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The 2013 Fall TV Preview: the New Shows on NBC

September 2nd, 2013 10:30am EDT

The Blacklist : NBC Three and a half years ago I wanted to tell a story about a duck that didn't know how to swim. I'd title a documentary about NBC 'The Duck That Didn't Know How To Swim.' I wonder if the exeuctives bought the staff pizza and soda after reading the ratings for the premieres post-Olympic coverage. (Those numbers didn't hold). Michael J. Fox and Sean Hayes represent NBC's glory days. The peacock relies on the actors again to lift them from the rubble it's been trapped under for a few years while helping to soften the blow of no The Office. I bet Community DOES get a sixth season. Bring on, mid-season. I digress. NBC finally developed a series to pair with Grimm on Friday nights. From the description alone I'm willing to bet Ironside is the worst new drama of the season. James Spader's doing things on Monday nights. Mike O'Malley continues to distance himself from Double Dare, GUTS, and Global GUTS.

THE BLACKLIST

Created By Jon Bokenkamp

Premiere Date: Monday, September 23 at 10PM

Premise: (from NBC's press release, May 2013) For decades, ex-government agent Raymond "Red" Reddington (James Spader, "The Office," "Boston Legal") has been one of the FBI's Most Wanted fugitives. Brokering shadowy deals for criminals across the globe, Red was known by many as "The Concierge of Crime." Now, he's mysteriously surrendered to the FBI with an explosive offer: He will help catch a long-thought-dead terrorist, Ranko Zamani, under the condition that he speaks only to Elizabeth "Liz" Keen (Megan Boone, "Law & Order: Los Angeles"), an FBI profiler fresh out of Quantico. For Liz, it's going to be one hell of a first day on the job.

Thoughts: Silence of the Lambs meets Person of Interest. Is that a fair comparison? James Spader speaks like Bane initially but then loses the Bane accent once he's free from the chair. I'm 67% certain James Spader pronounced the Russian word for thank you "placebo" instead of "cpasiba." The Blacklist's a procedural. Spader gives the FBI names of criminals they don't know about while he engages in a psychologically taxing relationship with main character Liz Keen. Procedurals rarely offer anything new. Characters become more important with each procedural, because if there isn't a House or Sherlock Holmes or some other larger than life character then it's not worth watching. Bokenkamp's Red is an aspiring larger than life character, but one will need to watch to determine whether or not Red's a slightly altered Hannibal Lecter.

THE MICHAEL J. FOX SHOW

Created By Sam Laybourne & Will Gluck

Premiere Date: Thursday, September 26 at 9:30PM

Premise: (from NBC's press release, May 2013) Look who's making the news again. One of New York's most beloved news anchors, Mike Henry (Michael J. Fox, "Spin City," "Family Ties"), put his career on hold to spend more time with his family and focus on his health after he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. But five years later, with the kids busy growing up and Mike growing restless, it just might be time for him to get back to work.

Thoughts: Curb Your Enthusiasm's season 8 episode, "Larry Vs. Michael J. Fox," is a precursor to Michael J. Fox's newest sitcom. In the Curb episode, Larry accuses Michael J. Fox of using his disease to get away with irritating behavior. Michael J. Fox would like audiences to know, and feel comfortable, laughing with him when jokes are made about his disease. The daughter character learns she's failing after making a manipulative video about her father for a class project. Michael J. Fox is delightful to watch. He was amazing in the Back to the Future movies, Teen Wolf, and in the Curb episode. I'll definitely tune in for this sitcom.

IRONSIDE

Created By Michael Caleo

Premiere Date: Wednesday, October 2 at 10PM

Premise: (from NBC's press release, May 2013) In the gritty world of the NYPD, no one's tougher than Det. Robert Ironside (Blair Underwood, "The Event," "In Treatment"). He's a fearless cop who won't stop until the guilty are brought to justice. He and his trusted, handpicked team of specialists - Virgil (Pablo Schreiber, "The Wire" "Lights Out"), Holly (Spencer Grammer, "Greek," "As the World Turns") and Teddy (Neal Bledsoe, "Smash," "Ugly Betty"), as well as his former partner Gary (Brent Sexton, "The Killing") and boss, Det. Ed Rollins (Kenneth Choi, "Sons of Anarchy") - will do whatever it takes to solve New York's most difficult and notorious crimes.

Thoughts: Ironside is vaguely familiar in that sort of way when you see someone in a store or on the street who looks vaguely familiar but can't quite place why that person is possibly familar. Maybe you went to school with that person or met through friends of a friend of a friend or you know the person but don't have the proper angle to figure out whether or not that person is the person you think the person is. Well, I can place Ironside's familiarity--it is Luther, if Luther was in a wheelchair. Did I miss the press release about NBC buying the rights to develop Luther for American audiences? Ironside, the character, is his own police officer. The NYPD doesn't control him. He'll dare a criminal to stab him or he'll hang a criminal over a building demanding truth. I'm stunned Dick Wolf's not attached the project.

