Thursday, April 3, 2008

Face Upfront, True Believer

"Upfronts" is the name given to the meeting when networks unveil the shows they will be unveiling as soon as they unveil them.

Yeah. That makes sense.

Anyway, we got a quick glimpse at some of the new network offerings this week. Here's NBC's slate, along with my always insightful reactions.

"America's Toughest Jobs"

Description -- A Reality Show look at ... well ... America's toughest jobs.

My reaction -- You want a really tough job? Try watching NBC reality shows.

"Chopping Block"

Description -- A Reality Show look at yet another hellish kitchen.

My reaction -- May I please leave the table?

"Crusoe"

Description -- Based on Dafoe's classic, by way of Cast Away and the Pirates of the Caribbean films, a man is shipwrecked and tries to return to civilization and the wife he left behind. Stars to be determined.

My reaction -- An appealing cast and good writing could keep this material above water, but premise-wise, isn't this just a little too "Lost?"

"Kath and Kim"

Description -- Starring "SNL's" Molly Shannon and Zoe herself, Selma Blair. Based on the Australian comedy series, a self-absorbed young woman separates from her husband and moves back home with her divorcee mother who is herself discovering that life doesn't stop at 40.

My reaction -- But life DOES stop at 40. Duh. I'm not a fan of the original Australian series. Bit too precious for me. But I love both Shannon and Blair. This is the first one on the NBC list that I would definitely give a shot.

"Kings"

Description -- A soldier rescues a king's son from enemy territory and is thrust into the limelight, setting off a chain of powerful events in this take on the classic David vs. Goliath struggle. Stars Christopher Egan, Ian McShane and Sebastian Stan.

My reaction -- A solid set-up and a great actor in McShane make this worth a look-see.

"Knight Rider"

Description -- Well, see, there's this talking car and ...

My reaction -- The two-hour pilot was painful to watch. The product-placement money must be too good to pass on this slop.

"The Listener"

Description -- A paramedic who reads minds solves crimes.

My reaction -- I hope he fights with the cop from "Heroes" in one of those big NBC crossover events!

"Merlin"

Description -- The talking bird from "The Brady Kids" finally gets his own show. No wait. I'm sorry. This is about the wizard and King Arthur as youngsters.

My reaction -- It features some good British TV talent like Anthony Head, Colin Morgan and Katie McGrath, but I'd rather see the talking bird.

"My Own Worst Enemy"

Description -- A new show based on the Lit hit! No wait. I'm sorry. It's actually a Christian Slater vehicle where a middle-class efficiency expert/suburban family man shares his body with a trained killing machine. Another take on the classic Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde dynamic.

My reaction -- Merlin? Crusoe? Jekyll and Hyde? Apparently, the gang at NBC Development recently renewed their library cards.

"The Office Spin-Off"

Description -- A spin-off of "The Office." You like how I figured that out?

My reaction -- I love "The Office." I love spin-offs (Bring back "The Ropers!"). Is it wrong to hope they don't change the title?

"The Philanthropist"

Description -- After the death of his only child, a billionaire playboy begins taking extreme measures to help those in need around the world. No cast announced.

My reaction -- This is from the producing team that gave us "Homicide: Life on the Streets," one of the greatest television shows of all time that nobody watched. With this title, I envision a similar scenario, viewership-wise.

"Shark Taggers"

Description -- Yet another Reality thing.

My reaction -- I REALLY hope this is about urban punks scrawling graffiti on the sides of sharks.

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