We’re back for round 2 with NBC, this time introducing you to the new shows for mid-season 2012-2013. Now the problem with these mid-season shows is that all we have to go on is show descriptions and clips from the shows, not trailers, which makes it a little difficult to make an assessment as to quality because show descriptions are usually completely full of sh*t and make a show sound way better than it is and clips don’t show you anything in context. So, kindly bear with us as we muddle our way through this.
Save Me – Welcome to the Midwestern suburbs, where exciting things never happen. Well, almost never. After a near-death experience (choking on a hero sandwich), Beth (Emmy nominee Anne Heche, “Hung”) is revived only to realize she now has a direct line to God. Of course, her husband Tom (Michael Landes, “Final Destination 2”) is skeptical and dismissive – and his mistress (Alexandra Breckenridge, “American Horror Story”) is stunned to learn that her lover’s wife is now a prophet! But when inexplicable things begin to happen, everyone’s beliefs are tested. Beth starts to say and do things that shock her family and entrance her friends, but she isn’t going to be your typical “fire and brimstone” prophet. Let’s just say, if God had a desperate housewife as His mouthpiece, Beth would be it! She is the absolute last person on Earth who would be chosen. Then again, they say He works in mysterious ways. And this one is a real mystery! Heather Burns (“Bored to Death”) and Madison Davenport (“Shameless”) also star. “Save Me” is produced by Sony Pictures Television and Original Film. Novelist John Scott Shepherd (“Henry’s List of Wrongs,” “The Days”) is executive producer/creator along with executive producer/director Scott Winant (“Breaking Bad,” “True Blood,” “Californication”) and executive producers Neal H. Moritz (“The Big C,” “Prison Break,” “Fast Five”), Vivian Cannon (“The Big C”) and Alexa Junge (“Friends,” “Sex and the City”).
Our Take: *Sigh* Why does NBC seem to have bug up their butt about the Midwest? It really seems as if they are going out of their way to either alienate middle-America completely or remind all of the west and east coasters just how superior they are to them. First, of course was The New Normal and now we have this. Similarities: Midwesterners are stupid/ignorant. Ellen Barkin’s character is an ignorant bigot/homophobe on The New Normal and Anne Heche’s character is an idiot who choked on a sandwich and now she thinks that God is talking to her. Next, Midwesterners are conservative hypocrites. Is it really a shock that both spouses of the female leads on both of these shows are cheating on their wives? Beyond that, on its surface if you took all of this away, this would seem to be a charming little show, but we can’t help to think that the premise is probably not presented in a manner consistent with portraying faith in a positive light. Call us cynical, but the clip and the show description aren’t helping it. Beyond that, though, this is a very recycled premise and it seems like every time it comes a long it doesn’t last particularly long. Off the top, think Joan of Arcadia, Eli Stone and most recently A Gifted Man and those shows were generally uplifting and not cynical as this appears to be.
Chance of Renewal: Based solely on the fact that this premise hasn’t caught on over the last decade that it’s been tried, we’re going to have to say that this will probably not make it past a handful of episodes, despite the semi-star power of Anne Heche.
1600 Penn – 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). Winer also directed the pilot. “1600 Penn” is produced by 20th Century Fox.
Our Take: Yes! Our prayers have finally been answered. Bill Pullman is President of the United States, once again. This is something we’ve wanted since Independence Day… we just weren’t expecting it to happen in comedy form. Despite the limited information from the clip below, just reading between the lines on this gives us a lot of insight as to the quality of this offering. First, you’ve got two big leads in Bill Pullman and Jenna Elfman and you know they weren’t signing on to a crap show because they can be more selective with their roles. More importantly, though, is the fact that the show is from the brains behind Modern Family which hopefully will mean nothing but good things.
Chance of Renewal: Very difficult to tell from the clip and the show description on its face but if it’s as good as we think it will be based on the aforementioned factors, this will be an easy hit for NBC.
