After picking up several new series last week, NBC followed up yesterday's scheduling announcement with its official Upfront presentation today, which means we finally get to see the new-show trailers the network unveiled for advertisers in hopes of convincing them to by commercial time. Below, we've embedded the official first-look promos for new dramas Revolution and Chicago Fire and new comedies Go On, Animal Practice, The New Normal, and Guys With Kids. (There are also clips, but not official trailers, for Infamous, Do No Harm, 1600 Penn, and First Caller, which are all slated for the midseason; the network hasn't yet released any footage for Hannibal or Save Me.) Let's take a look at them!
NBC's pitch: Our entire way of life depends on electricity. So what would happen if it just stopped working? Well, one day, like a switch turned off, the world is suddenly thrust back into the dark ages. Planes fall from the sky, hospitals shut down, and communication is impossible. And without any modern technology, who can tell us why? Now, 15 years later, life is back to what it once was long before the industrial revolution: families living in quiet cul-de-sacs, and when the sun goes down lanterns and candles are lit. Life is slower and sweeter. Or is it? On the fringes of small farming communities, danger lurks. And a young woman’s life is dramatically changed when a local militia arrives and kills her father, who mysteriously—and unbeknownst to her—had something to do with the blackout. This brutal encounter sets her and two unlikely companions off on a daring coming-of-age journey to find answers about the past in the hopes of reclaiming the future. From director Jon Favreau and the fertile imaginations of J.J. Abrams and Eric Kripke comes a surprising “what if” action-adventure series, where an unlikely hero will lead the world out of the dark. Literally. The series stars Billy Burke (The Twilight Saga), Tracy Spiridakos (Being Human), Anna Lise Phillips (Terra Nova), Zak Orth (Romeo + Juliet), Graham Rogers (Memphis Beat), J.D. Pardo (A Cinderella Story), Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad), David Lyons (The Cape), Maria Howell (The Blind Side), Tim Guinee (Iron Man) and Andrea Roth (Rescue Me).
Our take: You had me at plane falling out of the sky and exploding and all those headlights going out! However, there has to be a whole lot more to the series than that and Revolution might have it. There seems to be no shortage of badassery, but where's the character personality that made Kripke's seasons of Supernatural so watchable? We've been burned by serialized network dramas before, but a cool story plus great pedigree means we're in. Cautiously.
NBC's pitch: No job is more stressful, dangerous or exhilarating than those of the firefighters, rescue squad and paramedics of Chicago Firehouse 51. These are America’s everyday heroes—the courageous men and women who forge headfirst into danger when everyone else is running the other way. But the enormous responsibilities of the job also take a personal toll. Big reputations and hefty egos, coupled with the pressure to perform and make split-second decisions, are bound to put squad members at odds. When a tragedy claims one of their own, there’s plenty of guilt and blame to go around. In the middle of a divorce, Lt. Matthew Casey (Jesse Spencer, House) tries to go about business as usual but can’t help butting heads with the brash Lt. Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney, The Vampire Diaries) of the Rescue Squad—and each blames the other for their fallen team member. When it’s “go-time” though, they put aside their differences and put everything on the line for each other. Chicago Fire is a look inside one of America’s noblest professions. Also starring are Eamonn Walker (The Messenger), Charlie Barnett, (Law & Order: SVU), David Eigenberg (Sex and the City), Monica Raymund (The Good Wife), Lauren German (Hawaii Five-0), Teri Reeves (Three Rivers) and Merle Dandridge (Sons of Anarchy). From renowned Emmy-winning producer Dick Wolf and the writing team behind 3:10 to Yuma comes an edge-of-your-seat view of a dirty job that often means the difference between life and death.
Our take: High-octane fire fightin'! Steamy shower scenes! Life-and-death situations! Yep, it's a firefighter show.
