Tag: nbc

NBC | 2017/2018 – Fantasy Schedule

Those are predictions based on feelings and NBC final schedule may end up very differently! It will be announced on Sunday. Stay tuned and until then, enjoy the read!








NBC schedule seems to be the easiest to predict with a limited number of new shows ordered and some strong pieces from monday to wednesday that shouldn’t move. But overcrowding -both weakened The Blacklist & Blindspot are renewed for 22-episode season- may lead to strange decisions. Friday seems to be the day where they can get a little more agressive than the past few years. Let’s not forget they’ll have the Superbowl this year and also the Olympics for 2 weeks in february, which are great platforms to promote the new shows coming midseason. Let’s see what they could come up with…






The post-The Voice slot on monday is traditionally used to launch new shows and since Timeless has been cancelled and Taken seems to be a midseason option/filler once again, The Brave (aka For God and Country) looks like the only new show that could appeal to the audience that watched The Blacklist & Blindspot there before (with mixed results). It’s an action-packed thriller, mostly procedural with serialized elements.





While it wouldn’t be crazy to let Chicago Fire stay after This Is Us to keep the strength of the night intact, it’d be a waste not to use NBC’s number one show as a launchpad for a compatible new one. Rise, which is probably NBC’s favorite drama for next season, is the perfect candidate. The musical component might be a turn off for some people but it’s a Jason Katims’ show, meaning it’s all about the characters and the emotion that comes out. Exactly like This Is Us, which is very close to Katim’s Parenthood. A no-brainer.





Chicago Fire is both the strongest and the most family-friendly show of the Chicago franchise. Moving it to the 8pm slot on wednesday would make a lot of sense. NBC even tested it there one time for a big crossover event between the Dick Wolf shows and it did great. Law & Order:SVU met some difficulties this spring with a series of low numbers but it’s a show that always rebounds in the fall and it beat Criminal Minds a few times. Why would they mess with that? Chicago PD is always fine where it is.





The Superstore/The Good Place pairing didn’t do miracles for NBC last fall but it’s safe to assume they were happy enough to repeat it next year. It would lead into the revival of Will & Grace for a 12-episode season, which is a priority for the network. They’re already promoting it heavily… Will it be as huge as they’re hoping for? Probably not. But can it do better than Chicago Med? Probably yes! Since NBC didn’t pick up any multicamera comedy to pair it with, Great News seems to be the best option. It feels like a multicamera as a lot of critics pointed out when it started and it’s a comedy NBC has faith on apparently: they renewed it despite terrible numbers. It’s its only chance to do better. Chicago Med at 10 where ER aired for years doesn’t seem to be far-fetched.





After years of low profile programming on friday, NBC seems to be ready to become a little more agressive. At 9, now that Grimm is gone, The Blacklist could move there and face Hawaii 5-0 on CBS. At 8, NBC could have put Blindspot BUT Law & Order True Crime, the anthology series about the Menendez crimes, is rumored to be on the fall schedule. There’s a chance the Dick Wolf show beats MacGyver, which is not as strong as the eye network wants us to believe by the way. It’s only for 8 weeks so Blindspot can take over later.


REVERIE & SHADES OF BLUE could be paired once Sunday Night Football is done. Two procedurals lead by women back to back.

AP BIO & TRIAL & ERROR (if it’s renewed) could replace Will & Grace & Great News. CHAMPIONS could replace THE GOOD PLACE which is only 13 episodes per season.

GOOD GIRLS could take over This Is Us slot once the 18-episode second season is done.

TAKEN could be used as a filler when The Voice & The Brave are off the air.

TIMELESS is supposed to come back for a 10-episode run in summer 2018.

What do you think? Feel free to comment!

