Fall 2011 TV Preview: NBC Premiere Schedule and Trailers
There's no doubt about it: it's going to be an uphill battle for NBC getting back on top of the network television dogpile. The network has seen its viewership decline since the loss of shows like "Friends" and "Seinfeld," as many of the jokes on "30 Rock" will tell you.
But if there's one thing NBC has that the other networks don't have, it's consistent quality, epecially in the realm of comedy. Returning favorites like "Parks & Recreation," "30 Rock" and "Community" might not have tons of viewers, but the laughs they provide make for a loyal fan base. Add to that some promising new dramas (not to mention "The Voice") and NBC just might have what it takes.
"Up All Night" - Wednesday, September 14th at 10pm ET/PT
Will Arnett has been all over NBC of late, but could never seem to get his own shows to stick. But there's high hope for "Up All Night," a new comedy about a couple (Arnett and Christina Applegate) who become first-time parents. Add the wonderfully funny Maya Rudolph to the mix, and you have a recipe for what could be a really great show. The 10pm time slot is a temporary spot for the show, which will move down to 8pm the next week.
"Free Agents" - Wednesday, September 14th at 10:30pm ET/PT
Hank Azaria leads this new comedy (originally a British show), the second to appear on Wednesday night. This, along with "Up All Night," are expected to be strong shows, so it looks like NBC is trying to build a new base of comedies on Wednesdays. You might not know Azaria by sight, but if you've ever watched "The Simpsons," you've heard his voice.
"The Playboy Club" - Monday, September 19th at 10pm ET/PT
Perhaps the most-buzzed-about show of the entire set of fall premieres on any network, "The Playboy Club" takes its audience back to the 1960's to the early days of the Playboy empire. As with ABC's "Pan Am," comparisons to "Mad Men" have been inescapable. They're fair, too: the show looks to play off the style and apparent glamor of the era, add a dash of intrigue, and call some gender equality issues into question. But let's be honest: many audience members will be tuning in to see Amber Heard in the classic bunny outfit.
"Whitney" - Thursday, September 22nd at 9:30pm ET/PT
Since "30 Rock" isn't back until midseason, NBC needs another half-hour comedy to round out the Thursday night comedy lineup, which includes "Community," "Parks & Recreation" and "The Office." Whitney is more of a traditional, multi-camera sitcom than the one-camera counterparts that precede it, so the transition to a live studio audience/laugh track might be a bit jarring.
"Prime Suspect" - Thursday, September 22nd at 10pm ET/PT
"Prime Suspect" might end the Thursday night lineup, but that doesn't mean it's a comedy. Another show based on a UK original, "Prime Suspect" is a cop procedural that hopes to stand out from the rest of the cop procedurals on TV. Supposedly the US version differs considerably from the UK version, but we can assume that if they take anything from it to set the show apart from the competition, it will be the cheeky, rebellious nature of its starring character. Think of it like "House" but with cops.
"Grimm" - Friday, October 21st at 9pm ET/PT
Wizards are done, vampires are on their way out (depending on whom you talk to about it), so get ready for the next wave: fairy tales. Heck, there are three Snow White movies being made, so it's no surprise that NBC (and ABC, too) has a fairy tale show in the works. Anyway, Grimm operates under the idea that fairy tales are real, and takes a dark approach to many of the stories. Makes sense when you consider it's premiering right before Halloween.
"Parenthood" - Tuesday, September 13th at 10pm ET/PT
This quietly running dramedy kicks off the fall season for NBC (if you don't count football, that is), once again boasting a strong cast and some tearjerker moments.
"The Sing Off" - Monday, September 19th at 8pm ET/PT
The a capella group vocal competition is music to the ears of some, and a horror to others. Seriously, you'd be surprised at how divided some people are about a capella groups. "The Sing Off" hopes to rejuvenate itself with the hiring of musician Sara Bareilles as a new judge.
"The Biggest Loser" - Tuesday, September 20th at 8pm ET/PT
You were wondering what would be joining "Parenthood" on Tuesdays? Fat people exercising.
"Harry's Law" - Wednesday, September 21st at 9pm ET/PT
The recurring guest-star role on "The Office" has been good to Kathy Bates, who got her own show last year and had it renewed for this year. When "Harry's Law" premieres, "Up All Night" and "Free Agents" will move to the 8pm to 9pm hour.
"Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" - Wednesday, September 21st at 10pm ET/PT
Hey, you gotta give 'em points for longevity. *Gavel sound*
"Community" - Thursday, September 22nd at 8pm ET/PT
Though the ratings aren't spectacular, this scrappy show (which also happens to be one of the funniest, most original sitcoms on TV) returns for season three. Here's to many more.
"Parks & Recreation" - Thursday, September 22nd at 8:30pm ET/PT
Each year, this comedy gets stronger and stronger. If you watched season one and dismissed it as a knockoff of "The Office," give it another shot: it has truly found its own comedic voice and become one of the more addictive shows on TV. A couple of Emmy noms doesn't hurt either.
"The Office" - Thursday, September 22nd at 9pm ET/PT
The first season sans Steve Carell. Will the show stay afloat? Probably: though the quality might dip with the loss of such a great talent, it'll take more to sink this ship.
"Chuck" - Friday, October 21st at 8pm ET/PT
Alas, poor "Chuck." This underrated nerd power show is facing its final season, but you can bet that it will be going out with a bang, and lots of kung fu.