Sunday, May 16, 2010

NBC's Fall Schedule!

5:30 pm ETA: Video clips of new series!

The Live Feed over at The Hollywood Reporter managed to snag the NBC 2010 Fall schedule before the upfront presentation.

7:00 Chuck
8:00 The Event
9:00 Chase

7-9:00 Biggest Loser
9:00 Parenthood

7:00 Undercovers
8:00 Law & Order: SVU
9:00 Law & Order: Los Angeles

7:00 Community
7:30 Rock
8:00 The Office
8:30 Outsourced
9:00 Love Bites

7:00 Who Do You Think You Are / School Pride
8:00 Dateline
9:00 Outlaw (AKA Garza)

Break down of each night and descriptions of the new series after the jump.

For each night I'll break down the new series and give official loglines (if available) or a brief description of the show and the production team before I give my first impressions. 

The theme of Monday's on NBC seems to be action.  Good way to start off the week and nice to finally have more appropriate programs available to pair with Chuck (though I think Undercovers would have been better).

8:00 pm (CST) The Event

"The Event" is an emotional high-octane conspiracy thriller that follows Sean Walker (Jason Ritter, "The Class"), an Everyman who investigates the mysterious disappearance of his fiancée, Leila (Sarah Roemer, "Disturbia"), and unwittingly begins to expose the biggest cover-up in U.S. history.  Sean's quest will send ripples through the lives of an eclectic band of strangers, including: newly elected U.S. President Martinez (Blair Underwood, "Dirty Sexy Money"); Sophia (Emmy Award nominee Laura Innes, "ER"), who is the leader of a mysterious group of detainees; and Sean’s shadowy father-in-law (Scott Patterson, "Gilmore Girls").  Their futures are on a collision course in a global conspiracy that could ultimately change the fate of mankind. Ian Anthony Dale ("Daybreak") and Emmy winner Željko Ivanek (“Damages”) also star in the ensemble drama.
“The Event” is a production of Universal Media Studios and Steve Stark Productions. Stark (“Medium,” “Facing Kate”) serves as executive producer, Nick Wauters ("The 4400," "Eureka") is creator/co-executive producer and Jeffrey Reiner (“Friday Night Lights,” “Trauma”) is the director/executive producer.  (source THR)
My cynical first response?  I give three weeks tops.  There are some great supporting players here (Zeljko Ivanek could make the phone book compelling) but I don't see Ritter as been a strong enough actor to anchor a show like this.  I've always found him a bit bland.

I also find the lack of character description in connection with the oh so vague "global conspiracy that could ultimately change the fate of mankind" disconcerting.  With all of Lost inspired failures we've seen over the last five it seems like producers still haven't gotten the message: "it's the characters stupid!"  Mythology is great, I really love it, all my favorite shows have it.  But I can only get invested in the mythology if I care about the characters (see cancellation of Flashforward).  

With the global scale and large supporting cast this is probably a pretty expensive show so if it doesn't do well right out of the gate, it with probably disappear pretty quickly.  I'll reserve final judgment obviously, but I'm not optimistic.

ETA: Clips

9:00 pm (CST) Chase

"Chase" is a fast-paced drama that drops viewers smack into the middle of a game of cat-and-mouse as a team of U.S. marshals hunts down America's most dangerous fugitives.  Kelli Giddish ("Past Life") stars as U.S. Marshal Annie Frost, a cowboy boot-wearing deputy whose sharp mind and unique Texas upbringing help her track down the violent criminals on the run. 
Cole Hauser ("K-Ville"), Amaury Nolasco ("Prison Break"), Rose Rollins ("The L Word") and Jesse Metcalfe ("Desperate Housewives") also star as members of Frost's elite team.  

"Chase" is produced by Bonanza Productions Inc., in association with Jerry Bruckheimer Television and Warner Bros. Television.  Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman ("CSI" franchise, "The Amazing Race," "Cold Case") and Johnson serve as executive producers, while KristieAnne Reed is co-executive producer.  David Nutter ("The Mentalist," "Without a Trace" "The X-Files") directed and is executive producer of the pilot which was written by Johnson.  (Source: NBC)
My response to this is basically "eh" *shrug*.  Being a Bruckheimer crime procedural it seems like it would be a better fit at CBS.  It's also likely, if CBS & ABC aren't changing up their Monday schedule, to be up against CSI Miami & Castle and I'm not sure how this series is going to differentiate itself enough to draw viewers from those shows.  The cast is decent but no one I'm dying to see.  I doubt this will be on my "must see" list this fall.  

ETA: Clips

7:00 pm (CST) Undercovers

"Undercovers" is a sexy, fun, action-packed spy drama that proves once and for all that marriage is still the world's most dangerous partnership.  Outwardly, Steven Bloom (Boris Kodjoe, "Tyler Perry's Madea's Family Reunion," "Soul Food," "Resident Evil: Afterlife") and his wife, Samantha (Gugu Mbatha-Raw, "Doctor Who," "Bonekickers"), are a typical married couple who own a small catering company in Los Angeles and are helped by Samantha's easily frazzled younger sister, Lizzy (Jessica Parker Kennedy, "Smallville").  

