UPFRONTS: NBC New Show Preview Reactions

Every year, the networks screen brief trailers of their new shows to give their audiences a taste. Here’s my reactions to their trailers for Free Agents, Grimm, The Playboy Club, Prime Suspect, Up All Night, Whitney, Are You There Vodka? It’s Me Chelsea, Awake, Bent, BFF and Smash, all after the jump…

Free Agents
What is it?:
A sitcom, remaking a British sitcom that aired last year.
My reaction: A charming trailer with a great lead trio in Hank Azaria, Kathryn Hahn and Anthony Stewart Head. That said, I don’t know that I’ll like it as a full pilot, nor do I know whether it has the legs to last a full season. Fun trailer, though.

What is it?:
A crime drama with fairy tales as the overarching theme.
My reaction: I don’t know how I feel about Grimm. On one hand, it reminds me deeply of Moonlight, the vampire P.I. show with Alex O’Loughlin that wasn’t that good. However, the absence of the romantic story makes this feel less like Twilight, and I like the lead’s friend chemistry with Silas Weir Mitchell‘s werewolf character. The makeup they use for the creatures will definitely have to grow on me, though. I’ll definitely watch a handful of episodes; it could be the new Supernatural, and might be a good fit with Chuck.

The Playboy Club
What is it?:
A sexy drama set in the heyday of the infamous Playboy club.
My reaction: That was a damn good trailer. The music, the look, the actors, all got a great showcase. Amber Heard and Eddie Cibrian fit seamlessly into the period drama, and it really feels like a world’s been built for this show. Though I don’t see it as a show I’ll regularly watch, and I’m not sure I see The Playboy Club seeing two seasons, it looks very good.

Prime Suspect
What is it?:
A remake of the famous British drama series, originally starring Helen Mirren in the lead role.
My reaction: I am going to watch this show. It may be filled with the same cookie-cutter supporting roles as every cop drama, but it has what it needs to anchor those first few shows: a strong lead to anchor it in Maria Bello. This looks like a lot of fun.

Up All Night
What is it?:
Christina Applegate is a new mom in this sitcom.
My reaction: This looks really, really good. The writing is sharp, Christina Applegate and Will Arnett are hilarious (with Arnett, for once, bringing it down to a realistic scale and still nailing it), and I honestly can’t wait to see the full pilot.

What is it?:
A sitcom starring Whitney Cummings.
My reaction: Bad. Bad bad bad. Cookie cutter comedy, visually boring, and a vehicle for a star who just isn’t popping. It feels like this show has stumbled in, drunk, from the nineties.

Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea
What is it?: A sitcom starring Laura Prepon as a younger Chelsea Handler.
My reaction: This could be awful, or it could be hilarious. The jokes were hit-or-miss, but Laura Prepon is a great comedic talent and the casting and directing for the scenes we saw was pretty good. I have a feeling this one will land solidly.

What is it?:
A drama from Lone Star creator Kyle Killen, about a man who lives two different lives after an accident.
My reaction: I’ve felt strongly about this series since I heard the first inklings of it, and I’m still excited about it. Can’t wait to see it, even if I’m worried it will be too hard for the average viewer to keep up with.

What is it?:
A new sitcom starring Amanda Peet as a single mom who wants to sleep with her manwhore contractor.
My reaction: I love Amanda Peet, and this still looks awful. It’s heartening that this show, which would have been par for the course in past years, got a six-episode order in the first place. Am hoping it gets better, because I’d like to have Peet around on a weekly basis.

What is it?:
Jessica St. Clair, of a thousand guest stints on every comedy in the past few years, stars in a sitcom.
My reaction: Weak. Very weak. Again, would like success for St. Clair but this earned a six-episode order by the skin of its teeth.

What is it?:
Musical drama starring Katharine McPhee and Debra Messing.
My reaction: How one feels about Smash will probably depend on how one feels towards musical television, first, and the trailer second. I love the device of exploring a character’s emotion through song, so I was completely open to Smash… and I think it’ll be very good. We get a lot of the audition process here, so we’ll just see if it holds up dramatically as well as musically as a full pilot.

So… Your thoughts?


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