Oct 14, 2020
Hit or miss? Predictions for every new show on NBC this fall
With 83% of its schedule filled by Dick Wolf thumbing through the Chicago Yellow Pages looking for interesting occupations, you wouldn’t think NBC would have room for new shows. You’re mostly right: there are only three freshman series on the Peacock Network this fall. Ready for our final round of predictions?
Give NBC credit for not just rebooting Quantum Leap like another lazier network would have done. Instead, they’ve created an entirely new show based on Quantum Leap’s original concept: a team of time travelers trying set right what an evil time traveler has messed up. Fun fact: before Quantum Leap was Quantum Leap, the team of time travelers was supposed to be the crew of the original 1970s Battlestar Galactica chasing an evil Cylon through Earth’s history.
Premieres Monday, Oct. 3.
Winston – Alas, it seems this is a show that’s obligated to stop in its tracks every five minutes to drop a reference or line of dialogue that basically says, “They’re from the future!” (Also, when Black Time Traveler Guy tears into 1937 White Racist Guy, why does he only mention future black actors and entertainers, and not, you know, the country’s first black president?) It’s entirely possible this concept was better handled in Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Timecop. CANCELLED.
Julie – Because who amongst us hasn’t daydreamed about time traveling to Depression-era America inside a big ol’ metal eyeball with the guy from the 90210 reboot? RENEWED.
Marion – We all want to change the past, though in this case the good guys are trying to keep things the same as they ever were, which is a potentially a heartbreaking job—think Captain Kirk in “City on the Edge of Forever” having to watch Edith Keeler get run over by a bus. RENEWED.
Susan – It’s cheesy and a little silly and possibly plagiarized from an existing Spanish drama, but it got a good time slot after The Voice on Mondays. If NBC has faith in it, maybe we should, too. RENEWED.
Rick – I’d like to see more popcorn fun on TV, so in spite of my better judgment, I’ve got my fingers crossed for RENEWED.
Odds of survival: 80%
This Is Us
A group of people who have nothing in common except their birthdays discover they have a lot more in common than just their birthdays in this dramedy about how much we all share, especially really attractive people.
Premieres Tuesday, Sept. 20.
Winston – The overt sentimentality seems to have already hit a nerve, with the trailer getting an amazing 15 million views on YouTube. That may not translate to real word success, but this show should at least provide effective counter-programming to NCIS: New Orleans and Agents of SHIELD. RENEWED.
Julie – So, wait, if the only thing that connects the characters is their birthday, do we get a birthday every episode? Or is the birthday just a buzzword that the characters have to somehow manage to squeeze into their dialogue every week? Either way, this is a character-driven ensemble piece that wins or loses based on the likeability of the cast. I liked the cast. So I say RENEWED.
Marion – Does anyone else cringe at the word “dramedy”? There’s not a great track record for shows where characters share some odd/random connection. Remember Six Degrees? I didn’t think so. CANCELLED.
Susan – NBC really wants to fill in the Parenthood gap until the movie comes out and this will do the job just fine. RENEWED.
Rick – This unobjectionable yawner will glide along on NBC’s cancellation bubble for five years. RENEWED.
Odds of survival: 80%
The Good Place
“Welcome to heaven! Hey, wait a minute, your name’s not on the list.” That’s what happens to Kristen Bell after she’s hit by a tractor-trailer full of (groan) erectile dysfunction pills. Sadly for Kristen, it’s a lot like Mormon heaven from that episode of South Park. Think that concept’s got legs to stand on its own for multiple seasons?
Premieres Monday, Sept. 20
Winston – I didn’t laugh once at this hodgepodge of every joke from every sitcom dating back to the 1950s where a lead character dies and dreams they’ve gone to Heaven (plus a generous helping of recycled gags from Albert Brooks’ Defending Your Life). But I’ll give this show the benefit of the doubt for its cast, and also for being from the creator of Parks & Recreation. RENEWED.
Julie – Veronica Mars goes to heaven! As a big fan of Kristen Bell, I would really love for this one to succeed. (Bell is even sporting her Season 1 Veronica Mars haircut here!) Unfortunately, I don’t see a lot of longevity in this concept or its running punchline, “Angels say the darnedest things!” I actually think the inevitable Season 2 concept for the show, The Bad Place, has way more potential for comedy (because Hell is Hell-arious, naturally). Too bad that season will never come to pass. CANCELLED.
Marion – As a vertically challenged cross-eyed woman, I’m rooting for Kristen Bell, but these whimsy-filled shows have a tendency to start strong and die fast. I’m going with cautious optimism. RENEWED.
Susan – Heaven is missing an angel and a real plot. You’re telling me that the Big Man upstairs doesn’t have a real security team that would have caught onto this? CANCELLED.
Rick – Could’ve been a good movie. CANCELLED.
Odds of survival: 40%
What did we get right and what did we get wrong? We want to hear your predictions!