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY

Created By Mike Sikowitz

Premiere Date: Thursday, October 3 at 8:30PM

Premise: (from NBC's press release, May 2013) Parents Dan Yoder (Mike O'Malley, "Glee," "My Name Is Earl") and wife Karina (Mary McCormack, "In Plain Sight," "The West Wing") find out on the day their daughter Molly (Ella Rae Peck ("Deception," "Gossip Girl") is graduating from high school with an acceptance to college, she announces she pregnant. Across town in East L.A., Junior Hernandez (Joseph Haro, "Glee," "Awkward"), in the middle of his high school valedictorian speech, gets a text from girlfriend Molly that he's going to be a daddy. Expectedly, Junior's parents Miguel (Ricardo Chavira, "Desperate Housewives") and Lisette (Justina Machado, "Six Feet Under," "ER") are also upset, as they now have Caucasians in the family. What follows is a crash course in culture blending as Molly and Junior decide they want to get married and, in doing so, bring together two very different families.

Thoughts: Welcome To The Family recalls to mind the season six premiere of Boy Meets World. Cory and Topanga sneak away to marry. Amy turns heel by cursing Topanga's existence. Amy and Alan must decide how to handle their new daughter-in-law. Angela, for whatever reason, is mortified by the hasty decision to marry. Two episodes later, the wedding thing is forgotten, and Cory's fled to Jackson Hole to retire with Mr. Feeny. I'd like a severe right turn in Welcome to the Family. The preview showcased nothing but a potential wedding and a pregnancy--two of the worst storylines in television. I do like the diversity aspect of Welcome to the Family.

SEAN SAVES THE WORLD

Created By Victor Fresco

Premiere Date: Thursday, October 3 at 9PM

Premise: (from NBC's press release, May 2013) Sean (Sean P. Hayes, "Will & Grace") is a divorced gay dad who juggles a lot - his successful but demanding career, offbeat employees, pushy mom Lorna (Linda Lavin, "Alice") and weekends with his teenage daughter, Ellie (Sami Isler). So when she moves in full-time, it's a whole new world.

Thoughts: The preview showed no juggling. Sean Hayes is an entertaining guy. His Will & Grace character still follows him, as YouTube folk couldn't get past an actor playing different roles. Sean's a gay man, divorced, raising a teenage daughter on his own. He struggles with that, with a demanding boss (but comically demanding), and his mom is pushy and overbearing. The beats of the first episode must be on the universal white board of Hollywood. Well, no, just in any screenwriting book or blog. NBC's constantly trying to move away from the Community type of sitcom and back into more traditional sitcoms, but Community's still ticking. Ask Matthew Perry how returning to the old guard worked out. Six seasons and a movie!

DRACULA

Created By Cole Haddon & Daniel Knauf

Premiere Date: Friday, October 25 at 10

Premise: (from NBC's press release, May 2013) Golden Globe winner Jonathan Rhys Meyers ("The Tudors") stars in this provocative new drama as one of the world's most iconic characters. It's the late 19th century and the mysterious Dracula (Rhys Meyers) has arrived in London, posing as an American entrepreneur who wants to bring modern science to Victorian society. He's especially interested in the new technology of electricity, which promises to brighten the night - useful for someone who avoids the sun. But he has another reason for his travels: He hopes to take revenge on those who cursed him with immortality centuries earlier.

Thoughts: The description follows, "Everything seems to be going according to plan... until he becomes infatuated with a woman who appears to be a reincarnation of his dead wife." Yeah, infatuation with a woman who appears to be a reincarnation of his dead wife would disrupt any plan. Rhys Meyers definitely has a presence as Dracula. His American accent's decent. He quotes Darwin, which was the laziest thing about the preview. Darwin's On the Origin of Species wasn't the only work published in the 19th century. People know about Darwin though. Networks want to appeal to the broadest audience possible. So, cool, I guess. The "Pilot' was directed by a director of The Tudors. The producers of Downton Abbey. Name-dropping in the preview is usually misleading. Kitsis and Horowitz were important writers on LOST, but Once Upon A Time blows. The preview suggests a gothic, moody interpretation of Bram Stoker's text with a helping of night time soap. Grimm should be a solid lead in for Dracula. I'll check out an episode or two.

Related: The Blacklist, Television, Fall Preview, TV Networks, NBC

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Photo Credits: NBC

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