Secretly, the duo were two of the CIA's best spies until they fell in love on the job five years ago and retired.  When fellow spy and friend Nash (Carter MacIntyre, "American Heiress") goes missing while on the trail of a Russian arms dealer, the Blooms are reinstated by boss Carlton Shaw (Gerald McRaney, "Deadwood") to locate and rescue Nash.  The pair is thrust back into the world of espionage as they follow leads that span the globe -- and Steven and Samantha realize that this supercharged, undercover lifestyle provides the excitement and romance that their marriage has been missing.  Also starring is Ben Schwartz (NBC's "Parks and Recreation").

"Undercovers" is from Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Bad Robot Productions and Warner Bros. Television.  The pilot was written by J.J. Abrams & Josh Reims and directed by Abrams.  Abrams, Reims and Bryan Burk ("Fringe," "Lost, "Alias") are the executive producers. 
(Source: NBC)
This is the series I'm probably most excited for this fall.  I love JJ Abrams and, while he does have his faults (see time-traveling Felicity & the convoluted conclusion to Alias), he's a pretty fantastic producer and director.  The "Mr & Mrs Smith"-esq plot is also incredibly fun.  I'm a bit surprised that they didn't pair this series with Chuck unless they thought it was too much spy couples for one night.  (Maybe if The Event gets pulled). 

I'm also incredibly psyched about the casting.   A major network series with two black actors as the leads? Totally awesome and it's about damn time!  (I also love seeing Doctor Who cast members over here.  And yes, I'm still bitter about Rex).   Oh, and now that Heroes has been finally put to rest, how soon until Abrams pal Greg Grunberg joins the cast?  

ETA: Clips

9:00 pm (CST) Law & Order: Los Angeles

The new "LOLA" ("Law & Order: Los Angeles") is a procedural crime drama that will follow the theme and storylines similar to the "Law & Order"-brand series on the streets of Los Angeles.  The series, from executive producer Dick Wolf and Blake Masters ("Brotherhood"), is a Wolf Films production in association with Universal Media Studios.  Casting and pre-production work are continuing. (Source: NBC)
It's Law & Order.  In Los Angeles.  It'll be interesting to see how the casting shakes out.  That could really make or break it.  I imagine they'll try to get at least one big name to play a DA.  I imagine the pilot will debut to huge numbers because of curiosity and then taper off.  

It's so hard to imagine Law & Order without NYC.  (I've been meaning to watch L&O:UK because of Jamie Bamber and Freema Agyeman but I haven't gotten around to downloading it.)

NBC is playing it safe keeping to all comedy Thursdays.  They are holding back Parks & Recreations until midseason though which folks on Twitter seem to think is a big mistake.  The series has become something of a critical darling and with the high profile Rob Lowe joining the cast they seem to have a momentum going that might be disrupted by a long hiatus.  Might be better to hold 30 Rock back.

8:30 pm (CST) Outsourced

“Outsourced” is a comedy where the Midwest meets the exotic East in a hilarious culture clash. The series centers on the all-American company Mid America Novelties that sells whoopee cushions, foam fingers and wallets made of bacon -- and whose call center has suddenly been outsourced to India. Todd Dempsy (Ben Rappaport, off-Broadway's “The Gingerbread House”) is the new company’s manager who learns that he’s being transferred to India to run the operation. 
Overwhelmed, Todd discovers that his new staff needs a crash course in all things American if they are to understand the U.S. product line and ramp up sales from halfway around the world. But as strange as America seems to his eclectic sales team, Todd soon realizes that figuring out India will be more than a full-time job. Rizwan Manji (“Privileged”), Sacha Dhawan (BBC’s “Five Days II”), Rebecca Hazlewood (BBC’s “Doctors”), Parvesh Cheena (“Help Me Help You”), and Anisha Nagarajan (Broadway’s “Bombay Dreams”) also star as members of Dempsy’s off-shore team; Diedrich Bader (“The Drew Carey Show”) and Jessica Gower (Network Ten’s “The Secret Life of Us”) additionally star. 
“Outsourced” is produced by Universal Media Studios. Robert Borden (“The Drew Carey Show” and “George Lopez”) is executive producer/writer. Ken Kwapis (“The Office”) developed the project through his company, In Cahoots, and serves as executive producer/director. Alex Beattie serves as co-executive producer.  (Source: THR)
This is another series I'm very excited about.  I love the concept, combining work place & cultural conflicts might end up being really hysterical and you've producers who've dealt with these issues before.  It feels like something the audience can easily connect to.  I also love the idea of raising the profile of so many Indian actors and actresses.  I'm really pulling for this show (and it'll have to do well because P&R will be waiting in the wings if it gets pulled).

