NBC's 2014-2015 Schedule: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

By Kaitlin Thomas

May 11, 2014

Upfronts are the equivalent of Hell Week in college. If you weren't a member of a sorority or fraternity, or if you were lucky enough to have friends who didn't haze you in order to prove you wanted to be best friends forever, the gist is basically that it's terrible—which should really be clear by the name. The Upfronts are when networks unveil their new fall schedules (which is why they're preceded by so many renewals and cancellations). They give us the first glimpse of what's to come in the fall, and in some cases, they validate our opinions of whatever pilots we've been enthusiastically anticipating or mocking/dreading for months. But mostly, Upfronts are when we gather together as a TV family and yell, "Oh my God, they canceled Community for THAT?" NBC, which actually finished first in the ratings this year (no, you're not drunk, it's true), is up first, so let's break down the good, the bad, and the ugly from the network's new schedule.

First thing first: Here's NBC's full 2014-2015 schedule.

And here are the first trailers for NBC's six new fall showsMarry MeA to ZState of AffairsThe Mysteries of LauraConstantine, and Bad Judge. (Editor's Note: NBC did not release trailers for its midseason shows, so we're only discussing things in terms of the fall TV schedule.)

Now let's get to the good stuff... as well as the bad stuff and the ugly stuff, 'cause that's the whole point of this story!


THE GOOD


NBC is finally making moves to blow up its long-standing Thursday-night comedy block, which has proven in recent years to BE a punchline instead of delivering them. Both The Michael J. Fox Show and Sean Saves the World failed spectacularly this past season, which means it's time to shake things up. In the fall, NBC's Thursdays will be home to The Biggest Loser at 8pm, then a pair of new comedies from 9pm to 10pm, and then the final season of Parenthood at 10pm. And starting in February, the James Spader-starring The Blacklist will leave its post-Voice spot on Mondays to anchor NBC's Thursdays, which puts it up against some juicy competition (unless the rest of the networks pull a 180 on us). Considering it's the network's first real hit in years, this is a pretty smart move. Plus, it'll offer a strong lead-in for the new Russian spy drama Allegiance (which will replace Parenthood in the Thursday-at-10pm spot), which should prove to be a decent combination.


THE BAD


NBC's veteran comedy Parks and Recreation currently doesn't have a spot on the network's schedule. There's still no word on an episode count for Season 7, but after months of speculation, NBC has confirmed that it'll be the show's last. While this is sad news for those of us who are still jamming to that awesome performance of "5,000 Candles In the Wind" from the Season 6 finale, that just means the network is either holding it until midseason or—the more likely option—until something else fails. I guess we'll all just have to play a bunch of Cones of Dunshire while we wait.


THE UGLY


NBC's new dramas seem to have miscast their female leads. Katherine Heigl's State of Affairs is already laughable because Heigl's not exactly believable in the lead role, not to mention the show feels like a poor man's version of Homeland. Alfre Woodard is perfectly cast as the president, but Heigl looks out of her element here. 

And while Debra Messing isn't quite as bad in The Mysteries of Laura, she's also not the greatest choice for the role of a homicide detective. Her saving grace (heh) is that the series looks more like a dramedy than a straight-up serious drama, and we all know she can handle the comedic aspects better anyway.


THE "THIS ALMOST MAKES UP FOR CANCELING COMMUNITY (WHICH IN ALL HONESTY HAD A GOOD RUN)"

The emotionally taxing but (generally) beautifully written Parenthood was renewed for a sixth and final season, and the disturbing but artistically brilliant Hannibal will be back for Season 3. You'll notice the latter isn't on NBC's fall schedule, but that's normal. It'll most likely premiere in the spring, just like it has for the past two years.


Best-looking New NBC Series: Marry Me


Disclaimer: I'm in a one-sided love affair with Ken Marino, but Marry Me, which comes from the creator of Happy Endings and also stars Casey Wilson, is already shaping up to be one of the most promising new comedies of the season. 


Worst-looking New NBC Series: State of Affairs


Former Grey's Anatomy and rom-com star Katherine Heigl as a no-nonsense CIA attaché would be a really funny joke if State of Affairs wasn't a Very Serious Drama. We always had a feeling that it would be terrible, the trailer only proves that Heigl cannot pull of a role of this kind. She ain't Claire Danes, y'all.


The New NBC Series That Should Look Better Than It Does: Constantine

I can't exactly place my finger on what's missing from the Constantine trailer, but there's definitely something keeping it from reaching its highest potential. I do know one thing, though: It sucks that Lucy Griffiths doesn't get to keep her natural accent. Also, was that Dickie Bennett?


The New NBC Series That's Most Likely to Remind You of How Much You Hated the End of How I Met Your Mother: A to Z


To be fair, A to Z looks very cute and I hope it does well. The reason How I Met Your Mother was so successful throughout its run was its unapologetic take on romance in a world that's populated mostly by cynics like myself. A to Z feels like a HIMYM descendent not only because Cristin Milioti—who starred as the Mother in the show's final season—plays the female lead, but because Ben Feldman's character is a true romantic in the essence of Ted Mosby. And when paired with talk about destiny and true love, A to Z feels right out of HIMYM's playbook (no, not that Playbook). The show could very well fill the comedy void left by the Gang's departure in March, but let's all be on alert for the Robin, okay?