NBC 2017/2018 Comedy Pilots ranked


Will NBC ever get rid off their terrible comedy curse while most of their schedule is in good shape compared to the other networks? There was a glimmer of hope when Superstore did surprisingly good two years ago but it has lost steam since then and it can’t be considered as a tent pole. At the time, we thought they may have found a comedy brand, which would consist of light workplace half-hours led by a female character. In that regard, Powerless seemed to be the perfect companion but after a heavy retooling and a change of showrunner, the first DC Comics comedy went nowhere and was even pull off the schedule, which doesn’t happen a lot these days. It’s not gonna come back.

Last fall, The Good Place starring Kristen Bell & Ted Danson garnered great reviews and offered a somewhat decent pairing for Superstore. It got renewed for a second season which is filming right now and it’s expected to be back next fall. It’s not a hit but at least they can be proud of it. And then there’s Trial & Error, a hard sell but an excellent show that NBC is said to be very fond of. A renewal is not out of reach. It might have been a better player on a streaming platform though, like they did with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt sold to Netflix last minute. Finally, NBC launched Tina Fey-produced Great News two weeks ago and the ratings are already very challenging with a huge drop after the pilot. Marlon has yet to premiere this summer.

This pilot season, fewer comedy pilots were ordered (7 against 14 in 2016) as NBC has less and less room to try them and a Will & Grace 12-episode comeback season is eyed for fall. They may only pick-up 3 pilots to series. A tough race. Here’s what they got.


  1. UNTITLED KOURTNEY KANG PROJECT (20th Century FOX Television)

     What it’s like to grow up as the only girl in the only mixed race family in the suburbs of Philadelphia, dealing with real-world issues like race and gender while never losing focus of her life goal… to become a Laker Girl like her idol, Paula Abdul. With Isabelle Russo, Kenneth Choi, Rebecca Creskoff, Paula Abdul, Derek Hough…

Very very similar to Fresh Off The Boat -it’s from the same team- and just as good but with a female teenager POV instead. Edgy at times -the heroine is obsessed with boners and wants to make out with her relatively young teacher- and really funny, it just doesn’t look like an NBC show at all. Even on ABC, it would be a challenge because of the raunchy dialogues. Sounds like the great one that got away…


2. THE SACKETT SISTERS (Universal Television)

      Two estranged sisters perform a Sully Sullenberger-esque act of public heroism, then are forced to navigate their new found notoriety together. With Casey Wilson, Busy Phillips, Bradley Whitford, Rich Sommer…

2 Broke Girls may get cancelled by CBS but The Sackett Sisters are on their way to fill the void. They’re less vulgar but probably crazier. Casey Wilson & Busy Phillips are perfect for the roles and Bradley Whitford as their father is an incredible bonus. Sounds like comedy gold. I laughed a lot. I’m not sure the “internet sensations” thing can sustain for long but the family dynamics here is interesting. It’s a bit messy but it has potential. Due to Casey Wilson’s pregnancy, the show will probably not hit the air before 2018 though.


3. RELATIVELY HAPPY (Warner Bros. Television)

     An adult brother and sister wind up living together for the first time since they were kids, after one of them suffers a big loss. They become each other’s wingmen, shoulder to cry on, best friend and punching bag as they navigate love, loss and work while helping to get each other “un-stuck”. With Genevieve Angelson, Jon Rudnitsky, Mouzam Makkar, Jane Lynch…

The only multicamera comedy NBC has developed this year, partly because they needed something to pair with Will & Grace. It was first set at CBS under the title The Happy Peppers -which I like better- a couple of years ago. There’s definitely a Will & Grace vibe in the mechanics -they share a co-creator- but with siblings. Not as funny yet but cute and even touching. But this cast doesn’t look like a winner and NBC doesn’t seem to be high on it. It seems like it will get passed on and NBC will put a single-cam after Will & Grace



    Around a psychotherapist who tries to cut ties with her most overbearing patient but is unsuccessful and gains an annoying family member in the process. With Leah Remini, Jessica Gunning, Ben Lawson…

I get why ABC passed on it for themselves and offered it to other networks, though it doesn’t seem to be a fit anywhere else than on ABC. I haven’t seen the movie it’s adapted from –What About Bob?– but it’s good mostly, better than I imagined, though I’m a bit concerned about the longevity of such a concept. It’s very family-oriented, there are great dynamics in there and it feels real somehow which may be the most surprising thing about this pilot. The cast looks strong. The fact that it’s not produced in-house may doom it.