Next Caller – What happens when a foulmouthed satellite radio DJ – played by the multi-platinum selling 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”), who also serves as executive producer on the pilot. “Next Caller” is produced by Lionsgate Television and Universal Television. Our Take: First, any time a show description begins with “What happens when a _______ ,” you know you’re in trouble. Second, any time your lead is Dane Cook, you know you’re in trouble. Hasn’t this guy gone away, yet? No offense to Mr. Cook, but as fun as his comedy routine was (like a decade ago) he’s kinda worn thin and really has no business in film or television. Truthfully, based on that show description and the clip below, we really have no idea what this mess is about, nor do we really care.
Chance of Renewal: We aren’t the only ones who aren’t impressed with Dane Cook and as noted there’s not a whole lot being brought to the table with this. We expect this to last three or four episodes at the very most.
UPDATE: Well, we called this one. We knew the show wouldn’t last more than four episodes, but we figured that NBC would at least air them. Next Caller was so bad that NBC canceled it before it even finished filming the original order.
Do No Harm – 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”). “Do No Harm” is produced by Universal Television and Traugott Company. 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.
Our Take: Well, we don’t know about you but it’s pretty obvious that this is a reboot/re-imagining of the classic Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde and it seems very close to Stephen Moffat’s Hyde from the BBC in 2007 starring James Nesbitt. Can’t blame NBC on two fronts, here; first, after the success of Grimm, they’d be stupid not to venture down the road of rebooting classic horror. Second, hey, if CBS can bring Sherlock Holmes to New York City and call it Elementary in response to Stephen Moffat’s success with the BBC’s Sherlock, then why can’t they get in on the action, as well, but if anyone even thinks of doing a U.S. version of Doctor Who, we will stop watching American television altogether. All things considering, this looks really good and quite creepy.
Chance of Renewal: If it’s as it looks and it can get that Grimm audience, easy winner on this one if it isn’t hurt by the fact that it’s a mid-season replacement. Check out the two clips below. They were so good we couldn’t decide which ones to post.
Infamous — 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 as daughter of the family housekeeper. 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”). Gail Berman, Lloyd Braun and Gene Stein are also executive producers. The series is from Universal Television and BermanBraun.
Our Take: We’ve now seen two clips of this show and it just looks like a completely horrible version of Revenge, minus the… well… revenge part of it.
Chance of Renewal: This show not only looks awful but it’s a mid-season serial. Forget it.
Hannibal — One of the most fascinating literary characters comes to life on television for the first time: psychiatrist-turned-serial-killer, Dr. Hannibal Lecter. In this new drama from Bryan Fuller (“Pushing Daisies,” “Heroes”), based on the characters from Thomas Harris’ classic novels, we see where this incredible story began. Will Graham (Hugh Dancy, “The Big C”) is a gifted criminal profiler who is on the hunt for a serial killer with the FBI. Graham’s unique way of thinking gives him the astonishing ability to empathize with anyone – even psychopaths. He seems to know what makes them tick. But when the mind of the twisted killer he’s pursuing is too complicated for even Will to comprehend, he enlists the help of Dr. Lecter, one of the premier psychiatric minds in the country. Armed with the uncanny expertise of the brilliant doctor, Will and Hannibal (known as a serial killer only to the audience) form a brilliant partnership and it seems there’s no villain they can’t catch. If Will only knew… Fuller is writer and executive producer. Martha De Laurentis (“Red Dragon,” “Hannibal”), Sara Colleton (“Dexter”), Jesse Alexander (“Lost”, “Heroes”), and Katie O’Connell also serve as executive producers. David Slade is the director/executive producer for the series pilot. ”Hannibal” is produced by Gaumont International Television.
Our Take: No clips available yet for this one so we have to go based on gut instinct and the show description. In theory, it looks great. In reality, NBC tried doing a popular fiction book-to-film-to-television series adaptation already just this season with The Firm and it was an absolute disaster.
Chance of Renewal: Unlikely success with the whole history repeating itself thing going on. It might have a chance as a serial if it were to premiere in the fall but new serials just don’t work mid-season. It’s unfortunate, but this show probably will not survive.