How do your first impressions of NBC's new schedule and shows match up to mine? 



Upfronts 2014 HQ:
New Shows, Network Schedules, Video Previews, and More


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  • GASEPOL May 17, 2014

    Weak

  • vampman87 May 17, 2014

    10 bucks says all but two of these will be canceled by the end of the season just like this year.

  • IndianaMom May 15, 2014

    I'm willing to give the new comedies a shot while I wait for Parks & Rec to return.

  • raymundf May 15, 2014

    I am going to watch Constantine. But it still bothers me that they might miss out on all the good stuff in the DC comic book mythology. I like the fact that Constantine is now a cocky Brit, that they got the suit, tie and iconic trenchcoat right including the color, and even the look (the actor is pretty close to comic book version). But the rest looks like it was copied from the Constantine movie with the exception of Keanu Reeves. The Exorcist/Demonologist side of Constantine was only one part of the character, the bigger part was that Constantine was a rebel mage who frightened and pissed off other magical creatures aside from demons. This was the side of him that interacted with the other magic-based characters of the DC/Vetigo Universe - The Phantom Stranger, Swamp Thing, Doctor Occult, Madame Xanadu, Deadman, Zatanna, and my two favourites, The Sandman and Timothy Hunter-Books of Magic. One of the factors which made Arrow successful was the introduction of other DC characters such as Black Canary, Red Arrow/Arsenal, Deadshot, Huntress, Deathstroke, Bronze Tiger, and now the Flash over the last two seasons. Unless they can expand Constantine's universe outside of what is in the movie version, as much as I like the character, I don't think they can make him interesting enough to last even one season.

  • rye06p May 14, 2014

    Wow State of Affairs looks horrid.

  • AndreaAndreev May 13, 2014

    I don't know about you but State of Affairs looks perfect to me.
    A hot blonde actress falls in love with the first son ,plans to become first daughter -in-law and birth a bunch of first grandchildren but while the two of them scout locations for their wedding in the Middle East he dies in a tragic car accident. To cope with his death she lies crying on the bathroom floor of her hotel room till her friends Meredith and Kristina finaly come in and put her into bed.Then she attends the funeral in the white coat she had intended to wear at their wedding with one black rose over her heart and a table napkin around her neck.Her president-almost-mother-in-law-almost-grandmother-of-her-children tries to comfort her by offering her a job at the CIA.Our beautiful but tragic heroine accepts and promises to avenge the First Son-almost-her-husband-almost-father-of -her-children death.
    The job of a CIA agent isn't easy but she gets to wear awesome outfits ( the black leather jacket a personal favourite of mine ) and cool jewelry , give orders while pouring coffee and act all sassy with lame army guy. And the CIA hair saloon is totally free and so hip.The pony-tail hair-do a la Glee cheerleader looks especially good on her and makes her look so very serious and badass.
    However while her professional life is going ok, her love life is a disaster. She tries to fill the void left by The First Son by sleeping with random men and kicking them out of bed in the morning but that doesn't make her feel much better . Even her mother/psychiatrist can't help her.But one evening, wearing her favourite gold earrings, she goes to get a drink after a hard day at work and meets a hot ,mysterious stranger.But is he the future love of her life or is he an enemy of the state who asssasinated the former love of her life?
    I can hardly wait for fall to come ,this series is gonna be so aw....wait for it.....some.

  • shootingstar609 May 13, 2014

    a couple of good sounding shows, but I'll probably watch none of them. Except the Blacklist.

  • Taccado May 12, 2014

    State of Affairs? That reminds me...time to start planning my Dead Pool 2014 selection.

  • JT_Kirk May 12, 2014

    Oh my god Kaitlin, what the hell is up with that "ugly"? You win my attention, but at what cost... at... what... cost???

    You think Thursday will be kind to NBC? That is a recipe for failure until The Blacklist gets there, and I suspect The Blacklist will pull a "Heroes" in season 2 and flounder as well.

    Pretty sure Parks & Rec didn't have a slot in the upfronts last season either, or the season prior, and it still made the fall schedule.

    The Ugly is everything, NBC is circling the drain with next season's sched. And poor Constantine, lost in ratings diarrhea Fridays, dead before birth.

    Ha ha, yeah, State of Affairs looked dreadful.

    The thing missing from Constantine is not feeling like a pushy NBC drama. Almost nobody in that trailer had their own accents, including the lead.

  • thekaitling May 13, 2014

    Hahaha. You have Tim to thank for that lovely header.

  • Akyriel May 12, 2014

    Not sure the average TV viewer will notice accents, or know what the accent should be for the actor / character, or care, unless they have a good ear for them. I did not know Janet Montgomery was British until Salem. Could not believe they cast another Brit to play an American character and on Jersey Girl of all things. Somehow I missed that she was British then.

  • JT_Kirk May 12, 2014

    I wasn't originally going to bring up the accents thing, but Kaitlin did so I was merely responding from that.

  • ripleyisabadass May 12, 2014

    Is there any chance they remove that blackhead picture above the comments, its been turning my stomach for weeks now.

  • JT_Kirk May 12, 2014

    It's in a rotating ad system, so I doubt it. Also, it's not actually a blackhead, those misleading titles are meant to grab your attention, that's a mole.

  • ripleyisabadass May 12, 2014

    Its not rotating fast enough for my liking. Thanks for the info, I can live with it being a mole.

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