5. AP BIOLOGY (Universal Television)

    A hilariously cynical Ivy League professor loses out on his dream job and goes to work as a high school biology teacher where he imposes his unorthodox teaching style and uses the kids to plot out revenge on those who wronged him. With Glenn Howerton, Patton Oswalt, Mary Sohn…

This is the perfect example of a pilot that is both really annoying and irresistible at the same time. I wouldn’t be surprised if NBC goes for it even if it’s not their best script. It’s a high-school workplace comedy that works mostly because the secondary characters surrounding the central one are great, though they’re never given the time and the proper introduction they’re worth. Other than that, it’s a one man show, an irritating one sometimes. Though it resembles Bad Teacher and doesn’t have a ton of potential, it’s decent and very much in the network’s wheelhouse.


6. CHAMPIONS (Universal Television)

    Vince, a charismatic gym owner with no ambition, lives with his younger brother Michael, a gorgeous idiot. Their simple life of women and working out is put on hold when the gay teenage son of Vince is dropped off on their doorstep by Priya, one of his old high school flings. The three of them have to live together now. With Anders Holm, Andy Favreau, J.J Totah, Mindy Kaling…

There’s a very original dynamics in there between three very different men and a half-indian gay teenager is not the type of character we meet a lot on television. It’s enjoyable for the most part thanks to strong dialogues and pop-culture references but it feels very predictable and like The Mindy Project, the writers don’t seem to know where to go next. Plus, it doesn’t belong to NBC for me (FOX?). Won’t work IMHO.


7. SPACED OUT (Warner Bros. Television)

    A working class genius and his struggles to fit in with an established team all made more difficult when their job is building a rocket to Marr. With Matt Shively, Christine Woods, Miranda Cosgrove, Brett Goldstein, Donald Faison…

This one is too nerdy for my taste and it can’t compare to The Big Bang Theory. There’s way too much voice over. It’s funny at times but you can count how many times you laughed, which is not a good sign, and it doesn’t have a ton of potential. The cast looks quite good though, which is the only thing that could save it I guess.



Shelter (NBC) pilot preview: A great disaster TV movie…

Written and produced by Warren Leight (Law & Order SVU, Law & Order CI, In Treatment). Executive produced by Paul Haggis (Collision, Million Dollar Baby, Casino Royale, Walker Texas Ranger) & Charles McDougall. Directed by Charles McDougall (Sex & The City, Desperate Housewives, The Office, The Good Wife). For Sony Pictures Television. 01/27/17.

Description:  The nurses and doctors of Our Lady of Salvation, an understaffed Brooklyn hospital, becomes the borough’s last viable trauma center after a catastrophic hurricane wreaks havoc on the city. On a holiday weekend with few doctors on call, the medical staff is pushed to make the most difficult life-and-death choices as they work to save their patients and themselves…

With Rachel Griffiths (Brothers & Sisters, Six Feet Under, When We Rise, Muriel’s Wedding), Nikki M. James (The Good Wife, Braindead), JJ Feild (Turn), Jamie McShane (Scorpion, Bloodline, SouthLAnd), Latarsha Rose (Being Mary Jane), Paola Lazaro, Matthew James Thomas (Britannia High), Nadia Gan (Mr Robot)…


You’ll like it if you already like: ER, Grey’s Anatomy, Code Black, disaster TV movies…

Likely timeslot: midseason slot (sunday?)