NBC's pitch: When wealthy socialite and notorious party girl Vivian Bowers is found dead of an overdose, no one is really surprised. The heiress to the Bowers pharmaceutical empire has been tabloid fodder for years: wild, pretty, privileged... and now dead at the age of 32. But for FBI agent Will Moreno (Laz Alonso, Avatar), things don’t add up with this suspicious dynasty. Convinced that the troubled girl’s death was a homicide, he has a clever plan to get to the truth. Her name is Detective Joanna Locasto (Meagan Good, Think Like a Man). Twenty years ago, she was Vivian’s best friend, having grown up in the Bowers’ home. And when she appears at Vivian’s funeral, the family re-embraces her and no one is the wiser. Joanna quickly begins to uncover dark secrets and clues about why Vivian’s life was very much in danger. At the same time, she rekindles an old romantic relationship and rediscovers the allure of the luxurious lifestyle she once knew. She’s about to see once again just how the other half lives... and dies. Also starring are Victor Garber (Alias), Tate Donovan (Damages), Katherine La Nasa (Alfie), Neil Jackson (Quantum of Solace) and Ella Rae Peck (Gossip Girl). Infamous comes from executive producer/writer Liz Heldens (Friday Night Lights) and director Peter Horton (Grey’s Anatomy, Dirty Sexy Money).
Official Trailer First-Look Footage:
Our Take: [Clips Only] Look, just showing clips isn't doing any favors for these new shows. But this looks really flat, even for NBC.
Do No Harm
NBC's pitch: Dr. Jason Cole (Steven Pasquale, Rescue Me) is a highly respected neurosurgeon who has it all—a lucrative career, confident charm, the gift of compassion. But he also has a deep, dark secret. One morning when he wakes up disoriented in a wrecked hotel room amidst several near-naked women he’s never seen before, he knows one thing: It’s happening again. Every night at the same hour, something inside Jason changes, leaving him almost unrecognizable—seductive, devious, borderline sociopathic. This new man is his dangerous alternate personality who goes by the name of ‘Ian Price.’ For years he’s battled Ian, keeping him in check with a powerful experimental sedative. But now his—their—body has developed a resistance to the serum, setting Ian free once again. And to make matters worse, after being suppressed for so long, Ian’s hell-bent on taking revenge on his oppressor. With everyone Jason cares about at risk—patients, friends, coworkers, and even the woman he loves—he’s got to stop Ian once and for all. Will they find some common ground, or will they bring each other down? Hell hath no fury like an alter ego scorned. Also starring are Alana De La Garza (Law & Order), Mousa Kraish (Superbad), Michael Esper (A Beautiful Mind), Ruta Gedmintas (The Borgias) and Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show). The executive producer/writer is David Schulner (Desperate Housewives, The Event). Peter Traugott (Ringer) and Rachel Kaplan (Ringer) also are executive producers. Michael Mayer (NBC’s Smash) is the co-executive producer and director.
Official Trailer First-Look Footage:
Our take: [Clips Only] We had high hopes for this when it was announced. Now we don't!
NBC's pitch: Misery loves company. Unless you’re sportscaster Ryan King (Matthew Perry), who thinks misery should just be left alone. After taking some time off, Ryan—who recently lost his wife in a car accident—is now ready to get back to work. And while he seems like his same old charming, cocky self, his boss won’t let him back on the air until he seeks counseling. So, Ryan reluctantly joins a support group with one goal in mind: Get in, get out and get back on the radio as quickly as possible. Played by the fast-talking, sarcastic, and charismatic Perry, Ryan gives grief a real run for its money. Within one day of group therapy, he hijacks the meeting and suddenly the downtrodden are cajoled into playing a game of “who’s got the best sob story?” And in no time all of them are battling it out, trying to one-up each other’s despair. Now, this is fun! Ryan’s total lack of interest in healing might be just what this group needs—and maybe, exactly what he needs to move on with his life. Also starring Laura Benanti (The Playboy Club), Julie White (Transformers), Suzy Nakamura (Dodgeball), Khary Payton (General Hospital) and Allison Miller (Terra Nova).
Our take: Ha ha ha cry cry cry ha cry. That's what this looks like it's going to be. But you know what? That's the kind of stuff that's usually the best. Unfortunately, most people just want to laugh at a show and be done with it. This looks too sensitive to be a big hit, but just sensitive enough to develop a passionate, but smaller, following. Also, Bret Gelman plays one of the support group members, so we're automatically watching just for him.
