Sunday, May 15, 2011

What DanielleTBD Will Be Watching: NBC, 2011-2012 Edition...

I'm all for snap judgments. At this stage in my blog, that should really come as no surprise. So though I have not read the majority of the new pilot scripts for the 2011-2012 season, and I have not seen one single frame of footage, save for a few promotional stills, I am already ready to declare that my heart, and my remote, lies back with NBC. When I was a kid, I grew up gravitating towards their sitcoms, and I dreamed not only of one day writing for television but specifically for NBC, working out of their offices and stages in Burbank. There was a tense period for a while there where I strayed, because I felt their programming wasn't up to par, but they have been winning me back slowly over the last few years, and I think it isn't too early to say that Bob Greenblatt may know how to keep me loyal!

Community - I have no idea how Dan Harmon plans to top his second season of stop-motion animation, Cougar Town cross-overs, fake clips shows, and of course MORE PAINTBALL (said like "More cowbell!"), but I cannot wait to see how he tries. This is consistently the show I laugh the most at, quote the most from, and relate the most to the characters. And since the third season renewal was announced months ago, theoretically Mr. Harmon has been brainstorming new brilliance to rain down upon us this whole time, right? Well, either way, I know it will never fail to deliver all the pop culture-y goodness a girl could want!

Parks and Recreation - This show keeps getting better and better and is now the second most quoted and laughed with program in my household. I don't know who I want to be more when I grow up: Leslie Knope or Ron Swanson. But I know I'm invested deeply in everyone, and I want to see them succeed and be happy-- even Jerry.

Up All Night - You had me at Christina Applegate, but you sold me with Will Arnett and Maya Rudolph. The fact that this comedy about slightly off-beat parents is from a Parks and Recreation writer means that though it is much more traditional in the sitcom story sense, it will certainly fit in with the other quirky humor the network currently embodies. In fact, I can see it nestling itself perfectly between the two aforementioned shows, making Thursday night truly comedy done right, and giving me reason to watch the full (hopefully still three hour) television event each and every week.

30 Rock - Liz Lemon will always be my hero. Enough said. Even if Jack Donaghy has gotten a bit soft.

Free Agents - John Enbom, who worked on Party Down, is at the head of this, and therefore I will watch. Yes, it's another remake of a British comedy series. Yes, it's a workplace comedy that will most likely mimic the mockumentary stylings of The Office and Parks and Rec before it, but those are not detriments in my eyes since I enjoy those shows so much. This one is set in the world of Hollywood, too, and you all know how much I eat THAT stuff up!

Chuck - Though NBC announced that the fifth season will be its final one, I actually am glad to hear they will be able to go out on their own terms, with a clear cut plan, rather than the uncomfortable "will they or won't they (renew us)" cliffhangers of the past few seasons. Don't get me wrong, each season finale has been great storytelling, but those teases of what's to come would have been like a kung fu chop to the throat if NBC hadn't let us actually see what was next to come!

Parenthood - This is the little show that could. I wasn't really with it in the very, very beginning, and then it got sucked into my vortex of marathoning a number of episodes on demand or online after the fact, but looking back now, I'm glad that's how I watched. Sitting down with three or so episodes back-to-back became my favorite thing to do every few weeks, and suddenly it turned into a "I can't wait three weeks to marathon; I need to see it now!" situation. I love that the kids more than hold their own in the adlib/banter moments; I love the loose feel of any scene in which the Braverman siblings get together; I love that they can make me laugh one minute and make me cry the next. I love the cast, sure, but more than that, I love the emphasis placed on the storytelling. It's Jason Katims; I don't know why I thought it would be anything different. And though the second season ended with the promises of lots of changes to come, it is not those "plot devices" that I care most about but instead it is simply watching this family struggle and relate and love.

I'm still on the fence about:

Whitney - The currently working-titled sitcom based around, and written by, stand-up comedienne Whitney Cummings sound okay in premise. A young couple gets pushed and pulled by their friends, some of whom want them to get married already and some of whom want them to break up. Hilarity ensues, right? Well, hold on, not so fast! It's such a basic set-up that I feel like it has the tendency to lean much more towards most common denominator, drawing jokes from the situation of how different couples are at certain points in their relationships. Those have been done to death, and they're not always even true. I think Cummings herself is fine. She can be funny. But much of her stand-up act is equally as simple and often "I feel like I've heard that before" that I don't know if the execution will be anything other than ordinary, let alone on par with some of the network's returning comedy favorites.

Are You There Vodka, It's Me Chelsea? - I don't mean to steal from Happy Endings (oh, who am I kidding? yes I do!) but I feel like Chelsea Handler has forgotten how to keep it real. And though this sitcom does not star the talk show host, it is based around her exaggerated material from her first memoir. NBC will most likely end up dumbing down many of her raunchier tales because even though they've embraced comedy in the 10 o'clock hour, it's still pretty banal, family-friendly comedy. I'm not a fan of dumbing down. I'm not a fan of adaptations that too loosely interpret the source material. And all that being said, this is a multi-camera sitcom which has me worried even more.

Grimm - Much like The Cape, I am intrigued by this premise. It's a bit whimsical to introduce classic Grimm's fairy tale characters into the television landscape and have them be shown as modern-day heroes and villains in a twist on a cop drama (because, let's face it, there are too many "regular" cop dramas out there as it is). But after seeing how Supernatural handled just one episode of these well-known stories, I fear for this one. After all, we all know who the perp is in "Little Red Riding Hood," as well as "Hansel & Gretel." There is going to have to be some really creative thinking going on to weave them into stories that leave us guessing!

Awake - The buzz has been extremely solid around this one when it comes to reporter friends I actually know and therefore trust. But I haven't read the script yet, and honestly, sometimes these things sound great on paper but just can't hold up due to the budget or time constraints of TV. High-concept shows such as this one that deal with time jumps, alternate universes, or multiple worlds with versions of the same character are the exception, rather than the rule. For every LOST or Fringe that not only does it well but also to which fans flock, there will be a Flash Forward or Early Edition that just doesn't hit. I really, really want to like this one, but my reservation here is getting my hopes up too high only to have it axed, leaving a gaping wound in my investment (and television schedule).

1 comment:

Jaime said...

I am pretty bummed that it looks like NBC won't be picking up The 17th District. Maybe I can hope for (NBC-owned) Syfy? I want more Battlestar cast members on my TV weekly! (Yet, I don't watch Hawaii 5-0 even though Grace Park is on it).