Shelter was the first big drama buy for the broadcast network this pilot season, receiving a pilot production commitment by NBC with Paul Haggis potentially directing. But the movie director had apparently better things to do when it actually got ordered. It doesn’t matter that much though, Charles McDougall is a very good one and many pilots he directed got picked-up to series in the past. In the medical field, the network already has Chicago Med -which is fine despite unsatisfying numbers in its second year- and summer filler The Night Shift. Do they need a third one? I’m very doubtful. I don’t think there’s a slot for it in the fall. Later, maybe…

The hook here is that it’s a real time “extreme event” medical drama. But they don’t mean real time like 24 was originally set up. A one-hour episode is not equal to one-hour in fiction time in Shelter. We don’t really know how much time has passed when the pilot ends. A few hours probably. So it doesn’t feel that different from the other medical shows. The concept of 24 sounds a little too early 2000s anyway. And then there’s the “extreme event” part. This one is accurate – a catastrophic hurricane wreaks havoc on the city- but ultimately it doesn’t feel like the beginning of a TV show but more like the first-part of a 4-hour mini series… from the 90s! Which doesn’t mean it’s boring or anything. I was actually hooked from the first page to the last. It works. It’s very fast-paced and action-packed to the point it’s even exhausting. So many things are happening… A little too many? You can feel the storm coming. And when it arrives, it’s definitely not a little one. Code Grey, Code Red and Code Black have been activated at the hospital. And then the Disaster Code. I get that the writer wants to show how huge the event is but he may be forgetthing he could have 12 other episodes to write after that. What will happen then? And what about the hurricane? It will have to end at some point.

It’s a very character-driven medical drama with our heroine, Kim, the nurse in chief, being at the center of this huge mess and trying to be the best at everything: treating patients (one of them, of course, is her wreckless teenage son), organizing the unorganizable, kick ass at shutting her boss’ big mouth, dealing with her ex-husband who’s a pain in the ass and finding the time to sleep wiht a doctor, her fuck-buddy who wants more. And she’s very good at all of this. Rachel Griffiths will probably thrive on this. Welcome back to american network TV, dear. One other nurse is very pregnant. Classic. She’ll probably deliver her baby in atrocious circumstances later. It’s a diverse cast, with mostly appealing characters, though most of them have yet to be introduced properly with more details about their personal lives. That’s where the show can find more stories to tell in subsequent episodes, though having family members coming to the hospital could get old very fast.

The most intruiging character is Meghan Sparks, the hospital administrator, that everybody will hate initially, that’s for sure. It’s funny because she’s described as a blonde “FOX News hostess” type in the script and she’s played by Nikki M. James, who’s the contrary of this. What’s even more funny is that the same thing happened with Miranda Bailey on Grey’s Anatomy. She was supposed to be a tiny blonde -and Kristin Chenoweth was approached to play the role- but they went for Chandra Wilson. Meghan brings the most interesting thing about this show: it is set in an understaffed hospital of Brooklyn, in a poor neighborhood, and she represents what’s wrong with the american health system. It’s an old theme, but few medical shows tackled it properly and it seems to be timeless, sadly.

Shelter is not the next great medical drama, but it would be a fine TV movie or miniseries and it would fit well with the Chicago shows while doing a better job at keeping you on the edge of your seats. Maybe NBC can turn it into a two or three nights event but a weekly show for years? It seems unlikely. With those characters and this perfect sense of urgency, it’s a bummer.

Rise -aka Drama High- (NBC) pilot preview: Glee for emotionally open grown-ups, This Is Us style

Written and produced by Jason Katims (Parenthood, Friday Night Lights, Bosto Public). Inspired by a true story. Based on Michael Sokolove‘s book. Executive produced by Michelle Lee (The Path, Pure Genius, About a Boy), Flody Suarez (8 simples Rules…) & Jeffrey Seller (Hamilton, Rent). Directed by Mike Cahill. For Universal Television & True Jack Productions. 54 pages. 2nd revised network draft. 01/30/17.

