Fully Updated with night-by-night analysis on 5/15: I would have posted this earlier, but while the upfronts are great, and this week, for the television fan inside of me, is what the NFL Draft is for the football fan inside of me, I still had 24 and Heroes to watch (thank God for DVR) and I got a bit behind in my blog posting. But my night-by-night anlaysis of NBC's lineup is finally posted. But, first, for those keeping score at home, 24 continued to be mediocre, while Heroes continued to be, well, amazing television. I'm looking much more forward to next week's Heroes season finale then the 24 two-hour season finale, but, as usual, I'll probably DVR Heroes and watch 24. But, maybe not. Okay, but onto more important things, like NBC's Fall 2007 schedule.
NBC kicked off television "upfront" week on Monday by announcing their 2007 fall television schedule which introduces four new dramas (Life, Chuck, Journeyman, and The Bionic Woman) and shuffles a few of their current shows. The least shocking news? Studio 60 was canceled (but more on that at the end of the week). To get a better idea of what each new show is going to be like, Joe from I Am A TV Junkie put together a YouTube reel of a clip from each of the new shows.
Now, to the night by night analysis of NBC's new fall schedule.
8:00 Deal or No Deal
Not much of a surprise that Deal or New Deal and Heroes stay in their respective, successful spots. They were two of the shows which actually worked on NBC this year. And Heroes will get an additional bump with 6 episodes of a "spin off" (of sorts), called "Heroes Origins", which will introduce new potential heroes, and based on the votes of fans on NBC.com, at least one of the 6 will become part of season three of Heroes, a potentially interesting concept. As for new drama Journeyman, I'm not sold.
The show is about a man who lost his fiancé in a plane crash, and then years later, he starts traveling back through time, sometimes to help others, sometimes (apparently) to rendezvous with his now-dead fiancé. I think I liked the show better when it was called Quantum Leap and even more so when it became The Pretender and Early Edition all of which have storylines similar to that of Journeyman. Not to say it couldn't be good (Quantum Leap was a great show, there's a reason why there have been so many shows with similiar plotlines) it just isn't original, and I don't really think I'll have motivation to watch. Though, as it turns out, because ABC is not broadcasting "Big Shots" against it, I may actually tune in th first few episodes. Maybe I'll change my tune.
8-9 pm The Biggest Loser
9-10 pm CHUCK
10-11 pm Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Chuck, to me, seems like a strange show to me. Here's the description from NBC:
Chuck Bartowski is just your average computer-whiz-next-door. He spends his days working for Buy-More with his band of nerdy cohorts, longing to find a woman who can appreciate him. But when an old friend, who happens to be a CIA agent, sends Chuck a mysterious encoded email, the world's greatest spy secrets are embedded into his brain.
He never asked to become the government’s most powerful weapon, but the fate of the country suddenly lies in his unlikely hands. Hopefully, this won’t take away from his video game time! International terrorist plots, sexy spies and cold pizza – it’s all in a day’s work for our trusty hero...Chuck.
At first, it sounds really silly to me, but from the television critics that have seen it, they think it's pretty funny. I watched the full preview on NBC.com and it wasn't as bad as I expected.
8-9 pm Deal or No Deal
9-10 pm BIONIC WOMAN
10-11 pm LIFE
The remake of the Bionic Woman, a seminal show from the 1970s, seems to be getting a lot of the critical buzz, Life is the show I am looking most forward to on the NBC schedule. Life is a show about a police officer who was wrongly convicted of murder, spent 13 years on Death Row, and then, when the truth came out, worked a job as a police detective into his monetary settlement with the city that put him in jail.
Sounds like a dark show, but the preview looked really good. And it has a great cast. Adam Arkin, who has had some great guest spots the last few years on West Wing and Boston Legal, stars as a cellmate turned friend-on-the-outside to Damian Lewis' Charlie Crews, and Lewis' partner is the incredibly beautiful Sarah Shahi, so hard to complain about that. I've been a fan of Shahi since she played Bradley Cooper's reporter friend Jenny on Alias back in 2001, so it's nice to see her back on network TV. I'll definitely be giving this show a chance.
8-8:30 pm My Name Is Earl
8:30-9 pm 30 Rock
9-9:30 pm The Office
9:30-10 pm Scrubs
10-11 pm ER
NBC keeps their Thursday lineup the same, for the most part, and like I did this year, I'll probably skip it, catching up on Scrubs on DVD in a few years. I know people like The Office, but I just never got into it, and I don't like Alec Bladwin or Tracy Morgan, so I never got into 30 Rock either.
8-9 pm 1 vs 100/THE SINGING BEE
9-10 pm Las Vegas
10-11 pm Friday Night Lights
Keeping Las Vegas on Friday makes sense because, for Friday, on a night with lower ratings as it is, Vegas is a solid performer. And I've written about before Tom Selleck will replace James Caan which should add an interesting dynamic to the show. As for Friday Night Lights, while I'm glad the show is coming back, because I want to have a chance to watch it, and everyone who has watched it raves about it, I wish they would have held it back until midseason. Placing it on Friday makes sense, because it doesn't need to do huge ratings on Friday to be successful, I don't know if it makes sense to put a show about high school football on when your target audience (either from the high school players themselves or from their parents) is actually at real live high school football games. I did read an article somewhere which talked about how perhaps the FNL audience is too old to be playing high school football but young enough to nostalgic about it and not have kids to watch playing. Maybe that's right. We'll see.
8-9 pm Dateline NBC
9-11 pm Drama Series Encores
7-8 pm Football Night in America
8-11 pm NBC Sunday Night Football
Not much to see here, or say.
So, overall, NBC came into the upfronts as a 4th place network, and I honestly don't see much to change things. Maybe The Bionic Woman will be a big hit, but I'm not sure it will be. I think Life and Journeyman (especially because it is following Heroes and the 10:00 Monday time period, outside of CSI NY, is open right now) have a shot. But, otherwise, it may be same old, same old for a network which desperately needs to be new again.