Best TV Channel Tournament Primer: NBC
July 11, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I watched an episode of Persons Unknown the other day on Netflix. For those of you that don’t know, and I wouldn’t blame you, Persons Unknown was a Lost-wanna-be drama about a group of strangers that wake up in a very small fake town and don’t know how or why they ended up there. It’s an interesting concept created by Chris McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects, writer) and I had very high expectations for this show before it premiered a year or two ago. Re-visiting the series the other day helped confirm what I had already felt and then some:
Persons Unknown is without a doubt one of the worst shows I have ever seen. It is one of the worst productions of anything I have ever seen. It’s absolutely terrible, a black mark on the progress of television as a serious medium for drama over the last decade. Persons Unknown is what would come out of you if you ate LOST, took a dump, vomited on your dump, ate the domp/vomit mixture, and dumped it out again. The acting alone would make it one of the worst things I have ever seen (the ONLY person you’ll probably recognize is Cameron from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) but the writing, the bad production, all of it… a complete mess.
What else should we come to expect from NBC these days?
Once the gold standard, NBC has turned out bad show after bad show and then pushed aside any good show (Community, Parks and Rec) that they happened to pick up, which could have only happened by accident. It’s gotten so bad that at one point NBC was actually behind UNIVISION in the key 18-49 demographic if you just didn’t count Sunday Night Football.
Outside of Law & Order: SVU, which was started in 1999, the longest-running drama on the network is Parenthood, which started in 2010. Think about that for a second. As The Office and 30 Rock begin their swan songs, and as they push away Parks and Community, what will NBC even be left with? Things are so bad that Whitney is coming back.
I really have nothing left to say. NBC is bad and it only looks like its going to get worse, but they’ve got a whole crapload of new shows coming in the fall and midseason and thank God that Persons Unknown will never air again. (As a huge Usual Suspects fan, I was supremely disappointed in McQuarrie. I later found out that he basically ditched the show in the very early stages and of course they continued to use his name. You’re forgiven.)
Here are the shows that are currently on NBC.
Law & Order: SVU
While it’s very entertaining, SVU is really damn silly. How could anyone sit through an SVU marathon and not giggle for hours on end, even without being high? SVU once peaked at 15 million viewers per episode, but as of last season (without Christopher Meloni) it did about half of that. How much longer before SVU joins regular Law & Order on the cancelled list?
Smash dominated much of the promo season and here’s what I can tell you from reports because of course I never watched it: Quality declined rapidly after the pilot and so did the ratings. Still, its NBC’s #1 drama… and no that doesn’t mean it’s doing good overall. (#47)
I saw the first episode of Grimm and thought it seemed promising, so there’s that.
Parks and Recreation
Up All Night
The first four are rather groundbreaking comedies. Let’s break down the update on that: Steve Carrell is gone. More have left or are leaving The Office. 30 Rock is entering it’s final season. Parks and Recreation is possibly the best sitcom on television, but admittedly low ratings threaten it’s lifespan. If it suffers the same fate as Community, it will wind up on Fridays with Whitney, one of the worst comedies on network television. And Community has lost its creator and showrunner, Dan Harmon.
Up All Night is pleasant.
The top four once could have constructed the best comedy lineup in ALL of television, but somehow they never seemed to wind up on Thursdays at the same time with half-seasons for shows like Parks, Community, and 30 Rock so that they could push new shows like Outsourced. Still, Outsourced was somehow not as bad as Whitney.
As we’ve seen recently, NBC has no problem cutting out quality for laugh-tracked, mass-pleasing CRAP. Damn it America, stop watching shitty shows and pay attention to the good ones.
Animal Practice: Meet Dr. George Coleman, a top-dog New York veterinarian. With an unorthodox style of operating, George’s success comes from his undeniable gift with animals of all kinds. That is, all but the human kind.
I just watched a two-minute preview of Animal Practice, and while I never laughed out loud, chuckled, or laughed on the inside, at least I find Justin Kirk (Weeds), Tyler Labine and Bobby Lee to be fun to watch. It looks terrible but we’ll see.
Go On: All you need to know is that everybody loves Matthew Perry, especially the networks that keep bringing him back for more. None of his shows have worked since Friends, but I admit that I’m always slightly interested.
The New Normal: A woman becomes a surrogate mother so a gay couple can start a family.
I’m guessing that this show will last about as long as the pregnancy.