Description: The story of Lou Volpe, a litterature teacher in his forties in a Pennsylvania high school, who is appointed by the principal to take over and modernize the theater program that is dying. He chooses the provocative and emotional rock musical Spring Awakening –about teenagers discovering the inner and outer tumult of sexuality in late-19th-century Germany- as their first production. A choice that won’t be without consequences for the students and their families in this “Americana” town…

With Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother, Mercy Street), Rosie Perez (Search Party, Lipstick Jungle), Auli’i Cravalho (Moana), Marley Shelton (The Lottery, Eleventh Hour), Amy Forsyth (Defiance, The Path), Casey Johnson, Rarmian Newton (The Family), Shannon Purser (Stranger Things, Riverdale), Damon J. Gillespie, Shirley Rumierk, Joe Tippett, Ted Sutherland, Taylor Richardson


You’ll like if you already like: Glee, Smash, Friday Night Lights, This Is Us, Parenthood

Likely timeslot: Tuesday at 9 or 10 paired with This Is Us

There’s a question that is still haunting me six months later: why did This Is Us become such a success on NBC while Parenthood, which was very much in the same vein and even better, never got real traction during six years? There are multiple theories like Milo Ventimiglia’s ass in the trailer. Or the fact that the twists made all the difference. Mine is simpler: it came out with a perfect timing. The right show in the right place at the right time. And for the first time, fabulous writer Jason Katims, who was behind Parenthood but also Friday Night Lights and more recently Pure Genius, may have created the right show in the right place at the right time. Supposedly paired with This Is Us and not very far from The Voice, Rise has every chance to become a hit. And it deserves to. That’s the best script I’ve read this season so far (with comedy Libby & Malcolm at ABC which happens to be very timely too). It’s emotional, delicate and rich.

The pitch sounds like Glee and it’s probably Rise‘s biggest weakness from a marketing point of view. The feeling of “been there, done that” won’t be easy to erase from potential viewers’ minds. It’s a leap of faith, clearly. But honestly, whatever is your opinion on Glee -mine is not flattering- we’re very from it from the overall tone to the characters’ stories. Glee was a funny, entertaining, sometimes poignant show, which main goal was to give a litteral voice to characters rarely seen on TV. An enjoyable mess that outstayed its welcome, I’d add. Rise is an entirely different beast. By the way, it’s not exactly a musical high-school drama soap, as it could be described. It is mostly set in a high-school, there’s a bit of music in it -but not that much- and there are soap elements, that’s true, but to me it’s a realistic drama above all and the story of a working-class town and the families that live there. Like Friday Night Lights was not really a drama about football. Stanton, Pennsylvania, is like Dillon, Texas: a struggling but picturesque town with diners, churches, clapboard houses, american flags everywhere…

What NBC could and should insist on is the fact it’s based on a formidable true story, the one of Lou Volpe, a ground-breaking high school drama teacher who ran for 44 years the renowned drama program at Harry S Truman High School in Levittown, a low-income town in Pennsylvania, as chronicled in the book Drama High, written by one of his students, Michael Sokolove. And the fact that Jeffrey Seller and Flody Suarez, producers of Tony-Award-Winning hip-hop musical Hamilton, are associated with the project says a lot about how important Rise could become, as a cultural phenomenon and a stepping stone in this new era of television where networks want to reflect middle-America as how it really is. These days, people want real situations, real emotions, as This Is Us just proved.

Among the principal characters, aside from Lou Volpe and his family -he’s married and a father of three children- there is Lilette, a half Puerto Rican half Irish teenage girl, and her hot mess of a mother, a waitress sexually harassed by her boss; Robbie, an African-American stud, whose mother is in late stages of muscular disease; Simon, a Christian closeted young gay man, whose younger sister is in a wheelchair; Gwen, the theather’s queen bee whose parents are on the verge of divorce; Maashous, a mysterious foster kid who’s living secretly at the school… Don’t worry, Lou has his own Sue Sylvester: Tracey Wolfe, the high energy with a no-holds-barred mouth current Drama School teacher and a former high school theater person, who’s really funny and adds a welcome lightness to the ensemble.

