Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Upfronts Week

New York is abuzz with Upfronts, the fabulous time of year when television networks invade theaters, conference space and hotel ballrooms all across town to introduce their new Fall schedules to advertisers and the rest of the world. There are shows-a-plenty being unwrapped and presented, but here are a few that I'm really interested in tracking.

 The Office's very own Mindy Kaling is the latest lady on the scene with another grrrl-centric multi-camera sitcom currently called The Mindy Project that joins Fox's Tuesday comedy line up alongside Raising Hope and New Girl. I have a lot of personal jealousy over Kaling's success, but I have to admit, she's earned her due after so many years at Dunder Mifflin.  In the pilot (and presumably the series), Kaling plays a New York City doctor with a really dysfunctional personal life. She can't find or keep a boyfriend, and appears to do some demeaning things to herself as a result. The trailer below didn't wow me, but seeing it's the pilot - the show might need time to evolve as the episodes go by.

Over at NBC, there's some new shows that will join the multi-comedy line up.
Animal Practice, starring Justin Kirk as an ornery veterinarian who loves his animals and hates the humans who own them. The old Hollywood adage, first uttered by WC Fields is "Never work with children or animals." Screw that. This looks hilarious.  Kirk is ripe for comedy after being naughty and funny on Weeds. I'm rooting for this one to make it.

The New Normal is about a gay couple who bring on a surrogate mom to have their kid, and the surrogate mom who is looking for a new life. The show really looks funny and sweet; however, the political aspect of conservative versus liberal in terms of gay rights seems a little heavy handed. It is a reality in today's world, and probably needed as a basis for conflict. Perhaps temper down and weave itself more cleanly as the show grows.

Matthew Perry's back in a new series with a less than stellar title called Go On where he portrays a recently widowed newscaster who has to now...Go on...with his life. All bets are on that he'll get it on with the counselor he's arguing with in the car.

 Book of Mormon's Josh Gad stars in 1600 Penn as a college student whose act of anarchy on campus gets him into the White House where we meet President Gilcrist and his not-so-perfect family. I don't know if this show has legs, but the trailer is hilarious.

Returning to the Peacock network are Parks and Recreation, The Office, Whitney, Up All Night, and 30 Rock, which returns for it's final season with a 13 episode order. Sadly, with the exception of the very funny live episode a few weeks back, 30 Rock has been losing steam - and prime writers have moved on to great beyond - i.e. development deals in Hollywood. (Goodbye Kay Cannon, John Riggi and anyone else I don't know about.)

So there you have it. Comedies I'm hitching a comedy ride on. Bring it, new Fall season.

Network graphic courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter. I can't do this stuff on Photoshop.

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