Guys With Kids: “A show developed by Jimmy Fallon…”
(I know how harsh I am being. I am really not trying to be. I thought that the trailer for Community looked stupid as heck and thought a show with Joel McHale would NEVER work. It works pretty well. But to be honest, NBC sees its best shows as its failures and so I can only assume that they’ll continue to add shows like Whitney, Outsourced, and The Paul Reiser Show, and many more that I’m forgetting that sucked, believing that they’ll do better. You’ll only do better if you start adding more quality because you’re about to lose a bunch of it after this fall.)
Revolution: Revolution takes place in a post-apocalyptic future. Fifteen years earlier, an unknown phenomenon permanently disabled all advanced technology on the planet, ranging from computers and electronics to car engines and batteries. People were forced to adapt to a world without technology, and due to the collapse of public order, many areas are ruled by warlords and militias. The series focuses on the Matheson family, who possess an item that is the key to not only finding out what happened fifteen years ago, but also a possible way to reverse its effects.
Revolution is possibly one of the most interesting and compelling upcoming shows of the fall and debuts on September 17 (Mondays) at 10 PM, and not only because of the interesting premise. The show is created by Eric Kripke (Supernatural), JJ Abrams is attached as Executive Producer, Jon Favreau directed the pilot, and Giancarlo Esposito (GUS FRING!) is in it, though he’s deep on the cast list.
There have been many shows (HI PERSONS UNKNOWN, AGAIN!) that have disappointed me. Maybe Revolution will be one of those, but I’m still interested to see it and see where it goes.
Chicago Fire: Do you actually need me to tell you the premise of this show? You get it. Another cop, fire, or doctor show set in Chicago, where all of the people in civic duty are sexy.
I’m not going to go over all of the shows NBC has set for midseason debut, because there are TEN of them. That’s like 8 more new shows than I have seen on other networks. Basically, NBC is cleaning house completely now that it’s scraping the bottom of the network barrel.
Not so promising: there’s a show starring Dane Cook, a show bringing back Howie Mandel as host, a show with Jenny McCarthy, and a reality “finding love” show produced by Eva Longoria. Expect NBC to clean house again next year.
The Biggest Loser
America’s Got Talent
Love in the Wild
Betty White’s Off Their Rockers
I watched a few seasons of Loser and it’s interesting to watch people lose weight but now I would rather just watch HEAVY or Extreme Weight Loss in order to see the transformations all at once and not have Subway pushed down my throat.
America’s Got Talent is like the most contest reality show ever. You’d be amazed at how amazed Nick Cannon is at stuff.
The singing competition shows like The Voice seem to be the lowest common denominator on getting ratings. “We’re struggling, copy American Idol QUICK!”
NFL, Sunday Night Football
Notre Dame Football
French Open Tennis
Tour de France
Despite the fact that ABC is owned by Disney, which owns ESPN, or whatever, NBC really has a leg up on the sports competition. They’ve got Sunday Night Football, PGA golf, some tennis, the Triple Crown, and the Tour de France, all of which boost their ratings and keep people tuning in. They’ve also go the upcoming Super Bowl, which they’ll use to launch some shows and whatever.
But most important right now is The Olympics, which is going to probably save NBC from borrowing money from The CW. I’m excited for the Summer games, for sure.
The Golden Globes
Saturday Night Live
Jimmy Fallon, Carson Daly, Jay Leno
SNL is still on the air after almost 40 years, which is an amazing accomplishment. Variety/skit shows just aren’t supposed to last this long, but even through their down years they’ve managed to stay alive long enough for another string of funny comedians. I’m not sure what the future holds for this cast as more of the funny people leave the show, and it’s not the funniest thing I watch anymore, but it’s still got its moments.
I love my Dateline Mysteries.
Jay Leno has long been the least-funny person on late night shows, but nobody seems to care. Jimmy Fallon is very impressed with Jimmy Fallon.
NBC is in the shitcan with most of it’s programming. Their strongest lineup was the Thursday night lineup and a year from now you’ll see just how far away from funny that has gone from it’s prime. 30 Rock is leaving, The Office is probably next, and Community is going to die on Fridays. Will any of their new programming be funny or will it be like most of the crap they’ve put on in the last two years?
The dramas are terrible, but maybe Revolution could save the day.
Then again, maybe it’s the next Persons Unknown.