The New Normal
NBC's pitch: These days, families come in all forms—single dads, double moms, sperm donors, egg donors, one-night-stand donors... It’s 2012 and anything goes. Bryan (Andrew Rannells, Girls, The Book of Mormon) and David (Justin Bartha, The Hangover) are a Beverly Hills couple and they have it all. Well, almost. With successful careers and a committed and loving partnership, the one thing missing is a baby. And just when they think the stars will never align, enter Goldie (Georgia King, One Day), an extraordinary young woman with a checkered past. A Midwestern waitress and single mother looking to escape her dead-end life and small-minded grandmother (Ellen Barkin, Ocean’s Thirteen), Goldie decides to change everything and move to L.A. with her precocious 8-year-old daughter. Desperate and broke—but also fertile—Goldie quickly becomes the guys’ surrogate and quite possibly the girl of their dreams. Surrogate mother, surrogate family. Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story, Glee) serves as creator/executive producer and director along with executive producer/creator/writer Ali Adler (Glee, Chuck) and executive producer Dante Di Loreto (Glee, American Horror Story).
Our take: How very Ryan Murphy! Well, the half of Ryan Murphy who doesn't make shows about cutting people up or gimp suits. The trailer is pretty much the entire pilot, so it's fairly overstated and one-dimensional, but that's what pilots usually are. The message is sweet, but we're a little put-off by how preachy it feels. That probably won't be the case for all of the series' episodes, as these characters will need time to grow. But come on, "From the imagination of Ryan Murphy"? Self-indulgent much?
NBC's pitch: Meet Dr. George Coleman (Justin Kirk, Weeds), a top-dog New York veterinarian. With an unorthodox style of operating, George’s success comes from his undeniable gift with animals of all kinds. That is, all but the human kind. Dorothy Crane once held the key to George’s heart, but today she also holds the key to the family business as she takes over Crane Animal Hospital. Not only is she George’s new boss, but her romantic history with him and her lack of experience with animals is seriously cramping his style. Dorothy is whip-smart and ambitious, and she’s going to make George pay for the past. Needless to say, he’s determined not to make any changes in his (animal) kingdom—which includes poker games with a resident Capuchin monkey. Also starring are Tyler Labine (Reaper, Sons of Tucson) as Dr. Doug Jackson, a vet who's great with animals but hapless in matters of the heart, Bobby Lee (Harold & Kumar) as Dr. Yamamoto, and newcomer Betsy Sodaro as Angela. The executive producers are Scot Armstrong (The Hangover Part II, Old School) and Ravi Nandan (Best Friends Forever) of American Work Inc. (Best Friends Forever) along with Emmy Award winners Joe and Anthony Russo (Community, Arrested Development). Animal Practice was written by Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka (The Sitter), who also serve as executive producers. Gail Lerner (Happy Endings) also is an executive producer. Directed by the Emmy-winning Russo brothers, Animal Practice is a comedy where the animals are running the asylum.
Our take: There are even more animals here than we thought. Kirk seems like he'll be great, but this kinda looks like an Adam Sandler movie without Adam Sandler. And yeah, we'll be doing that double standard thing where we're more emotionally invested in the animal ER surgery than we are in regular medical dramas. We're also hoping that the monkey plays a smaller role in the series than he does in the trailer because there is such a thing as too much monkey in a doctor's coat.
