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NBC's New Fall Shows: First Clips, First Impressions
May 13, 2012  | By David Bianculli  | 5 comments

NBC's new fall schedule makes room for six new series, all scripted – two dramas, four comedies. NBC also aggressively pushes The Voice to the fall season, and reserves a bunch of other moves, and shows, for midseason.

But for fall, the most exciting new offering looks to be the newest drama from J.J. Abrams, a show that begins with a cataclysmic event — all the electricity on the planet is turned off, for good – then picks up the action 15 years later, when outlaw gangs rule (one of them run by Giancarlo Esposito from Breaking Bad), the power is still off, and survival takes many unexpected forms and turns.

It looks smart, is instantly engaging, and might well capture fans of such dystopian action adventures as The Hunger Games. (The picture at the top of this column is from the night the lights went out in Georgia — and everywhere else.) It’s scheduled Mondays at 10 ET, and here’s a preview:


The other drama, scheduled Wednesdays at 10 ET on NBC, is Chicago Fire, a new drama from Dick Wolf, who’s moving from cops to firefighters. The first bite tastes like leftovers, without much of the tang or zest of FX’s Rescue Me — but one of the co-stars is Eamonn Walker, who was so electrifying in Oz and Lights Out, and who provides this preview clip with its one jolt of star voltage:


Of the four comedies, two are cast with performers too good to dismiss outright, though the overall result can’t be judged from this quick a sampling.

Top of the list, though, is Go On, a Tuesday 9 p.m. ET sitcom starring Matthew Perry as a sportscaster who’s assigned to group therapy. He’s paired with — or against — Laura Benanti, who was so ill-used last year in NBC’s The Playboy Club. Here, even in a brief clip, she gets to display more talent — while displaying less skin:

Animal Practice, too, has a lead actor more than capable of carrying a well-written comedy: Justin Kirk, who for years has been a scene-stealer on Showtime’s Weeds. Whether he stands out here, though, will depend on whether this comedy is as well written. Based on the promo clip, there’s reason to fear. This show is scheduled for the leadoff 8 p.m. ET spot on Wednesdays:


At 9:30 p.m. ET on Tuesdays, there’s The New Normal, which I guess is a less off-putting title than The New Ripoff of Modern Family. It’s about two gay guys who hire a surrogate mother to start a family, and comes from Ryan Murphy, who’s already gotten credit, from some sources, for influencing presidential policy with his pro-gay story lines on Fox’s Glee.

It sounds dubious, even more so since its cast members include NeNe Leakes from The Real Housewives of Atlanta. But one of its stars is Andrew Rannells, the high-energy co-star of Broadway’s The Book of Mormon, so that could count for a lot. Here’s a clip:


And finally, at 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays, there’s Guys with Kids, a new sitcom that boasts familiar faces from older TV series — Jamie-Lynn Sigler from The Sopranos, Tempestt Bledsoe from The Cosby Show — in a comedy about dads with babies. Imagine Chandler and Ross and Joey, taking baby strollers to Central Perk. Then do what I do, and look for the exit lights. I’m willing to be surprised, but even one minute of this, based on first impressions, seems like more than enough. See if you agree:


Let us know which of these clips piques your interest, and why…

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A tv show set in a world without electricity.
I'm sick of these conspiracy based tv series. ZZZZ Just make it go away NOW.
May 16, 2012   |  Reply
David Bianculli
Surely, though, someone must be BEHIND all these conspiracy-theory shows. Wonder who it is, and what they're up to?
May 19, 2012
Wednesdays 10/9c

No job is more stressful, dangerous or exhilarating than those of the
Firefighters, Rescue Squad and Paramedics of Chicago Firehouse 51.
My comments
Would you call them in an Emergency! Come on. Who picked that number for
this fire house. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot before this
show airs.
May 16, 2012   |  Reply
I enjoyed Matthew Perry's short-lived "Mr. Sunshine." And I laughed out loud at the clip for "Go On." Nothing else of interest here. Don't need "Revolution" when I've already got "Walking Dead," and after Denis Leary's "Rescue Me," I'm done with firemen for a while.
May 16, 2012   |  Reply
So if all the electricity on earth is gone, how do these outlaw gangs get around? Bicycles? Roller skates? Someone should inform these creative geniuses that even our brains and hearts are powered by electricity (in small voltages).

NBC might be more profitable if they shut down the whole damn TV network and sublet all their space at 30 Rock.
May 16, 2012   |  Reply
David Bianculli
Even more frightening: With all electricity gone, how do I watch TV?
May 19, 2012
How about Rahm Emmanuel making a cameo in Chicago Fire?! Also I thought Animal Practice is funny but is taking itself very seriously.
May 15, 2012   |  Reply
How about having Randolph Mantooth make a cameo appearance where he states before my heart attack I worked on squad with this number. Could be a cool inside joke for Emergency fans.
May 16, 2012
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