The upfronts: NBC

What’s Out
Heroes – not really a big surprise to anyone. The ratings have been on a steady decline as they tried to stretch what was clearly a one-season-wonder out with generally increasing shoddiness. There’s some talk of a final few episodes to allow them to tie up any lose ends, but I for one won’t miss the show as I gave up on it a season and a half ago.

The bigger surprise was the cancellation of Law & Order, the longest-running TV show in history (depending on who you ask) will not be returning for a 21st season. It’s helped launch hundreds of careers, several spin-offs and many would say an entire genre. I’ve never watched it so don’t mourn it personally, but more as a slightly sad end to an institution.

Of 2009-10’s freshmen, Mercy and Trauma both got the axe. I didn’t bother with Mercy after I judged the pilot to be Grey’s Anatomy Light. The cancellation of Trauma was pretty inevitable given the expensive price tag and low ratings, but I’m still confused why it wasn’t more popular and I’ll miss the characters.

What’s Back
Turns out NBC is full of shows I have barely even heard of let alone watch. The only freshman to survive was Parenthood, the pilot of which I thought was ok, but didn’t make me rush out to watch the rest of the series. Chuck is also back, despite not great ratings it somehow survived the cut yet again to the great delight of its obsessed fans. 30 Rock, Law & Order: SVU, The Office and Parks and Recreation all return but I don’t watch any of them. The only other thing I do watch that’s kind of on NBC is (best show on television?) Friday Night Lights through it’s special deal which sees it air on cable months ahead of running on NBC.

What’s New
It’s apparently the year of the lawyer and the love-seeking sap.

  • OutlawJimmy Smits is a Supreme Court Justice who resigns so that he can go back to helping individual people. You had me at Jimmy Smits.
  • Harry’s LawKathy Bates stars in David E. Kelley’s new legal thing. You had me at Kathy Bates.
  • Law & Order: Los Angeles – They may as well have called this show Same Old Plot: Same Old City. Does the world really need a third new legal drama and yet another show set in LA.
  • Undercovers – Two retired, married CIA agents are reactivated. J.J. Abrams takes on Mr & Mrs Smith and if the trailer is anything to go by, he’s trying too hard.
  • ChaseJerry Bruckheimer brings his usual budget, explosions, running and shooting this time to US Marshals. I was uninspired by the trailer.
  • The Event – It’s about some kind of giant government conspiracy, with interweaving plots and threads, some of which do look interesting. But is coming just as FlashForward and Heroes are cancelled a little bit risky?
  • The Cape – A cop is forced to become a vigilante, taking on the disguise of his son’s favourite comic hero. I quite like the look of this one, it’s a pretty old school super-hero type thing, a nice balance between overdone cheese and actually looking like it might have some heart.
  • Love Bites – The lives of a whole collection of characters as they look for love. The trailer simultaneously managed to have too many plots and not enough of them. Looked like a horrible muddle of irritating people.
  • Friends With Benefits – This didn’t look too bad actually, but rather bizarrely they’re recasting a couple of the roles, so I guess they think it has problems but potential.
  • The Paul Reiser Show – The guy from Mad About You got old and seems to have written a semi-autobiographical show. I struggle to get past the ego issues, but I did quite like the trailer.
  • Perfect Couples – three couples working their way through blah blah, finding together blah blah. The trailer seems to indicate they’re horrible and hate each other, but I guess that might appeal to some people.
  • Outsourced – An Indian call centre, an American manager. Racial stereotyping hilarity ensues. Kill me now.

NBC upfront coverage at TVSquad, Ausiello Files and The Futon Critic

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  1. May 20th, 2010
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