Rating NBC's new fall shows: 'Parenthood,' a 'Trauma,' a 'Community,' '100 Questions,' and oh 'Mercy'!

NBC announced its new fall shows today. Here are mini-reviews of five of ‘em. Warning: they’re based solely on short clips provided by the network, so I (and you) reserve the right to adjust opinions of them, up or down, once full-length episodes are available. But that will be… in the fall. Who wants to wait to have an opinion until then?

Parenthood Producer Ron Howard turns his movie into a TV series — again (the first one aired and flopped in 1990). This one is about four grown siblings and their different parenting styles. Peter Krause is a Little League-coach kinda dad (not sure that’s a good fit for Mr. Dirty Sexy Money.) ER‘s Maura Tierney is a single mom with at least one really obnoxious teen daughter. (I like Tierney is almost anything, especially when she’s playing stressed-out.) It’s brought to you by writer and executive producer Jason Katims, who headed up Friday Night Lights, so I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt. (All grades based on clips only):


Mercy A medical drama about tough nurses headed up by Veronica (Taylor Schilling), who knows tough-love from a recently-finished tour in Iraq, and says things like, nurses “know more than all your residents combined.” She’s married, but a cute doctor arrives at the hospital (in a wincing Grey’s Anatomy moment, he’s actually referred to as “hot doctor guy”). Hot doc proves to be a former lover of Veronica’s: ooh, complications ensue! Also starring Gossip Girl‘s Michelle Trachtenberg as a wide-eyed rookie nurse. This show could be insufferable.


Community Joel McHale heads up a sitcom cast about a community college full of misfit students and teachers. Co-starring Chevy Chase as a fatuous, out-of-it goofball (finally, Chase finds appropriate latterday casting) and The Daily Show‘s John Oliver as McHale’s pal. There seem to be a lot of jokes about The Breakfast Club. McHale’s performance seems totally winning — funny, funny-smarmy, funny-smart — and the show is from a couple of guys who worked on Arrested Development. Looks good to me.


Trauma It’s one of those ultra-NBC, “pulse-pounding,” lives-in-danger-of-exploding shows in the tradition of ER and Third Watch, about a San Francisco trauma team. With dialogue like “That tanker’s gonna blow!” and “I can’t die!,” it all sounded way over the top, but its executive producer is Friday Night Lights‘ Peter Berg, so maybe it will be more exciting than the hyped-up clips looked. The ensemble includes Anatasia Griffith, sister of Rose Byrne’s murdered fiance in Damages. To paraphrase: This show might blow!


100 Questions Or, “Please Please Please Think We’re The New Friends!” About a group of young New York singles who are always on the prowl for love and/or sex. The title refers to the questions at least one member of the group, British girl Charlotte (Sophie Winkleman), answers for a meet-your-soulmate dating service. Comedy genius James Burrows — who directed many Friends, among quadrillions of other terrific sitcom half-hours, directed the pilot — which makes the rather lazy-sounding punchlines (supposedly so-bad-it’s-funny pick-up line: “Are you wearing space-pants, because your ass is out of this world!”) all the more dismaying. Unless the ensemble cast develops a sparky chemistry not discernible in the brief segments NBC has shown, this could be a dud.


More clips after the jump.

For more on NBC’s new fall schedule: NBC unveils fall sked


Comments (36 total) Add your comment
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  • Adam

    Things doesn’t look promising for NBC. New shows that look like they’ve already been done, not to mention LENO 5 times a week.
    oh NBC…how the mighty has fallen.


  • Mike

    I totally agree with your view of Community. I watched the preview and actually laughed out loud. It was downright hysterical. I hope that the rest of the show lives up to the preview.

  • Kaylie

    I am so excited that John Oliver is going to be on NBC!! I hope he doesn’t leave the Daily Show!

  • John

    Too bad “How I Met Your Mother” took the “new Friends” mantle of “hip ensemble comedy”, by not even trying to copy it, being different, and casting a great ensemble.

  • Stephanie T.

    Community looks promising. Finally Chevy goes back to television.

  • Mike Thomas

    Who cares about NBC’s “new shows?”
    They will all be canceled before you even have a chance to know what they are about. And heaven forbid that you get suckered into watching one of the shows regulary, only to have them pull the plug halfway through the season.

  • John

    Community is gonna be awesome. I just hope Joel McHale doesn’t leave The Soup. But seriously – some of these shows instead of Chuck (so far)? Come on

  • Lucy

    Joel McHale on Community!!! Parenthood looks good, but with Law & Order up in the air, good luck, NBC!!

  • KRex

    Don’t forget the “CHUCKOUT” on the week of May 11. BOYCOTT all NBC shows on the week of May 11 to protest Chuck’s removal from the fall schedule. Let’s show them that we can do more than buy Subway sandwiches.

  • chris

    wow those look…great…yea, really, nbc…you know what you’re doing…

  • Stage Left

    I’ll give Trauma a chance maybe after the melodramatic pilot the show will settle with good character development and writing. We’ll see.
    And of course I have to support our Damages alum.

  • Michele

    The only reason I would give Parenthood a glance would be for Peter Krause. I still only think of him as Nate Fisher, so I’d be curious to see him in this.

  • Michele

    Also, any show that has writers of Arrested Development attached definitely has my attention.

  • Klarky

    Uh – reviewing 3 to 4 minute trailers for an entire pilot seems a bit knee jerk but I think 100 Questions and Community BOTH look funny. Let’s all try and give any new show a chance to breathe.

  • Buddy

    Am I the only one for whom Community looks lame? I love Joel but that clip package was kind of obnoxious. Though, it does look better than 100 Questions which seems too desperate for words and has a very blandly pretty leading lady with no substantial character. I’m also bummed about Parenthood. I want to love it because of Katims and Krause but that didn’t sell me at all. It may be overblown, but Trauma actually looked the most interesting to me (to my surprise). I could see it on a nice night of color-inside-the-lines pseuo-procedurals with Southland.

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