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TV Squad previews NBC's new shows (part 1)

by Kona Gallagher, posted Jul 3rd 2009 2:00PM
nbc logoNBC isn't exactly engendering a lot of goodwill among people, with their cancellations of shows like Life and Medium, and My Name is Earl. The fact that they're replacing these shows with not one but two medical shows, isn't exactly a confidence booster. NBC hasn't sent screeners of all their pilots yet, hence the "Part 1" in the title. But I have gotten a taste of both their comedy and drama offerings with Community, a comedy starring The Soup's Joel McHale, and Trauma, one of the aforementioned medical dramas.

Going into this, I didn't have high hopes for Trauma, and while I wanted to like Community, I had a bad feeling that it wasn't going to be the vehicle that would change Joel McHale from cute host of a basic cable show to primetime star. Now, after seeing both of them, I will say that I was pleasantly surprised by one.

trauma nbc
Trauma
(Monday at 9:00 PM ET)


Premise of the screener: Trauma follows first responders in San Francisco. They save lives in intense situations while dealing with not only their own relationship and other personal issues, but a tragedy that struck the team one year ago. Main members of the team include Nancy, a paramedic who went to med school and struggles with her perceived sexism on the job and Reuben, a helicopter medic who takes ridiculous risks because he believes he cannot die.

Kona says: In order for a medical drama to be a success in this saturated market, it really needs to have a hook; something to set it apart from all the others. Despite the fact that it deals with paramedics, a job that currently doesn't have representation on TV, it looks a lot like similar predecessors Third Watch and Saved, the short-lived Tom Everett Scott series also about paramedics.

Trauma lost me right away when it became obvious that Nancy was setting herself up to be a victim of sexism-- a med school graduate who isn't allowed into the "boy's club" of her male-dominated profession. The problem is, it's hard to consider her a feminist icon when Nancy's first scene involves her banging a co-worker in the back of her bus and is quickly followed by her arriving at an emergency with her uniform unbuttoned halfway down her ribcage.

The episode started to look up after a huge surprise within the first five-to-ten minutes and kept going until almost the end. I say almost the end, because after one of the characters drives a car Bullit-style through the streets of San Francisco, complete with said car literally flying through the air, I kind of checked out. In all, Monday nights are not an easy night to be on, and I feel that Trauma is just going to get lost in the shuffle.

Community NBC
Community (Thursday at 9:30 PM ET, moves to 8:00 PM ET after 30 Rock returns)

Premise of the screener: Community takes place at a community college, where sleazy lawyer Jeff (Joel McHale) finds himself after the bar association discovers his college degree isn't exactly legitimate. Jeff now has to get a real degree or else his license will be revoked (how a two-year degree from a community college is going to help that, I'm not sure, but I'm willing to go with it). He is joined on his journey of education and self-enlightenment by a cast of characters including Pierce (Chevy Chase), and aging sanitary wipes magnate, Abed (Danny Pudi) a student who may have Asperger's, but is definitely not a terrorist, and Britta (Gillian Jacobs) the hot girl that Jeff is trying to bag.

Kona says: Next to Glee, this is the most promising pilot I've seen so far. Fast-paced and well-acted, I was laughing out loud at the jokes (maybe even snorting occasionally) throughout the entire episode. Joel McHale is a master of likeable smarm, while Chevy Chase is great as a befuddled, aging yuppie. The Daily Show's John Oliver also makes a strong appearance as Jeff's former client whom Jeff helped beat a DUI conviction back in 2002 by invoking 9/11.

Community isn't as edgy as 30 Rock or even The Office, but its snarkiness will fit in perfectly on Thursday nights. This combined with the fact that Parks and Recreation started to get really good in its last few episodes, means that NBC may truly have a resurgence of its Thursday night comedy block this season.

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Saje Williams

Given that Life and Medium were the only reasons I ever tuned into NBC in the first place anymore, I can't see me doing any such thing in the near future for any reason at all. Plenty of other things to watch.

September 28 2009 at 5:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Parker

NBC SUCKS! The cancel all the good shaw and replace them with bad shows. And I don't know if anyone else say the last episode of My Name is Earl, but they left in a cliff hanger, and the NBC comes along and literally throws it down the cliff. But fox is just as bad, They are give seth McFarlane a 3rd show, and are cutting King of The Hill for it, Heck Seths new show, the Cleveland show, which follows Cleveland Brown from family guy, had been renewed for a 2nd season, before the pilot aired! There are 2 shows I like on NBC, and Thats EARL, and The Apprentice. One got the Axe as it was getting better, but how can something that good get better, and the other one comes on once a year. [Sarcasm] So long live NBC! [Sarcasm]

August 26 2009 at 10:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tony DIMeo

I look quite forward to Community with the hilarious Joel McHale and the return of parks and rec hope they don't get cancelled by NBC

July 15 2009 at 2:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
izikavazo

I don't understand how anyone could have ill-will towards NBC. They put so much effort into keeping their struggling shows on the air. The majority of their shows would have been cancelled years ago if they were on other networks. Be happy for what they have given us. There's no need to watch their new shows, but don't complain about the way they cancel their shows.

July 06 2009 at 7:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to izikavazo's comment
Michael

I freaking hate NBC at this point... I won't be watching anything new from them this year and I think there are only two old shows left (Chuck and Heroes) that I still have season passes set up for in my DVR. I buy 30 Rock on DVD so I can blow through it in a couple of sittings and that's it. They've canceled so many great shows the last few seasons that it doesn't make any sense to get attached to anything anymore. I can't stand how bad their television is and how crappy they treat their viewing audience.

July 05 2009 at 8:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gt

cue the NBC standard every-cast-member-standing-in-different-pose,
smiling-or-serious-depending-on-show-type,
-staring-at-camera photo

July 03 2009 at 3:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to gt's comment
Dan

Oh my God! You're right! NBC's publicity photos DO feature the cast of the show, either smiling OR not smiling, depending on whether the show is a comedy or drama! I hope these new shows are half as savvy as the people writing these comments!

July 12 2009 at 12:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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