Behind every student character, there’s a difficult, sometimes really sad but ordinary family story and a talent ready to explode with so many things to say through songs. We don’t get many informations about every one of them in the pilot but in the end we want to spend more time at their sides to understand who they really are and why they feel so familiar, how much we share with them… and hear more of their singing voices. Jason Katims is so good at portraying people without making them clichés. It’s impressive and admirable. This pilot is not about big twists or OMG moments or crazy laughs or huge performances. It’s about setting the stage for the season to come, introducing the characters and bringing them together towards this theater program that will change their life. There is so much potential and so many stories to tell starting from here. It couldn’t have been more promising and exciting than that.

Rise is probably one of the best things that will happen to us in a few months on television, believe me. It’s the promise of an exceptional show that will resonate with America and hopefully the whole world, that will bring people together. It will make us laugh and cry, and sing and dance, as long as we’re emotionally open and ready for it… Rise will make us all very happy. And that’s the most beautiful thing to do.

The Brave -aka For God And Country- (NBC) pilot preview: NBC’s National Anthem

Written and produced by Dean Georgaris (Paycheck, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life). Executive produced by Avi Nir (Homeland, Tyrant), Peter Traugott (Samantha Who?) and Rachel Kaplan (Manhattan Love Story, Do No Harm). Directed by Brad Anderson (Frequency, Forever, Fringe, The Call). For Universal Television & Keshet Studios. 64 pages. Revised Network Polish. 01/17/17.

Description: An heart pounding look into the complex world of our bravest military heroes who make personal sacrifices while executing the most challenging and dangerous missions behind enemy lines. The ISA-Special Operations Group, led by commander Michael Dalton, and a team of surveillance analysts who uncover and interpret threats, supervised by Deputy Director Patricia Campbell, will do whatever it takes to make sure no foreign nation gets away with harming Americans…

With Mike Vogel (Under the Dome, Pan Am, Bates Motel), Anne Heche (Dig, Men In Trees, Hung, Volcano, Six Days Seven Nights), Natacha Karam, Demetrius Grosse (Westworld, Banshee, Justified), Noah Mills, Hadi Tabbal, Sofia Pernas (Jane The Virgin, The Young and the Restless)


You’ll like if you already like: Homeland, The Unit, JAG…

Likely timeslot : Tuesday at 10, Midseason sundays…

For God And Country. No, it’s not a joke. That’s really the title of this NBC military drama pilot. It’s unsubtle, overly direct, the more on-the-nose title ever created. It doesn’t leave a room for any possible doubt: this is a patriotic show, specifically designed for a Post-Trump America and blue-collar audiences. But let’s be clear, it’s the huge success of Eastwood’s feature film American Sniper that triggered the ongoing push from the networks to get more programs featuring military heroes. Not the Agent Orange/Bratman/Cinnamon Hitler POTUS. While USA Network’s Shooter launched successfully and will come back next summer, 4 other pilots are sharing a military DNA this season: Behind Enemy Lines at FOX, an Untitled NAVY Seal Drama at CBS, Valor at The CW & comedy Charlie Foxtrot at ABC. Let’s just hope only 1 or 2 get a series pick-up during the upfronts. For God and Country -Man, I will never get used to it!- is already a clear favorite at NBC. And I can see why. And I’ll try to explain.

