Network Upfront week is almost here! Have you been a good boy/girl this television season? Did you write a letter to your favorite network head asking them for a sleigh full of good shows? If not, you only have 2 more weeks.
Every May, once the regular television season is over, the TV networks hold what is known as Upfronts. Basically, they announce which of their programs will be on next year, which will be cancelled, and spend some time introducing the new shows they plan on rolling out in the fall(ish). Each of the major networks gets their own news cycle to bring out their (current and soon to be) stars to spin and promote the new fall schedule.
The main audience for the Upfront is not the public, but advertisers. The presentations are done so that sponsors can see what the network has planned, and decide whether or not to purchase ad time (or product placement spots) "upfront." These used to be big, lavish affairs meant to wine and dine, but since the strike last year, recession this year, and the general state the TV business is in right now, the Upfronts have become more like a glorified press conference.
The major networks don't hold their Upfronts until the week of May 18, but today NBC got a leg up on the competition by holding what they stupidly call an "Infront" presentation. During this presentation NBC announced what new shows (pilots) they decided to pick up for the 09-10 TV season. They have yet to announce time slots, release their full schedule or announce what existing shows will be picked up or cancelled; that will be done in 2 weeks.
4 new dramas and 2 new comedies were picked up by the network. 2 look like they have potential, 3 look like nothing special, and 1 I have no idea about. None of the new shows NBC premiered last fall are on the air anymore, so they can only go up from here. After the jump, take a look at video clips of each show (with descriptions). Which look good to you?
To me, this comedy looks like the best of the group. It would fit in well with NBC's Thursday night comedy schedule. It stars Joel McHale (from E!'s "The Soup"), Chevy Chase, and others as a diverse group of adults attending a community college who form a study group and "end up learning a lot more about themselves than they do about their course work." It's from two of the better writers of "Arrested Development"
Remember that hit 1989 Steve Martin movie "Parenthood?" Remember the 1990 bomb of a sitcom based on the movie "Parenthood?" (Probably not, it only lasted an episode or two.) Well nearly 20 years later NBC is trying again with the more dramatic version of "Parenthood" - with comedic undertones. It stars nearly every single television actor from the past 15 years; I'm not going to name them all. It's from super producers Ron Howard & Brian Grazer, developed by "Friday Night Lights" exec. producer Jason Katims. To me, it looks like ABC's "Brothers & Sisters" with more kids and maybe a little less angst. It's the other show I think might have some potential.
Trauma & Mercy
Those are the names of 2 new medical dramas. "Trauma" is a more action-intense drama about first responding paramedics. "Mercy" is a more emotional, character driven drama focusing on a group of nurses at a particular hospital. Neither of them look like they are reinventing the wheel. Basically it looks like NBC decided to cancel "ER," a medical drama with both emotional, character driven elements and intense action life-saving elements, and in its place create 2 new shows to cover each of those elements.
While "Trauma" and "Mercy" are a throw back to NBC's "ER" heydays in the '90s, "100 Days" is yet another attempt to clone the success of "Friends," while also being a second rate knock off of CBS' excellent "How I Met Your Mother." It's a romantic comedy sitcom about a girl who just can't seem to find Mr. Right. She goes to a dating service, and they ask her a survey of 100 questions about her life/personality/relationships. With each question, comes an episode-long flashback at her life, her crazy friends, and all the life lessons they learned while facing adulthood in NYC. I think I've seen it before. NO THANKS!
There is no footage available for this post-apocalyptic drama. The series tells the story of a group of survivors' life on earth following a global catastrophe that has devastated the world's infrastructures. Sounds pretty bleak. It may appeal to the niche "Lost," "Jericho," "BSG," sci-fi crowd, but too dark to appeal to a mass audience. I'll have to hold off judgement for now.
That's all there is until the Upfronts in 2 weeks. There would be more shows, but NBC's decision to move Jay Leno to the 10pm time slot Monday through Friday eliminated 5 hours of potential scripted shows (as well as numerous jobs working on those shows).
So which of these shows do you want to see more of? Which of them did you want to turn off before the 4 minute clip was over?