Network Showdown: How Will NBC Shape Up This Fall?

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By Magdalena Burnham For the next few weeks, I'll be looking at each major network's new fall shows to predict which network will have the best new programming and which network will let audiences down. This week I'm looking at NBC, which is coming out with four new sitcoms and two new dramas. Revolution: There's definitely something to be said for the pedigree of this show. It was created by J.J. Abrams (Lost), Jon Favreau (Iron Man) and Eric Kripke (Supernatural). Those guys know something about entertainment. Yet, the previews look aggressively boring and cheesy. It seems to just say, "I hope you really like slow-motion sword fighting and obvious commentary on how technology has made our lives different!" Regardless, I'll still give it a chance because of the people involved in creating and, I'm guessing, so will you. Revolution premieres September 17 at 10 p.m. Go On: Matthew Perry has been trying his darndest to get a slightly dark comedy on the air for a long time and based on the preview he may have struck gold with this comedy about a man who reluctantly joins group therapy after losing his wife. The preview kept me laughing throughout and Bret Gelman (Eagleheart) and John Cho (Harold and Kumar) show up as a bonus. Go On premieres September 11 at 9. The New Normal: For anyone who isn't getting enough of Ryan Murphy's special brand of sexist, biphobic, faux progressive preachiness from Glee, he has yet another show and it looks much worse, if that's possible. I mean, at least Glee has cute kids singing. This just has charisma-free actors telling typical sitcom jokes to each other and Nene Leaks in a recurring role. Someone save us from this show. The New Normal premieres September 11 at 9:30. Animal Practice: This show about a doctor, a monkey sidekick and not much else seems more like it was created by a TV-o-Matic machine rather than any actual human beings. I guess it could surprise us. Animal Practice premieres September 26. Guys with Kids: I watched the preview out of obligation even though I felt like the title says it all. It is, in fact, exactly what you think a show called Guys with Kids would be. Worsening matters, it's multi-camera. You would have to have a Swimfan-level obsession with Jesse Brandford to willingly sit through this show. Guys with Kids premieres September 26 at 8:30. Chicago Fire: The preview for Chicago Fire is just people fighting fires in slow motion with no dialogue, so I guess this show could go either way. However, I hope it's good. I want only good things for Jesse Spencer ("House"). Chicago Fire premieres October 10 at 10:00. Final Word Overall, Go On is the only series that really looks promising based on the preview. I'd classify Revolution and Chicago Fire as wild cards, but The New Normal, Animal Practice and Guys with Kids look tacky, unfunny and derivative. I know NBC is sick of their quality comedies losing out to CBS in the ratings, but I have a feeling that their strategy of churning out lowest common denominator multi-camera sitcoms will end up being a lose-lose.

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