For most people, Christmas Day brings an overwhelming sense of giddy anticipation. For me, it’s the week of upfronts when all the TV networks announce their new fall shows. This is our first chance as TV critics and experts to view all the brand new shows that NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX and The CW are hoping to capture viewers’ attention. When I click play on clips of each show, it’s like opening up a shiny new present. Thanks to the explosion of video on the Internet, now you can get in on the action early as well. Here’s my take on NBC’s seven new scripted shows (slotted for the fall) with links to where you can preview the shows as well. I’ll reserve final judgment until I see the full pilot episodes in July.
“The Event” - Every network is looking for the next “Lost” and NBC is certainly not hiding it. NBC’s tag line for this new thriller calls it, “A suspense-filled journey where the answers only lead to bigger questions.” Well, gee that sounds familiar, right? Audiences are now sophisticated enough to follow a mysterious storyline with endless twists and turns and very few answers - but they don’t always go along for the journey as we saw with ABC’s “Flash Forward,” which will not be back for a second season due to low viewership.
“The Event” is a conspiracy thriller that follows Sean Walker (Jason Ritter, “The Class”), an average guy who investigates the mysterious disappearance of his fiancee, Leila (Sarah Roemer, “Disturbia”), and unwittingly begins to expose the biggest cover-up in U.S. history. What’s that cover up? We don’t know anything about it other than it being called “The Event.” The show also stars Laura Innes from “E.R.” and Blair Underwood (“Dirty Sexy Money” and “LA Law”) as the newly elected president.
After watching a preview, I’m intrigued. Then again, I was also intrigued by “FlashForward,” which turned into a big old, hot mess. So, I’ll watch with trepidation.
View a preview of “The Event” HERE.
Mondays 9 PM ET/PT.
“Chase” - Executive Producer Jerry Bruckheimer gets his first show on NBC. This one is about a group of U.S. Marshals led by Annie Frost (Kelli Giddish, “Past Life”), who likes to stay one step ahead of the outlaws. While it may have been pitched as an ensemble (Cole Hauser, Amaury Nolasco and Jesse Metcalfe also star), it’s clear that NBC is pitching this to be Kelli’s show. The tagline states, “When Annie Come Gunning, Start Running.” Cheesy!
From what I have seen, this type of show is not my cup of tea and Metcalfe seems miscast as a rookie marshal. It seems like he would be better served in a soapy drama or a single camera comedy.
View a preview of “Chase” HERE.
Mondays 10 PM ET/PT.
“Undercovers” - Think “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” meets “Hart To Hart” with a little “Date Night” thrown in. Two married former CIA operatives (Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw) are living the boring life in suburbia until they are drawn back into the CIA, and their marriage gets spiced back up. While not as sexually charged as “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” their chemistry seems somewhere smack in the middle of Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie and Tina Fey/Steve Carell. I like the concept, but I’m not sold yet on the casting.
View a preview of “Undercovers” HERE.
Wednesdays 8 PM ET/PT.
“Law & Order: Los Angeles” - No previews were available yet for this show, but producing off-shoot shows of the L&O franchise worked for “SVU” and “Criminal Intent.” Plus, with CBS’s “NCIS: Los Angeles” doing gangbusters for that network, I’m thinking this could be a hit.
Wednesdays 10 PM ET/PT.
“Outsourced” - A comedy about a call center manager who is shipped off to India when his call center is outsourced. Think of it as a clash of culture comedy. It could be a perfect fit to go along with “The Office” and “30 Rock” or it could offend a whole lot of people. At least it’s a show with a premise we haven’t seen before. Does anyone pick up anything other than cop, legal and medical shows? Perhaps we need to start outsourcing our development executives?
Check out a preview of “Outsourced” HERE.
Thursdays 9:30 PM ET/PT.
“Love Bites” - Since the heyday of “Sex and The City,” there hasn’t been much success in the scripted “love” show genre (RIP - ABC’s “Romantically Challenged”). That didn’t deter NBC from picking up this one-hour dramedy exploring marriage-ville, relationship land and single town. It’s got a cute quirky cast whom I love — including Becki Newton (“Ugly Betty”), Greg Grunberg (“Heroes) and Jordana Spiro (“My Boys”) — but even that might not be able to sway viewers to watch. Fake romance we can’t swallow, yet somehow viewers still flock to “The Bachelor/Bachelorette,” which continues to thrive.
Check out a preview of “Love Bites” HERE.
Thursdays 10 PM ET/PT.
“Outlaw” - A Supreme Court justice (Jimmy Smits) resigns from the highest court in the land to return to practicing law among the people. If NBC is dumping this on a Friday night, it’s not giving me much hope they actually believe in it.
Check out a preview of “Outlaw” HERE.
Fridays 10 PM ET/PT.