The truth is, this is an edge-of-your-seat pilot that could be compared to the most successful action-oriented episodes of Homeland. I wanted to hate this script but despite myself, I got hooked quickly and couldn’t take my eyes off of it. Unless the director screws things up, it’s gonna be epic. The 5 characters from the operations group are always in action: moving, hiding, shooting, fighting… They don’t talk a lot. And when they do, it’s not particularly impressive. It’s hard to tell who they really are deep inside. Consequently, it’ll take time to get to know them and possibly appreciate them. So far, they are just like machines. But they have potential. And SPOILER ALERT: you shouldn’t get too attached to them, because it is revealed in a flashforward at the beginning of the episode that one of them will die during one of the 23 missions they’ll complete on their nine months deployment. Smart way to help the viewers’ go through an entire season of the show, which is bound to be highly procedural by the way, with tiny serialized elements about their personal lives.

Michael Dalton (played by Mike Vogel) is your typical team leader, your perfect and stunningly beautiful war hero, meaning he’s a bit boring. Juice is the team’s computer and communications expert and all-around tech badass, “a lethal MacGyver”. I let you draw your own conclusion. Joseph J McGuire is the team’s medic who is the quickest to violence and fond of mixed martial arts and… J.K. Rowling. He’s a bit of an asshole honestly. I guess they needed one, to make it real. But he has a sense of humor. He made me think of Lost‘s Sawyer in a way. Then there’s Amir. Before joining Dalton’s team, he spent nearly six years as a lone wolf penetration agent in ISIS, which makes him the most interesting character so far an he goes through a lot during the pilot. And finally, there’s Jaz, one of the few women in the world to make it through the U.S. Army Ranger School. She’s a sniper now, which makes her the second most interesting character of the show. And as the only woman of the team, the most likely to survive the season.

The characters from the Defense Intelligence Agency are less mobile, stuck in their bureau, but they talk a lot instead. They are the ones who make difficult decisions, who strategize. Their leader Patricia Campbell has not much to do with Carrie Matheson sadly, and there’s no Saul Berenson either, but their scenes are intense nonetheless, and I’m convinced Anne Heche is capable of adding extra-life to her too calm and always in control role. There’s an overall lack of emotion, which is a shame for that kind of show who wants to go straight to the viewers’ hearts, but the rescue mission of the pilot is the most emotional thing in there. It’s about a surgeon kidnapped in Syria and her husband waiting for some reassuring news in DC. In fact, I think we get to know more about them than any other characters. And I don’t see it as a good thing. But we’re invested in their story at least.

So is it this patriotic? Yes. But it’s easy to go with the flow and enjoy the show for what it is first and foremost: a military thriller. If you’re not fond of arms, you might get irritated from time to time. They loooove their weapons. And the writer makes sure we get it. But different point of views about war are represented, especially through Juice, who’s a muslim, and McGuire, who’s clearly a Trump soldier. They talk about it. It’s furtive and not really deep, but at least it means the show tries to lauch a conversation. It doesn’t change the fact that I’m still laughing from the ridiculous opening sequence. Dalton yells to a bomb maker: “It doesn’t matter where you hide. If you hurt us, we will find you“. Cut to black and the title appears on the screen. TOO MUCH.

For God and Country is an intense military series that has every chance to resonate with americans right now by playing an ambiguous game that consists of pleasing the republicans without infuriating democrats. Unless people want something more radical. It seems to belong more to CBS than to NBC but there’s definitely an audience looking for this and they’ll find it wherever. There’s a real potential to make something powerful out of it. I wouldn’t be surprised if NBC puts it behind This Is Us next year, though they’re very different tonally. 

Good Girls (NBC) pilot preview: The Real Desperate Housewives of Detroit

Written and produced by Jenna Bans (The Family, Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives). Directed by Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest, Red 2, Justified, Monk). For Universal Television. 5th network draft 12/01/16. 60 pages.

