Who knows.  Our own roving band of misfits is being pursued by a particular militia.  Actors included Twilight grad Billy Burke, Lost grad Elizabeth Mitchell (and a star of V, cementing her sci-fi TV cred), Gustavo Fring himself, Giancarlo Esposito, and a bunch of relative newbies.  After failure after failure (see:  Terra Nova, The Event, V., Flashforward), hope for the next Lost remains.

Verdict: Renewal – I know this is wrong, I just know it, I’m making the exact same mistake I made with Terra Nova, but man, one of these shows has to succeed eventually, right, or they’d stop making them?  Plus the JJ Abrams imprimatuer could buy it a couple of extra episodes at least?  Maybe?

Fall 2012 Review: Go On

16 Aug

In Go On, Matthew Perry plays sports talk radio host Ryan King, who we find out is being suspended temporarily from his radio program to  to deal with the sudden death of his wife.  Before he can come back, his bosses mandate that he must take a 10 session course with others who have lost loved ones, in order to have some proof he’s appropriately dealt with his grief.  King naturally wants nothing to do with this; he doesn’t want to talk about his feelings, but rather wants to get right back to his outrageous sports shock jock broadcasting.  He reluctantly goes to his forced counseling sessions, and when the leader is absent, he takes control of the room of misfits, having them compete to see who has the saddest sob story (if only George Costanza had been a contestant).  When the actually group head arrives, he refuses to take part in her hippie-dippie share-your-feelings exercises, and demands that she sign his form so that he can go back to work.  In his short time attempting to ignore the leader’s instructions in the group, he gets one of the younger members to share about his traumatic experience.  Frustrated, the leader signs the form, but then when King goes back, he has a screaming incident after interviewing Terrell Owens (good sports get!) and realizes that maybe he needs therapy more than he originally thought.  He then voluntarily returns to the group, where he leads the band of merry misfits in  an uplifting activity.

Here’s my first issue.  I’ve never particularly liked Matthew Perry.  I never liked Friends, but I haven’t seen all that many episodes, and though I watched a disturbing amount of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Perry had little to do with why that show was such a disaster.  Probably the primary reason I have an intuitive dislike of Perry is his ability to constantly come off as smug, and smugness is one of my least favorite qualities in a person.  Immediately Perry began to rub me the wrong way in Go On, and though that’s probably partly the intent, it forced me to lower my expectations just a couple of minutes into the episode.

Additionally, It’s hard to watch this show as a Community fan and not think of it in comparison; the premise is that an arrogant, self-centered jerk is forced to take a pause in his career to spend some time with a diverse group of fuck ups who all have some quirky issues, and that this jerk must learn how to become a little less jerky, and does, through the input of the group, while helping lead them through dealing with their issues.

The problem of course is that this isn’t Community.  While Community didn’t manage to flesh out its chracters either until at least halfway through the first season (the first few were the Jeff, Britta, super weird Abed and others show), the pilot was very funny.  If I dissect Go On and look at the parts inside, I can see exactly where the writers scientifically put in all the elements; the wacky side characters, the heart, King’s possible evolution as a person, and such, but the writing’s not as good and it just doesn’t come together the same way.  There’s really only one real character in the first episode, and that’s Perry, and he doesn’t quite have the charisma to sell the show by himself.

Comedy’s a tough game and it takes more than 22 minutes to develop the elements for success, especially when in the first episode time is wasted explaining how we got to where we are, an explanation that should never need to be repeated again.  With that in mind though, in the pilot you hope to see just enough of certain elements that if you model future episodes in your brain these elements flesh out logically into funny, well developed episodes.  This takes a lot of guesswork, and while truly awful shows are obvious from about 3 minutes in (try watching Anger Management or Men at Work), the good shows need time.  However, forced to make a guess here, I’m not seeing it.

Will I watch it again?  I’m not going to watch the next episode.  It’s a comedy, and successful or not,  it is actually trying to be good comedy (it’s not a CBS multicamera sitcom) so I’ll be open to the possibility of chatter that the show is really finding its legs or “hitting the jukebox.”  If I had to guess, I would guess that it won’t, but I’ve been wrong before.

Addendum:  Although a few of the group members are wacky, and they barely have names in this episode, I regret omitting originally my relatively new review segment of “Wacky Side Character Alert” if only because I didn’t pause to comment on the work of Brett Gelman who plays a super creepy nameless guy who is by far the wackiest, and is better known by me for his exemplary work as Brett on Adult Swim’s Eagleheart.