Round four of America’s newest favorite way to kill ten minutes at work brings us to the network that started it all: NBC. It gave the world both The Cape and Community, without which this entire gimmick wouldn’t exist (for background, see the installments for FOX, CBS, and ABC), and without which I might be forced to actually put some thought into what I write on this blog rather than falling back on half-assed jokes and YouTube embeds.
A dozen new programs are tasked with resuscitating the once-proud Peacock from its perennial place in the ratings cellar. Proving itself to be a fount of originality, NBC’s line-up includes a modern day spin on classic fairy tales (...wait...), a sitcom developed by popular stand-up comic Whitney Cummings (no, not this one, a different one), a coming of age tale set in the world of musical theater (but not, y’know, THAT one), and a moody 1960s period piece centered on a brooding, nattily-attired anti-hero. Yup.
Eh, to hell with originality. I just want to know if any of these new shows will give us 2011’s answer to this guy!
Fridays, 9 p.m. EST / 8 p.m. CST
The Premise: He's a brooding cop descended from the legendary authors of old, whose grisly lore, as it happens, was actually grisly reportage. Which means the modern-day Mr. Grimm will be spending a lot of time [takes off sunglasses] chasing his own tales. [YEEEEEEAAAAHHHHH!!!!]
The Prediction: Real-Life The Cape. Was...was that promo actually the whole pilot? It had a climax and a resolution and everything. Grimm hasn’t even aired yet and it’s already been demoted to webisode status.
Thursdays, 9:30 p.m. EST / 8:30 p.m. CST
The Premise: Although skeptical of marriage, a young committed couple nevertheless learn valuable lessons about hospital visitation rights, tax advantages, and the limits of Fifth Amendment protection.
The Prediction: Real-Life The Cape. Hang on, that promo was basically a whole episode too. NBC, you’re not going to sell a lot of advertising time if your shows are all four minutes long.
Midseason; Mondays, 10 p.m. EST / 9 p.m. CST
The Premise: Bright-eyed ingenue Katharine McPhee competes for a star-making singing role, and must audition before a panel that includes a surly Brit, a praise-spouting musician, and a woman (Debra Messing) who once co-starred with an animated cat.
The Prediction: Six Seasons And A Movie. As Law & Order once subsidized full employment for the New York City theater community, Smash will soon become a bustling jobs program for L.A.’s throngs of refugees from televised singing competitions.
The Playboy Club
Mondays, 10 p.m. EST / 89p.m. CST
The Premise: Welcome back to the 1960s, when the men were men, the women had boobs, and Hugh Hefner was Dr. Claw.
The Prediction: Real-Life The Cape. And yet, such a shame to waste all those months Eddie Cibrian devoted to mastering the art of method smirking.
Are You There Vodka, It’s Me Chelsea
The Premise: This innovative sitcom from multimedia star Chelsea Handler pays homage to NBC’s radio roots by narrating every single goddamn thing that happens.
The Prediction: Six Seasons And A Movie. The mark of a successful sitcom? Trust in its supporting cast. And I think I’m sizing this one up pretty astutely when I say... wait, what? Whelp, never mind. Another The Cape it is!