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Indoor Cat’s Guide to… NBC Fall Previews

So, as I’ve mentioned, this week is the network upfronts, where the major networks (NBC, Fox, ABC, CBS, and arguably The CW) present their fall TV shows and schedules to reporters and advertisers. The best part of this week is the trailers/clips that come out for the various shows, so that people can judge them. Now, either I’m going soft in my ripe old age of 26, or next fall’s shows look way more promising than the last few years. (And that would make sense, because it’s been a while since a season has seen multiple major hits.)

First up on Monday was NBC. I was very cynical about NBC, and given their recent track record, I don’t think that an unwise position. The descriptions of their new shows were not incredibly intriguing, but the pilots are a different story. NBC has only released trailers for the fall shows; the midseason replacements Save Me, 1600 Penn, Next Caller, Do No Harm, Infamous and Hannibal do not have anything to judge yet. Bummer, I know. But for their falls shows, there’s plenty to judge.

Go On is a sitcom starring Matthew Perry as a radio sportscaster who has recently lost his wife in a car accident- she was texting and driving, always a dangerous combo. He has to complete 10 hours of therapy in order to return to work. Obviously, if the show wants to go on, it’ll end up being quite a bit more than 10 hours. So, anyway, he goes to group therapy, where he’s obviously going to have feelings for the group leader, and he’s going to reinvigorate the group- a guy who hasn’t talked to anyone about his problems in 2 months talks to Matthew Perry’s character, and everyone has fun with March Sadness, a bracket approach to finding out which group member’s life sucks the most. I was originally kind of against this show, thinking it was going to be more of Matthew Perry’s bitter/cynical schtick, and while it is, it seems to have heart to it, which I always love. Verdict: Season pass.

The New Normal is another show I originally planned to pass on. From creator Ryan Murphy, who I find very hit and miss, The New Normal is about a girl who agrees to be a surrogate for a gay couple. However, after watching the trailer, I’m really excited about this show. Once again, it seems to have a lot of heart to it. The girl’s grandmother is a bigoted, hateful wench, but she is put in her place by the girl, who insists that a family is a family, and love is love, a sentiment I support whole-heartedly.Justin Bartha plays one half of the gay couple, and NeNe Leaks, who has made hilarious recurring appearances on Glee this season, plays one of their employees. Verdict: Season pass.

Animal Practice is House if House treated animals. Dr. George Coleman “treats the people like animals and the animals like kings.” When his ex is put in charge of his practice, he has to learn to be a little fairer to the two-legged creatures. The best part of this show is most definitely Zaius the monkey, who rides around on a little remote controlled ambulance!! Verdict: Season pass.

Things take a small turn here with Guys With Kids. This stars Anthony Anderson (love!), Jesse Bradford (ya know, from Bring It On), and another dude, and all three of them are in different kinds of relationships, but all of them have kids. Anthony Anderson stays at home with the kids; the other dude works and has a stay-at-home wife, and Jess Bradford is divorced and uses his kid as a wing-man. While the trailer has a few humorous parts, I’m  pretty certain this is going to be cancelled by mid-season. I would say sooner, but NBC has been showing patience with shows lately. Verdict: Episode-by-episode DVRing until this show proves itself one way or the other, or gets cancelled, whichever comes first.

Now for the dramas. One looks promising, the other reminds me of Trauma or that one about nurses from the other season- I think it was called Mercy.

The promising one is Revolution. It stars Billy Burke, aka the only good thing about the Twilight movies. The story picks up 15 years after all technology has ceased working. Cars, planes, TVs, even batteries- nothing works. Small communities have formed, as well as small militias run by warlords. Billy Burke is off trying to keep a low-profile, when his nephew is kidnapped by one of these militias, and his niece seeks him out to help save her brother. I think it looks good. Because I think it looks good, it will be cancelled. I think it’ll get a full season in before getting cancelled, like The Event or Flash Forward, but I think like both of those shows, it’s a one-and-done show. Verdict: Season pass while I can!

Finally, there’s Chicago Fire. Starring Jesse Spencer from House, it chronicles the lives and losses of a Chicago fire station. There seem to be two different types of firefighters, truck and squad, and they’re at odds evidently. This was brought to us by Dick Wolf, so obviously I want it to be good, but I think the casting director went for face/brawn over acting ability, so I don’t have high hopes for it. Verdict: Will run it’s 13 episodes and then go quietly into that good night.

Now, I will say, I’m not perfect at this stuff. I haven’t kept a tight record of what I get right/wrong in cancellation predictions, but I know I’ve done really well the last few seasons. Especially with NBC, who is fairly unpredictable given their desperation!

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