Tuesday, May 18, 2010

TV Upfront Week: NBC

Its that time of year again! Its time for TV Upfronts, where the networks present their fall schedules to advertisers in an effort to secure revenue for ad space. First up this week was NBC. Over the years, NBC has been a fraction of the network it once was. Once a dual powerhouse in both drama and comedy, the network has become, in recent years, a dumping ground for bad dramas(My Own Worst Enemy, Kidnapped) and reality shows(100 Questions). All the while, the network seemed to focus more on developing their comedies. So, I was pleasantly surprised when I watched the trailers to the new fall dramas and saw what appears to be quality TV! I know its not likely all will succeed, but they all looked very interesting, and even better, made me want to watch them.

The Event  is the most mysterious and mythology laden show in NBC's arsenal. It follows intersecting stories between The President learning of a government cover up and a young man's search for his seemingly kidnapped girlfriend. The question though...what is The Event?

The Chase is your standard cop serial but with an added jolt of Jerry Bruckheimer high-octane action. It follows cops as they track down criminals who are on the run. Out of all the dramas, this is the one I'm least interested in, but it still looks exciting. Making their return to TV is Amaury Nolasco (Prison Break) and Cole Hauser (K-Ville).

Undercovers is the new show from the mind of J.J. Abrams. It will live and die by the chemistry of its main stars: Boris Kodjoe (Surrogates) and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Larry Crowne, Doctor Who). Good thing Abrams has Felicity, Alias, LOST, Fringe, and Star Trek under his belt, he's certainly proven himself with casting.

Outlaw, starring Jimmy Smitts, looks really good. It was my favorite of the trailers and I really dig the premise. What I dont like, though, is that NBC stuck it at 10pm on FRIDAY! Thats like admitting to the public you want it to fail. Time will tell I guess...

Harry's Law is from David E. Kelly (The Practice, Ally McBeal, Boston Public, Boston Legal), one of the most successful TV producers of our time. I like the choice of Kathy Bates to bring out the quick wit in her character, Harriet. This one pops up around mid-season.

The Cape is the story of Vince Faraday, a lone good cop in a town full of corruption. He is framed as the ruthless criminal, Chess, and is forced to go underground. With the help of a circus leader, played by the under-used Keith David and a blogger played by Summer Glau, Vince becomes The Cape, a masked hero determined to fight off the corrupt and to clear his name.

Out of NBC's new Comedies there were two that I thought looked very good.

Outsourced sounded terrible on paper, but the trailer won me over. The show actually looks pretty funny.

The second comedy is an hour long show called Love Bites.

Love Bites didn't look as promising until I saw the appearence of Greg Grunberg and Craig Robinson: 2 very funny dudes. Also, I gained total confidence in the series when I saw it was from the creative team behind Love Actually, which is the best romantic comedy I have ever seen.

So there you have it, Day 1 of Upfront Week! I'll be back with more thoughts and coverage tomorrow!

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