After seeing previews of the new fall shows from NBC, all set to debut in the next few weeks, here are some recommendations and reviews. Two of the five are very good and one is good. The other two: not so much.
biggest show on NBC's docket is The Playboy Club. From, Academy
Award-winning producer Brian Grazer, it's a big, beautiful, yet dark show set
in 1960's Chicago with Hugh Hefner and his gang as the backdrop. In fact,
Hefner appears, like George Steinbrenner in Seinfeld, as a voice and
silhouette. This show is very interesting. Like Mad Men and,
presumably ABC's upcoming Pan Am, it's a period driven soap opera with
big sets, lots of extras, showstopping design and even "live" music
performances. I'm not at all sure about the plot line, though. It's
basically about what happens in and around the club with Nick Dalton (Eddie
Cibrian of CSI: Miami and Third Watch) as the protagonist.
He's with one Bunny, then another. There's the death of a mob boss with
whom Nicke has yet-to-be-revealed ties, though he is an up and coming state's
attorney. There's also some cute casting. David Krumholz of Numb3rs
is the original manager of the night spot. I believe The Playboy Club
will be talked about and will have a following. With Pan Am and Mad
Men I don't know whether or not it will survive.
Maria Bello, the
protagonist in Prime Suspect (based on the British series of the same
name) makes Angie Harmon's Detective Rizzoli of Rizzoli & Isles
and both Cagney and Lacy look like blushing princesses. She's the
toughest woman on TV you've ever seen, a homicide detective in a program the
network touts as "all dicks and one Jane." She's bucking for
promotions and solving cases while a fellow detective has died of a heart
attack leaving a four-year-old daughter. Jane's a good cop, but she
doesn't play nice with others. The guys in her squad don't give her a
break; in fact they treat her very harshly. Her personal life revolves
around her brother and father, who in the cliche of cliche's, owns a bar.
Oh, and this show has plenty of grisly dead bodies and blood. Give it a
try if meanness and violence are your thing, but this is not a
fabulous show, yet.
Hank Azaria in Free
Agents on NBC plays a just-divorced middle-aged guy who's crushed. He
wants to start dating again, but is in no way ready. Yet, he sleeps with
his colleague, Helen, played by Kathryn Hahn, who is a mess herself. The
action takes place in a public relations firm where the workers are doing the
dirty work for clients like corporate giants that sell food to people who end
up with salmonella. The workplace grunts are a bunch of jerks who act
like teenagers. The relationship part of this program has promise as does
the general workplace scenario, but the supporting cast is for kids.
Up All Night features Christina
Applegate and Will Arnett as new parents who switch roles. She goes back to
work at a TV talk show. He stays home with the baby. They're both
pretty immature as they navigate the cliches of baby rearing - no sleep,
changing the baby, messiness and no alone time. It's tedious and you've
seen it before. What's even worse is that these two refuse to
give in to adulthood and stay up all night in the premiere, at least, to go
partying and to do karaoke. These two are well into their 30's.
It's so ridiculous that they wake up with hangovers and get angry when the
baby needs their attention. They seem to see the error of their ways at
episode's end, but I get the feeling the silliness will continue. Don't
waste your time.
Whitney Cummings (Chelsea Lately) and Chris D'Elia (Glory Daze)
is one of those shows you think of five years from hence when someone
reminds you that a star "was in that NBC sitcom about a couple
who lived together, but didn't want to get married. The guy had a
beard." And you say, "oh yeah, I saw that once, but
forgot about it." That's how bad Whitney is and, since it
doesn't star anyone I'm familiar with, I may be overselling it. Whitney
will be off the air within a few weeks of its premiere on Thursday,