Bullz-Eye's 2007 Fall TV Preview: NBC
The success of "Heroes" has left NBC so happy that they're willing to just sweep the failure of "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" under the rug. It's a rare year for the Home of the Peacock, with absolutely no new sitcoms amongst their four new programs, and since three of those four shows are looking strong right out of the box, they're no doubt hoping they won't have any programming holes to fill 'til "Scrubs" finishes up its run.
Chuck (Monday, September 24 @ 8:00 PM, NBC)
Starring: Adam Baldwin, Joshua Gomez, Sarah Lancaster, Zachary Levi, Yvonne Strahovski
Producer: Chris Fedak, Josh Schwartz, McG
Network's Description: A one-hour, action-comedy series about Chuck Bartowski -- a computer geek who is catapulted into a new career as the government's most vital secret agent. When Chuck opens an e-mail subliminally encoded with government secrets, he unwittingly downloads an entire server of sensitive data into his brain. Now, the fate of the world lies in the unlikely hands of a guy who works at a Buy More Electronics store. Instead of fighting computer viruses, he must now confront assassins and international terrorists. With the government's most precious secrets in Chuck's head, Major John Casey of the National Security Agency assumes the responsibility of protecting him. His partner is the CIA's top agent (and Chuck's first date in years), Sarah Walker. They'll try to keep him safe by trading in his pocket protector for a bulletproof vest.
The Buzz: It looks like Josh Schwartz hoarded all of his pop culture gags for this series (as opposed to his other new production gig, on The CW’s “Gossip Girl”), while McG is using the chops he learned from the “Charlie’s Angels” flicks to good effect.
Pilot Highlight: Adam Baldwin’s smirk at the end of the episode, which speaks volumes as to how much he’s looking forward to keeping an eye on Chuck.
Bottom Line: If the producers can maintain the same blend of comedy and action in the series proper that they’ve achieved in the pilot, “Chuck” should make for a fun 8 PM romp.
Journeyman (Monday, September 24 @ 10:00 PM, NBC)
Starring: Moon Bloodgood, Reed Diamond, Gretchen Egolf, Brian Howe, Kevin McKidd
Producer: Kevin Falls, Alex Graves
Network's Description: A romantic mystery-drama about San Francisco newspaper reporter and family man, Dan Vasser, who inexplicably begins to travel through time and change the course of people's lives. Along the way, he must also deal with the difficulties and stress at work and home brought on by his sudden disappearances. However, his freewheeling travels through the years reunite him with his long-lost fiance, Livia -- which complicates his blissful, present-day life with his vivacious wife, Katie, and adorable son, Zach.
The Buzz: The biggest buzz comes from the fact that people are being instantly reminded of "The Time Traveler's Wife," but, hey, whatever catches people's attention. Given that NBC is putting the show behind "Heroes," it's clear they're hoping for back-to-back must-see TV.
Pilot Highlight: Aside from all the fun the producers are clearly having with the pop culture references for whatever year Dan's visiting (i.e. walking down the street to the soundtrack of Billy Ocean's "Get Out of My Dreams, Get Into My Car"), it's in the last moments, when Dan manages to save his marriage...for now, anyway.
Bottom Line: The highlight might be in the last moments, but the show's premise keeps it interesting throughout, not to mention fraught with the possibility of paradoxes. If "Heroes" maintains its buzz, the chances of Dan's journey continuing for at least a full season seem very promising.
Bionic Woman (Wednesday, September 26 @ 9:00 PM, NBC)
Starring: Chris Bowers, Miguel Ferrer, Will Yun Lee, Molly Price, Michelle Ryan
Producer: David Eick, Glen Morgan, Jason Smilovic
Network's Description: Struggling as a bartender and surrogate mom to her teenage sister, Jaime Sommers didn't think life could get much harder. But when a devastating car accident leaves her at death's door, Jaime's only hope for survival is a cutting-edge, top-secret technology that comes at a hefty price. With a whole new existence and a debt to re-pay, Jaime must figure out how to use her extraordinary abilities for good -- while weighing the personal sacrifices she will have to make. Ultimately, it's Jaime's journey of self-discovery and inner strength that will help her embrace her new life as the Bionic Woman in this new action-drama series.
The Buzz: Some critics are concerned that there's almost no similarity between the original "Bionic Woman" premise and this one, while others figure it won't matter, since they suspect very few people even remember the original "Bionic Woman," anyway. (Personally, I think the latter camp is seriously underestimating today's generation and their love of kitschy series from the '70s.) Whatever the case, most concede that this new, dark take on the show is way better than any show with this name has any right to be.
Pilot Highlight: Jaime's epic rooftop battle with a woman who claims to be the first bionic woman.
Casting Caveat: The actress playing Jaime's deaf sister has been replaced, and, in a move presumably unrelated to the change in actress, the character will now no longer be deaf. (The original actress wasn't actually deaf, anyway, so it's not like it would've mattered that the new actress also isnt deaf.)
Bottom Line: This is one of those statements that comes back to bite critics in the arse, but, honestly, it's hard to imagine this not being the "Heroes"-like break-out series of the 2007 season. If it starts slow, though and given that it's pitted against "Private Practice" (the "Grey's Anatomy" spin-off), it may let's just hope NBC lets it stick around long enough for Lindsay-Wagner-hating skeptics to give it a chance.
Life (Wednesday, September 26 @ 10:00 PM, NBC)
Starring: Adam Arkin, Damian Lewis, Sarah Shahi
Producer: Rand Ravich, Dan Sackheim, Far Shariat
Network's Description: A new drama about a detective who is given a second chance. Complex, offbeat Detective Charlie Crews, thanks to close friend and attorney Constance Griffiths, returns to the force after serving time in prison for a crime he didn't commit.
The Buzz: There are some key premise details missing from that description. Much of the show's character comes from Charlie playing catch-up for all the time he spent behind bars, and that; also not mentioned is that Charlie's also rolling in dough, thanks to the huge wrongful-arrest settlement he scored. The problem for most critics, though, isn't the premise; it's the character. In the pilot, Charlie comes across as one of those characters who's straddling the line between eccentric and annoying, and he tends toward the latter more often than he ought to, which is troublesome.
Pilot Highlight: A few minutes into the proceedings, when neither the viewer nor Charlie's fellow officers has any idea what to except from him, and it looks for all the world like he's about to stab a dog.
Casting Caveat: The role of the lawyer who helps Charlie Crews overturn his conviction, played by Melissa Sagemiller in the pilot, will now be filled by Brooke Langton.
Bottom Line: Arkin's woefully underutilized in what we see here, and but there's something interesting in the concept, if Charlie's character can be made to see eccentric without being too wacky. Mind you, it may not matter; "Dirty Sexy Money" will likely kill the show in the ratings, if only because there's no major matinee name in this cast.