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NBC's New Fall 2015 Shows: First Impressions
May 11, 2015  | By David Bianculli

Once again, TVWW offers quick, bite-sized video samples of the new fall TV offerings, along with our own very first impressions. But this year, we show only the most intriguing ones. On NBC, that’s a short list…

For the third straight year, NBC’s fall schedule makes room for six new series. Last year, the only freshman fall series to survive was The Mysteries of Laura – hardly a TV groundbreaker.

NBC is approaching things in the Fox manner, planning a “year-round” schedule. Consequently, some offerings that might turn out to be fun, such as Eva Longoria as a telenovela star in Hot & Bothered, won’t show up until midseason, or when they need to step in for an underperforming fall freshman. Given NBC’s lineup, that could happen quickly.

Of the six new NBC fall shows, the best-sounding, by far, is the 10-episode live variety series, Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris, scheduled to run Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET. Based on the intentionally outrageous British series Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, it’s an adult version of “Anything Can Happen Day”: skits, music, guest stars, quizzes, audience participation, and whatever else Harris and his writers can concoct.

I’ve been lobbying for years, in TVWW and even on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, for Harris to get his own variety show, in hopes that he can singlehandedly bring back the genre. And now, here he comes. The teaser clip is only 15 seconds long – but it’s long enough to remind you why Harris is just the guy to pull it off:

Heroes Reborn, a Thursday 8 p.m. ET reboot of the 2006-2010 superhero series that started strong but fizzled out, may be coming back at the right time, and maybe even with the right stuff. Jack Coleman is back as Noah, and Masi Oka as Hiro, but it’s mostly new actors, new characters, and new powers, trying to attract attention in a post­-Avengers world. NBC didn’t reveal any pertinent video of this series, however, so even first impressions will have to wait.

Other shows, which did provide sample cutdown reels, seemed mostly derivative. Heartbreaker (9 p.m. ET Tuesdays), starring Melissa George as a gifted and driven heart-transplant surgeon who oversees a staff doing all manner of medical procedures, smacks of Grey’s Anatomy. The Player (10 p.m. ET Thursdays), starring Wesley Snipes, is about a former military operative drawn into a “game” where he tries to stop crimes before they happen. Its short preview, basically, is much too reminiscent of Person of Interest.

The sitcom People Are Talking (8:30 p.m. ET Fridays, which right there is an admission of weakness) is one of those NBC sitcoms the network insists on making: comedies that aren’t remotely funny or believable. Remember last fall’s Marry Me, A to Z, Bad Judge and so on? You don’t? Good for you. Next year, you’re not likely to remember People Are Talking, either.

That leaves one new fall series whose sample is worth sampling. It’s Blindspot (10 p.m. ET Mondays), starring Jaimie Alexander (Sif in the Thor and Avengers movies) as a very mysterious, amnesiac Jane Doe. She’s part Bourne Identity, part tattooed woman, and at least the first sample is interesting:

The usual caveats apply. Real reviews won’t arrive until the real shows do, in full-length preview form. A bad show can turn out a good teaser reel, and vice versa. But as early tastes go, NBC is easy to call.

Neil Patrick Harris, yes. Blindspot, maybe.

The rest? Probably not.

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