Guys With Kids
NBC's pitch: From Emmy winner and executive producer Jimmy Fallon comes a new comedy about three thirty-something dads trying to hold on to their youth, while holding onto their new babies’ hands. Easy, right? Thankfully, Chris (Jesse Bradford, The West Wing), Nick (Zach Cregger, Friends with Benefits) and Gary (Anthony Anderson, Law & Order) have each other to help navigate their survival as new dads, while still trying desperately to remain dudes. Balancing work or staying at home, painfully married or happily divorced, they know that taking care of the little ones while maintaining a social life is a daily challenge. Whether it’s hosing the little squirt down in the kitchen sink or hitting the bar strapped with a Baby Björn, these guys are on a roller-coaster adventure—parenting like you (and they) have never seen before. Also starring are Jamie Lynn Sigler (The Sopranos) and Tempestt Bledsoe (The Cosby Show). Someone once said it is much easier to become a father than to be one. These three guys are about to find out just how true that is. Fallon (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon) serves as executive producer/creator along with executive producer/creator/writer Charlie Grandy (NBC’s The Office) and executive producer/creator Amy Ozols (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon) as well as executive producers Rick Wiener and Kenny Schwartz (Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place, American Dad). Emmy-nominated director Scott Ellis (Modern Family, 30 Rock) is the director.
Our take: This trailer kind of makes us want to stab ourselves! And we're being nice! Is that what you were going for, Fallon? Those of you who will be participating in our 2012-2013 Dead Pool should keep an eye on this one.
NBC's pitch: The Gilchrists are just the average American family dealing with all the everyday issues—like a grown kid who’s forced to move back home, children who are smarter than their teachers and a stepmom (Jenna Elfman, Dharma and Greg) desperately trying to win over the kids. They’re loving, fun, and a little crazy. In other words, just like everybody else. With one exception: They live in a very special house. The White House! Whether it’s entertaining foreign dignitaries, sneaking away for a night out, dealing with middle school crushes or putting out fires—figuratively and sometimes literally—there’s never a dull moment in the Gilchrist White House. For example, the First Son (Josh Gad, star of Broadway sensation The Book of Mormon) is one of the administration’s biggest liabilities, but also the glue that holds this family together. The President (Bill Pullman, Independence Day, While You Were Sleeping) knows too well that the only thing harder than being Head of State is being head of the family. Also starring are Martha MacIsaac (Superbad), Andre Holland (Friends with Benefits), Amara Miller (The Descendants) and Benjamin Stockham (Sons of Tucson). Modern Family meets The West Wing in this election-year comedy from Emmy-winning executive producer/director Jason Winer (Modern Family). The executive producers are Winer, Gad, and Jon Lovett (former White House speechwriter).
Official Trailer First-Look Footage:
Our take: [Clips Only] We were really looking forward to this. And then we saw these clips of Problem Child Goes to the White House. Hopefully there's a lot more to the series than poor man's Chris Farley embarrassing his president dad.
NBC's pitch: What happens when a foulmouthed satellite radio DJ—played by the multi-platinum artist and outrageously charming Dane Cook (My Best Friend’s Girl)—is forced to share the mic with a chipper NPR feminist? It’s anyone’s call in this sharp new comedy from producer Stephen Falk (Weeds) and Emmy-winning director Marc Buckland (Grimm, My Name Is Earl). It’s her first day in New York City, and 26-year-old Stella Hoobler (Collette Wolfe, Young Adult) is ready to take on the world. After a stint on public radio, she’s been hired to co-host the no-holds-barred show “Booty Calls with Cam Dunne.” Smart, spunky and passionate, Stella is determined to elevate the show beyond its boy’s-club-locker-room humor into a respected debate about men, women, and the state of human relationships. But there’s a problem: Cam! She’s going to find out the hard way that he’s got no intention of sharing the spotlight, especially with someone like her. It’s going to be a tense fight, but with the station’s one rule being “make some noise,” Cam and Stella could be a winning combination—as long as they don’t knock each other out on their way to success. Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development), Joy Osmanski (True Jackson, VP) and Wolé Parks (Premium Rush) also star. The series is created and executive-produced by Stephen Falk (Weeds) and directed by Emmy Award-winning director Marc Buckland (Grimm, My Name Is Earl).
Official Trailer First-Look Footage:
Our take: [Clips Only] "Blah blah blah, I'm a rad dude!" "Blah blah blah. I'm a stuffy chick." Sexist remark, gasp in shock, sexual tension, cancellation.
What looks good to you so far? Let's hear your first impressions in the comments!