Upfronts 2014: NBC Schedule for the Fall TV Season

Though NBC’s official Upfront presentation isn’t until Monday morning, they got a head start on everyone by announcing their schedule Sunday afternoon. The network picked up 13 shows, along with previously announced event series Heroes: Reborn and A.D., Mark Burnett’s follow-up to The Bible miniseries. A brief look at the new shows and my thoughts on them (which are based purely on their descriptions).

CONSTANTINE [Drama – Fridays @ 10]: Based on the DC Comic, Constantine is con man turned supernatural detective/demon hunter, albeit reluctantly. It’s a character that has been visited once before in a movie of the same name, starring Keanu Reeves, and with Arrow doing so well, it was only a matter of time before we got some other DC characters making their way to TV.

THE MYSTERIES OF LAURA [Drama – Wednesdays @ 8]: Debra Messing bounces back from the Smash mess to star in this show as a homicide detective, who can handle the criminals she puts away but not her twin boys. Add to that? Her ex-husband is now her boss.

MARRY ME [Comedy – Tuesdays @ 9]: Casey Wilson and Ken Marino star as a couple who quickly become engaged, only to realize that being engaged is not all its cracked up to be. From David Caspe, who brought us the incredibly funny and underrated Happy Endings, and again, starring Casey Wilson (also from Happy Endings), I have incredibly high hopes for this show.

Marry Me - Season Pilot

ONE BIG HAPPY [Comedy – Midseason/TBA]: More Happy Endings people! Eliza Cuthbert and Nick Zano play a pair of best friends, Lizzy and Luke, who decide to have a baby together…though it’s in the more medical way because Lizzy’s gay. (So basically, it’s like that one storyline on Will & Grace.) But things get complicated when Luke goes off and gets married, and suddenly they’ve got a different kind of family.

ALLEGIANCE [Drama – Midseason/TBA]: Alex O’Connor (played by Gavin Stenhouse) is a CIA analyst who finds out his parents and his sister are Russian sleeper spies. Things get complicated when they are reactivated and are forced to choose where there loyalties lay – betray their country or turn their son against his. Sounds a little like FX’s The Americans except set in present day. Without a doubt, if done well, the show will be full of interesting drama.

Allegiance

A TO Z [Comedy – Thursdays @ 9:30]: Cristin Milioti (our heretofore Mother of HIMYM) jumps back quickly into another rom-com series, this one set at an online dating company. The show chronicles the “A to Z’s” of a relationship from match-up to break-up. Happy to see Milioti back so soon and though completely unrelated, I hope this show helps us HIMYM fans feel like we’re finally catching up to what “the Mother” was like. But again, the characters are completely different with one another, so just let me pretend this is some alt universe.

A to Z

AQUARIUS [Drama – Midseason/TBA]: Set in the 1960s, an undercover L.A. cop (played by David Duchovny) sets out to find Charles Manson, before the infamous murder spree occurred. It’s set as a 13-episode event series, which for these types of mystery stories is becoming the ideal, and I think works out much better than attempting to stretch it out over multiple seasons.

BAD JUDGE [Comedy – Thursdays @ 9]: Kate Walsh jumps back into TV, trading in the drama of being a doctor on Private Practice/Grey’s Anatomy, for the comedy of being a House-like judge. Things take a turn in her life when a boy who’s parents she put away in jail comes asking for her help. We’ve seen this before: wild-child with a heart of gold; it doesn’t seem particularly new but who knows, it might surprise me later.

MISSION CONTROL [Comedy – Midseason/TBA]: Krysten Ritter stars as an aerospace engineer, who leads a team of NASA scientists. The catch? It’s the 1960s and she’s the only female in a group of men. Ritter is a great talent but I’m not so sure about the premise. Granted, it is a comedy so it’s not going to be incredibly serious given the subject matter, but I’m just not sold on it.

ODYSSEY [Drama – Midseason/TBA]: A soldier (Anna Friel), a corporate lawyer (Peter Facinelli), and a political activist (Jake Robinson) find themselves drawn into the same international military conspiracy in this series that is drawing comparisons to the movie Traffic, with its intersecting storylines. Who doesn’t love a good conspiracy theory? Played out right and the ride could be absolutely thrilling.

Odyssey

STATE OF AFFAIRS [Drama – Mondays @ 10, starting in November]: Katherine Heigl returns to TV since leaving Grey’s Anatomy in 2010. Here she plays Charleston Tucker, a top CIA analyst who briefs the President (Alfre Woodard) on the biggest security issues of the nation and the world. It doesn’t seem incredibly compelling on the description alone but this could turn out to be a mix of Homeland and Scandal, without the crazy. I’m not a huge fan of Heigl so her starring in the show isn’t a big draw for me; we’ll see how I feel come November.

State of Affairs

UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT [Comedy – Midseason/TBA]: Tina Fey and Robert Carlock created this show starring Ellie Kemper as Kimmy, who escapes from a doomsday cult and attempts to restart her life in NYC.

MR.ROBINSON [Comedy – Midseason/TBA]: Craig Robinson is a musician, who has to readjust his life when he takes a job as a middle-school music teacher. I’m thinking School of Rock but with Robinson instead of Jack Black.

Other Notables:

  • Parenthood has been renewed for a 13-episode final season. As sad as it is for me to see it go, I think Parenthood is one of the shows that has given NBC a lot of good will because it wasn’t pulling spectacular ratings, was perpetually on the bubble, and NBC kept renewing it. Obviously, it wasn’t going to run on forever, so it is at least nice of the network to give the show a proper send-off, as opposed to abruptly cancelling it.
  • It was also announced that Parks and Recreation will be ending after this coming 7th season, which saddens me but it also makes sense. With the events of the season finale, you have a small glimpse of what’s to come in this final season and plus it’s hard to figure out what else there is for Amy Poehler’s Leslie Knope career-wise. Again, the show fought the odds to last this long. Another thing of note is the fact that the show isn’t on the fall schedule and is being kept for midseason.
  • Speaking of midseason, you’ll notice that quite a number of NBC’s new shows are being saved for later on in the season. A lot of those shows seem to have a lot of potential, so to keep it until midseason is a risk, especially for NBC because in recent years, midseason hasn’t worked out all that well for the shows or the network. We’ll have to wait and see I suppose.
  • NBC’s comedy Thursday line-up seems to be done for the moment, with The Biggest Loser now anchoring the night, leading into the new comedies Bad Judge and A to Z. With CBS now doing two night of comedy on Mondays and Thursdays, NBC faced really tough competition, particularly against The Big Bang Theory on Thursdays. I suppose I understand the decision to try something different, but it feels weird to not see a complete comedy lineup on NBC Thursdays.
  • The fall schedule will see About A Boy stay on Tuesdays, but now following Marry Me, which is getting The Voice lead-in. The Blacklist will continue to air after The Voice on Monday nights until State of Affairs takes over, at which time The Blacklist will take a break and return to the schedule in February on Thursdays @ 9. Hannibal will return sometime midseason.

For more on the new shows (including trailers!) and a complete look at the fall schedule, head on over to Buzzfeed or EW.

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