Previewing NBC’s Fall 2012 Season- Part 1

Upon hearing that  Community got renewed for a fourth season, I was excited, but also a little disappointed in the size of the order. Thirteen episodes means less of a chance of further continuation (six seasons and a movie!), but given the fact that NBC needed room to budget its new shows it wasn’t a surprise. It also got me very curious about the upcoming Fall season.

Most shows produced for network television never see the light of day.  A lot of them get cancelled after a few episodes. Some get really bad time slots,  others get terrible lead-ins. A lot of times, it’s just a bad show. The point is very few shows get respectable runs, especially in recent years. On NBC, the only truly stellar run in the last 5 years has been The Office, which is clearly on the decline. Not since the ending of  Friends could any show on the network truly be considered a “classic”, so there’s a certain degree of skepticism in my mind when there are six shows debuting in the fall and many more set to debut afterwards.

Go On

Lately, Matthew Perry has made a career of less than promising movies and sitcoms that go no more than 15 episodes. It’s just not the same as when he was Chandler. Hopefully that will change because Go On is looking promising.

As Ryan King, Perry portrays a slick, sarcastic sportscaster who, after the death of his wife, is ready to get back to work. However, his boss will not let him back on the air until he goes to group therapy. King’s goal is really just to get back on the air as soon as he can, but it seems that his less-than-caring approach seems to work for him and the group. Perry’s character resorts back to what worked best for Chandler: a tragic backstory and the use of humor as a defense mechanism.

The highlight of the trailer was a sequence of Ryan holding a contest for “Who has the best sob story?”, known as “March Sadness”.  With its snarky attitude, a caring story, and what seems like a solid supporting cast for Perry, this show looks like it could last a while. NBC is advertising this series as Matthew Perry’s return. Here’s hoping it’s a bit more triumphant than the last attempt, which was Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip in 2007.

The New Normal

The New Normal centers around Goldie, a young woman from Ohio who just discovered her husband cheated on her, so she runs away with her daughter to California. Goldie then meets Bryan Buckley and David Murray, a gay couple that badly wants to have a baby. Goldie agrees to be a surrogate mother for them, saying “a family is a family, and love is love.” Also, Goldie needs a way to change her daughter’s life and the $35,000 compensation will be enough for a great start.

With a caring premise, a sweet cast, and what nbc.com describes as “a post-modern family”, The New Normal seems to be imparting a message in which I wholeheartedly agree. It did not, however, make me laugh. Since this is clearly an attempt at sitcom, it did not do its job. The premise seems caring, but it also seems to be a gimmick. Television seems to certainly have affected the public’s attitude of the gay community, which is good, but it is more important, in order to be a successful sitcom, to make the public laugh. “Love is love” is a simple message, but it doesn’t seem to be a funny one.

Guys with Kids

Guys with Kids is a comedy about three young dads with babies who “make fatherhood fun”. The dads, Chris, Nick, and Gary, seem to be trying to hold on to their youth. They engage in activities seeming more appropriate for guys who are completely unattached. Chris, Nick, and Gary do thinks like bring their babies to the bar and Chris brings his baby to a Knicks game.

The three leads occuppy the roles of “Single Guy”, “Working Guy”, and “Stay at Home Guy” with the premise bringing a completely different conflict for all of them. Overall, it seems to be a struggle for each character to maintain their masculine identity. It may look cheap, absurd ,or irresponsible, but all of those things can potentially be funny.

I’m not sure how to respond to this one, as I generally have a negative bias towards multi-camera shows with a laugh track. Also, the premise is largely silly. Although, I did chuckle a few times during the trailer, the show doesn’t seem to be denying that it seems silly. On the plus side, Guys with Kids seems to be relatable and heartfelt in its own way. New dads may identify with the guys’ efforts and new moms can relate to the women’s frustration. Currently, I’m on the fence with this show, but it does appear to be  one I would check out on my own because of curiousity. We’ll have to wait and see with this one.

For more on NBC’s Fall 2012 season, check out Part 2. To find out about Fox, check out this article.

Posted on May 20, 2012, in NBC, Network Television and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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