In addition to cancelling Life earlier today (not that I’m bitter), NBC revealed the six new series it has picked up for the 2009-2010 season.
First, the bad news: I’ve read through the descriptions and casting sides for all of the shows except Trauma, and despite the fact that they are all ensembles with more characters than you can keep track of, all the leads are straight, as far as I can tell (with the possibility that Guillermo Diaz’s character on Mercy). If anyone in the industry knows otherwise, please send me a tip!
The only one of the series created by a woman is Mercy (the one about female nurses, naturally).
So basically, it’s business as usual on primetime broadcast TV.
The good news? We’ll be getting Maura Tierney (Parenthood), Carly Pope (Day One), and Michelle Trachtenberg (Mercy) on the regular, and some racial diversity among the casts (not a lot, but more than you would have seen in their shows five years ago).
Below is a quick rundown on each of the shows, with the official cast photos, descriptions provided by NBC, and trailers (apologies to our international viewers — I think NBC geo-blocked them to U.S. viewers only).
Emmy winner James Burrows (Will & Grace, Friends) directs 100 Questions, a new comedy series written and executive-produced by Christopher Moynihan (For Your Consideration) that provides hilarious answers to 100 questions about love.
Charlotte Payne (Sophie Winkleman, Peep Show) is looking for love and has rejected multiple marriage proposals — but she has yet to meet Mr. Right. When she joins a popular online dating site, she gets a little help from her dating counselor Ravi (Amir Talai, The Ex List) — who requires her to take a 100-question compatibility test. The questions aren’t easy for Charlotte to answer, and each one requires her to recount a poignant and humorous time in her life with friends Leslie (Elizabeth Ho, Women’s Murder Club), Jill (Joy Suprano, Law & Order), Mike (Christopher Moynihan, For Your Consideration) and Wayne (David Walton Quarterlife). The test becomes a journey of self-discovery for Charlotte who begins to realize what she truly wants in a relationship.
From Emmy Award-winning directors Joe and Anthony Russo (Arrested Development) comes Community, a smart comedy series about higher education — and lower expectations. The student body at Greendale Community College is made up of high-school losers, newly divorced housewives, and old people who want to keep their minds active. Within these not-so-hallowed halls, Community focuses on a band of misfits, at the center of which is a fast-talkin’ lawyer whose degree has been revoked (Joel McHale, The Soup), who form a study group and end up learning a lot more about themselves than they do about their course work. In addition to McHale, the series also stars: Gillian Jacobs (The Book of Daniel); Yvette Nicole Brown (Rules of Engagement); Danny Pudi (Greek); Alison Brie (Mad Men); and comedy legend Chevy Chase (Saturday Night Live).
DAY ONE (mid-season)
From executive producer/writer Jesse Alexander (Heroes, Lost, Alias) and director Alex Graves (Fringe, Journeyman), Day One tells the story of life on earth following a global catastrophe that has devastated the world’s infrastructures. Beginning with the immediate aftermath of the cataclysmic event, an eclectic band of survivors — played by Adam Campbell (Date Movie), Catherine Dent (The Shield), Julie Gonzalo (Eli Stone), David Lyons (ER), Derek Mio (Greek), Carly Pope (24), Thekla Reuten (Sleeper Cell) and Addison Timlin (Cashmere Mafia) — strives to rebuild society as they unravel the mysteries of what happened and face their uncertain future.
The group, all residents of one apartment building in suburban Van Nuys, Calif., embarks on a quest for survival and discovers that hope is found in small victories — and heroes are born every day.
Note: this isn’t really a trailer, since the show is scheduled for mid-season and still filming, it’s more of a behind-the-scenes look at a day of shooting.
Mercy, a new medical drama with a unique point of view, portrays the lives of the staff at Mercy Hospital as seen through the eyes of those who know it best — its nurses. Nurse Veronica Callahan (Taylor Schilling, Dark Matter) returns to Mercy from a military tour in Iraq — and she knows more about medicine than all of the residents combined.
Together with fellow nurses Sonia Jimenez (Jamie Lee Kirchner, Rescue Me) and Chloe Payne (Michelle Trachtenberg, Gossip Girl), Callahan navigates through the daily traumas and social landmines of life and love both inside the hospital and out in the real world. The cast also includes: James Tupper (Men in Trees) as Dr. Chris Sands, a new doctor at the hospital who complicates Veronica’s life; Diego Klattenhoff (Supernatural) as Mike Callahan, Veronica’s husband; and Guillermo Diaz (Weeds) as Nurse Angel Lopez.
Joining writer/executive producers Liz Heldens (NBC’s Friday Night Lights) and Gretchen Berg & Aaron Harberts (Pushing Daisies, Pepper Dennis) are executive producers Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun. Emmy Award winner Adam Bernstein (NBC’s 30 Rock, Rescue Me) is the director.
From the executive producers of the box-office hit Parenthood — Ron Howard and Brian Grazer (Oscar winners for A Beautiful Mind), and writer/executive producer Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights) — this contemporary re-imagining of the blockbuster film depicts the colorful and imperfect Braverman family — four grown siblings sharing the headaches, heartaches and joy of being parents.
The star-studded cast includes Peter Krause, Maura Tierney, Craig T. Nelson, Dax Shepard, Bonnie Bedelia, Monica Potter, Erika Christensen and Sarah Ramos. When Sarah Braverman (Tierney, ER), a financially strapped single mother, returns home to her parents and siblings in Berkeley, Calif. after packing up her Fresno apartment and uprooting her two inconvenienced kids, Amber (Mae Whitman, In Treatment) and Drew (Miles Heizer, ER), she is greeted by her opinionated father, Zeek (Nelson, Family Stone, Coach), and strong mother, Camille (Bedelia, Heart Like a Wheel), who are privately dealing with their own marital issues. As Sarah is reunited with her siblings — sister, Julia (Christensen, Traffic), and brothers Crosby (Shepard, Baby Mama) and Adam (Krause, Six Feet Under) — all struggling with issues of their own, it’s clear that the Braverman reunion is just what they need to face the everyday challenges of modern family life.
Executive producer Peter Berg (NBC’s Friday Night Lights) delivers Trauma, the first high-octane medical drama series to live exclusively in the field where the real action is. Like an adrenaline shot to the heart, Trauma is an intense, action-packed look at one of the most dangerous medical professions in the world: first responder paramedics. When emergencies occur, the trauma team from San Francisco General is first on the scene, traveling by land, by sea or by air to reach their victims in time. From the heights of the city’s Transamerica Pyramid to the depths of the San Francisco Bay, these heroes must face the most extreme conditions to save lives — and give meaning to their own existence in the process.
Starring in Trauma are Derek Luke (Notorious), Cliff Curtis (10,000 B.C), Anastasia Griffith (Damages), Aimee Garcia (George Lopez), Kevin Rankin (Friday Night Lights) and Jamey Sheridan (Law & Order: Criminal Intent).
Based on the info available so far, which shows like the best/worst? Which ones do you want to watch? Which one do you think will get cancelled first?
And how do you think Ron Howard justified updating Parenthood, with its sprawling look at modern-day family life, without including any gay, lesbian or bisexual characters? (We can’t get away from lesbian mothers on every other TV show, but on a show that’s actually about modern-day parenting, there are no LGBT parents? Or kids? Really Ron?)