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TV Squad previews NBC's new shows

by Bob Sassone, posted May 31st 2007 4:39PM

NBC logoOK, so the networks have given their upfronts and they've sent out the screener DVDs. These are the pilot episodes of the new fall shows, in not-quite-completed form. Things could still change before they hit the networks this fall, but they give a good general sense of what the shows are about and what they're like.

Today Joel and I start with previews of some new NBC shows: Bionic Woman, Life, Chuck, and Journeyman. More networks and other shows coming soon!

(Photos courtesy NBC.com)

Bionic Woman

Bionic Woman
(Wednesday at 9PM ET)

Premise of the screener: As you can probably tell from the pic above, this isn't your father's Bionic Woman. The premise is pretty much the same: Jamie Sommers gets into an accident and her professor boyfriend and surgeons have to replace her legs, an arm, her right eye and right ear. This is good, since she'll be using those powers for the government to fight crime (including another bionic woman, an evil one).

Bob says: This is 3000 times darker and more violent than the original, and the military aspect is shadier. That's not a shock, of course, but you can see how different it's going to be from the first scene (a dozen people dead, blood everywhere, etc). It's very Alias-like actually, and you can see the influence of Battlestar Galactica too (it's from the same people and share cast members), though Michelle Ryan doesn't have the charisma or acting ability of Jennifer Garner. Some of the acting is so-so and things happen way too quick, but it could be intriguing. The bad guys are good.


(Monday at 10PM ET)

Premise of the screener: San Francisco reporter Dan Vassar finds himself traveling back in time at random. No one believes it's really happening and they think he's just using drugs. It might hurt his marriage, but he finds out he's going back in time for a reason, to save someone from dying.

Bob says: Yeah, it's sorta like Quantum Leap, only his travels are much more random, and he doesn't (so far, at least) stay in the other time too long. But this could be a ton of fun if it catches on. Lots of references to past events (Michael Jackson, a snippet of Jane Pauley and Bryant Gumbel on a 1987 Today Show, giant cell phones, etc) and a good pop music soundtrack. I also like the fact that at the end of the screener, his wife...well, you can see it when it airs. I like the fact that this isn't just some hero going back in time to save strangers, there's also a personal story going on here too, about an old girlfriend and the key she might hold to his travels. I liked this a lot more than I thought I would.


(Tuesday at 9 PM ET)

Premise of the screener: Twentysomething geek who works in the "Nerd Herd" tech support section for a Best Buy-ish store called Buy More gets an e-mail from an old college friend who is now a CIA agent. It contains thousands of secret files that get downloaded into his brain (don't ask). The government wants to find out what he knows.

Bob says: This thing is all over the place, but it's massively entertaining. I can see why NBC gave it the green light. It has stuff for the geeks, something for spy/action fans, hip music, clever lines, and a likable cast (Zachary Levi from Less Than Perfect plays Chuck, Yvonne Strzechowski is hot, and Adam Baldwin does a variation on his role from Vanished). Hopefully the show can balance the spy stuff with the goofy, geeky romantic comedy stuff, though I wonder if it's just not funny enough for comedy fans and not serious enough for spy fans. But it's such a bizarre mix it could work. Seems like an odd fit for NBC though.

cast of Life

(Wednesday at 10PM ET)

Premise of the screener: Charlie Crews is an LAPD cop who spent 12 years in a maximum security prison serving a life sentence for a murder he didn't commit. After his lawyer, Constance Griffiths, gets him out and gets him a huge settlement from the LAPD, he goes back to the force with a new perspective. His new partner, Dani Reese, has her own troubles, the least of which is dealing with this Zen-spewing cop that no one on the force seems to trust.

Joel says: Get past the main character's meaningless proclamations and his wonderment at newfangled technology like camera phones (as Keith said to me, "What, he didn't read a newspaper in prison?"), and this show is a run-of-the-mill procedural. It's almost as if the writers gave Crews, played by Damian Lewis, quirks upon quirks -- "Why don't we have him be obsessed with fruit?" -- because they knew the show itself wasn't all that distinctive. Adam Arkin, playing a former cell-mate of Crews, is funny, but his character seems like it's just there for comic relief. This show could catch the eye of the Law & Order crowd, but I don't see it being a big hit.

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NBC had a new TV show called "I'm with stupid" it is so funny. but NBC Said no to it. It has Brianne Davis ("Entourage"), Bryan Dilbeck ("The Ringer") and Lusia Strus ("Crossing Jordan") have all been cast in the comedy pilot, about a down-and-out guy who befriends a wheelchair-bound young man and winds up moving into his group home for the disabled. They'll play Dorothy, Graham and Jean in the half-hour

June 03 2007 at 7:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

@Midnight: It is a bit like Day Break, though that ending we're talking about is the biggest difference.

June 01 2007 at 7:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
The Midnight Penguin

Is it just me or does Journeyman have elements of Day Break? Especially the line that says "No one believes it's really happening and they think he's just using drugs." Isn't that sort of what Taye Diggs dealt with when he divulged his situation day after day? Except the viewers didn't get to see much of it happen because it was taken off the air.

June 01 2007 at 1:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So am I the only one that read the description of "Chuck" and thought, "Jake 2.0"?

May 31 2007 at 11:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

@berxor: No, we didn't get that one yet. But I did read the pilot script. It's really the *same* thing as the UK pilot, only they threw in a short scene with some secretaries. That's it! It's the same!

My favorite of this bunch by far was Journeyman. Yes it's not a totally fresh idea, though the ending makes it stand out from the rest -- at least until we see where they go with it in subsequent episodes.

Chuck was ... just OK. It could be good, but I found his "powers" to be a bit ho-hum I guess. Geeks will love the techie references, like "Nerd Herd" as being an obvious shout-out to the "Geek Squad".

Bionic Woman had an Alias feel, but I felt they sorta rushed us into her being a superhero. With today's technology they could have done that a lot better.

'Life' was spot on what Joel said. No newspapers or books in prison, especially for a lifer? That's cruel and unusual punishment! The quirks bothered me: no knowledge of today's technology and his strange affinity for fruit. They seemed like cheap gimmicks where they're not needed.

May 31 2007 at 11:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

did you guys get an IT Crowd?

May 31 2007 at 10:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So Chuck goes against the Unit? Whoohoo...Nerds vs the military.

May 31 2007 at 6:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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