ETA: Clips

9:00 pm (CST) Love Bites

From Emmy Award-winning writer-producer Cindy Chupack (“Sex and the City”), “Love Bites” is an hour-long romantic comedy anthology series featuring three loosely connected, modern stories of love, sex, marriage and dating. Each episode contains multiple vignettes, all illuminating the theme of love with an edgy, irreverent spin. Becki Newton (“Ugly Betty”) stars as Annie and Jordana Spiro (“My Boys”) stars as Frannie, the last two single girls standing after all of their friends get married. Annie is an infectiously bubbly optimist and Frannie is an always-a-bridesmaid realist. Their story will anchor the series, while other romantically-challenged characters will come and go each week. 

The pilot's guest cast includes Jennifer Love Hewitt (“Ghost Whisperer”), Greg Grunberg (“Heroes”), Craig Robinson (“The Office”), Jason Lewis (“Sex and the City”), Lindsay Price (“Lipstick Jungle”), Larry Wilmore (“The Daily Show”), Charlyne Yi (“Knocked Up”), Pamela Adlon (“Californication”), Stacy Galina (“Hidden Hills”), Brian Hallisay (“Privileged”), Kyle Howard (“My Boys”) and Steve Howey (“Bride Wars”). 

“Love Bites” is a production of Universal Media Studios and Working Title Television, which is a new division of Working Title Films (the U.K. production company behind box office hits including “Love Actually,” “Bridget Jones's Diary” and “Four Weddings and a Funeral”). Chupack is creator, executive producer and writer. Emmy Award-winning producer-director Marc Buckland (“My Name Is Earl”) also is executive producer and directs the pilot. Eric Fellner, Tim Bevan and Shelley McCrory from Working Title Television are executive producers. “Love Bites” is Working Title Television’s first U.S. commission. (Source: THR)
Hmm, I can't decide if this is going to be cute or vomit inducing.  (Full disclosure, I don't like Sex & the City and I hate Bridget Jones's Diary with a fiery passion.  I find the ways both texts co-opt the language of feminism offensive.)  I do love Becki Newton & Jordan Spiro though so if I even bother to check this out it will be because of them.     

ETA: Clips

7:00 pm (CST) School Pride

In "School Pride," cameras will follow students, teachers and parents as they motivate their community to renovate the school. Making use of local businesses and skilled local labor, the community will make over classrooms, public spaces, art and music halls, and athletic facilities. The work will include everything from re-painting and re-carpeting to improving the utilities, and updating the technology systems of the school.
A team of experts will lend their expertise in the makeover process but it's up to the students, teachers, and community to execute the restoration. As the story of their progress unfolds, multiple surprises will be revealed to them, ultimately concluding with the unveiling of a brand new, completely transformed school. Months later, cameras will revisit the school to discover the lasting effects of the transformation - a renewed sense of school pride and an increase in student achievement scores. The experience at Carver Elementary proved those results. (Source: NBC)
While this series will undoubtedly rely on and perpetuate standard tropes about race, class and gender, (most reality shows do) it's ultimately in service of a worthy and noble cause.  I'd expect to need a box of kleenex on hand when watching. 

9:00 pm (CST) Outlaw

Starring Emmy Award winner Jimmy Smits ("NYPD Blue," "West Wing"), "Outlaw" is a new drama from executive producer John Eisendrath ("Alias," "Felicity," "Playmakers"). Cyrus Garza (Smits) is a Supreme Court justice who abruptly quits the high-level position. A playboy and a gambler, Garza had always adhered to a strict interpretation of the law until he realized the system he believed in was flawed.  Now that he's quit the bench and returned to private practice, he's determined to represent "the little guy" and use his inside knowledge of the justice system to take on today's biggest legal cases.  And he's making plenty of powerful people unhappy along the way.  Jesse Bradford ("West Wing"), Carly Pope ("24"), Ellen Woglom ("Californication") and David Ramsey ("Dexter") also star.  

"Outlaw" is a Universal Media Studios production along with Conaco productions. Eisendrath is executive producer along with Terry George ("Hotel Rwanda," "Reservation Road"), Conan O'Brien, Jeff Ross and David Kissinger ("Andy Barker, P.I.").  "Outlaw" is written by Eisendrath and directed by George. (Source: NBC) 
 9:00 pm on Friday with Dateline as your lead in even though you have a star like Smits and it's an in-house production?  This show already has one foot in the grave.  When the network shows that little confidence in a show it's always a bad sign.  
ETA: Clips

The big question is can NBC recover from the Ben Silverman era with Zucker still at the helm?  Gaspin bungled the Leno/Conan fiasco, but the decision to dump losers like Heroes and Mercy and get into business with people like Abrams shows that NBC may still be able to turn things around.  As they release more information on midseason and trailers for new seasons I'll be posting them here.  

So, what do you think about the schedule and the new series?  Any you are excited for?