Description: what happens when Beth, Annie and Ruby, three “good girl” suburban wives and mothers from the suburbs of Detroit suddenly find themselves in desperate circumstances: they decide to stop playing it safe and risk everything to take their power back, descending together into a life of crime, starting by robbing a grocery store…

With Kathleen Rose Perkins (Episodes, Colony), Mae Whitman (Parenthood, Arrested Development), Retta (Parks and Recreation, Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce), Matthew Lillard (Scooby-Doo, Scream, The Bridge US), Manny Montana (Graceland, Conviction), Reno Wilson (Mike & Molly)…


You’ll like it if you already like: Desperate Housewives, The Family

Likely timeslot: Tuesday at 10


For the third year in a row, writer Jenna Bans has a pilot in contention and for the very first time it’s not at ABC, where she was schooled by Shonda Rhimes through Grey’s Anatomy & Scandal, but at NBC. She signed an overall deal with Universal Television last summer -where her husband Justin Spitzer, creator of Superstore, already was- after the failure of The Family, which was worth better by the way, one of the few good network shows from last year. Sometimes, ratings work in mysterious ways. I was eager to read Good Girls‘ pilot script. Sea of Fire‘s in 2014 was incredibly strong. But I’m sad to report this one is not her best (unless if you go way way back to Off The Map, that she created)…

Here’s the thing with Jenna Bans: her writing is fearless, she always dives in darkness, she flirts with the limits -dealing with pedophilia on a broadcast network was not exactly taking the easiest road- and she makes it entertaining at the same time, full of surprises and compelling troubled characters. Mixing soap with gloom is rare and difficult. She learned her Shonda lessons right while crafting her own style. But with Good Girls, something’s off. It took time for me to understand what was bothering me but after reflecting on it and reading again some portions of the script it became clear: the whole story is just not believable and it feels like she knows it. As if she was determined to convince the audience as well as herself that such a thing could happen in real life. Subsequently, subtlety is nowhere to be found. It’s just not working. Not with these characters and in this context. Whether or not it actually happened someday, somewhere in the world.

I’m very surprised by the cast they assembled. Positively. I love these actresses and they didn’t choose them because they were popular. ‘cos they’re not. They choose them because they were right for the parts, I guess. Like they did with This Is Us actually. And they probably tested them as a group, since many scenes are about the girls together, talking. It’d be a shame if they didn’t have chemistry. A good move anyway, that gives me hope they’ll add what’s missing in the script by their natural talent, especially comedy-wise. Good Girls is more in the drama side, depressing sometimes, definitely heavy, supposedly emotional if they don’t push it too much, but there are a few scenes that could be funny. Calling it a dramedy would be a stretch though.

The hilarious Kathleen Rose Perkins (if you never saw her in Episodes then you don’t know what funny is) will play Beth, the ringleader of the trio, a frazzled mother who discovers her husband has an affair. Fed up with her life and angry, she’s the one who decides to rob a supermarket. She struggles with guilt and fear in the aftermath. She’s the most interesting, multi-dimensional character on paper. Then there’s her younger sister Annie, played by the excellent Mae Whitman, a single mom terrified of losing her son in a custody battle. Who’s a bit boring and whining person for now. And finally her best friend Ruby, a waitress who worries about her 11-year-old daughter who has kidney disease and isn’t getting the treatment she needs at the local clinic. Retta is the most surprising casting. I didn’t picture her like this at all. And that’s good news. She’ll probably add layers to the role. The men of Good Girls are mostly bad uninteresting guys. There’s work to do to make them more than those tired clichés.

Then there’s the question of being able to sustain the premise over multiple seasons. Even with shortened orders, I don’t see it. Those girls won’t be able to escape prison at some point. Not without huge inconsistencies in the stories. That worries me a lot to be honest. If they start by robbing a supermarket, what happens next? They rob a bank, deal drugs and kill people? It’s gonna get ugly and possibly ridiculous.

Good Girls has an average pilot script that has really good moments as well as mediocre ones, and that can be elevate to a superior level by only two things: a great cast (which it has) with a real chemistry (has yet to be proven) and a director that has a vision and who’s not just a performer (I’m not sure). NBC is clearly envisioning it as a companion for This Is Us and though it would suffer from the comparison, it’s a valid option.