NBC is debuting just three new comedies in the fall of 2014 — “Marry Me,” “Bad Judge” and “A to Z” — but the network has four more on tap for midseason. NBC previewed four of its new half-hours for advertisers at its 2014 upfront presentation in New York City on Monday (May 12).
NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt introduced the network’s lineup with a nod to how hard the network has fought to get back to the top, saying, “getting here was a lot of work by a lot of people.” The new comedies will debut on Tuesdays (“Marry Me”) and Thursdays (“Bad Judge,” “A to Z”), and the others will premiere in 2015, along with 13 episodes to wrap up the seventh and final season of “Parks and Recreation.”
As for the new shows, while some didn’t garner much of a reaction — ahem, “Bad Judge” — the rest were received to universal chuckles all around the spacious North hall of the Javits Center. Here’s our initial reaction to each of the NBC comedies previewed, which included all three fall shows and the Tina Fey-produced midseason show “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.”
Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT
Greenblatt described this series, from “Happy Endings” creator David Caspe, as “a show that’s a little edgier than the name might suggest.” The comedy stars “Happy Endings” alum Casey Wilson (Caspe’s real-life fiancee) and Ken Marino as an in-love couple worried that bad omens are suggesting they’re not meant to get married. The trailer, released Sunday (link above), showcased what likable comedic actors Wilson and Marino are, but leaned heavier on the romantic elements than the quick, pop-culture-centric comedy “Happy Endings” was known for, and what Greenblatt seems to be expecting from the new show.
Thursdays at 9 p.m.
“Private Practice” star Kate Walsh returns to TV as a hard-partying, sex-in-the-workplace-having, unapologetic, terrible role model of a judge. (Essentially, “Bad Teacher” but with a judge instead of a teacher.) While Greenblatt praised her “wickedly funny side,” and Walsh was great in the clips — she really commits, and she has good comedic timing — there’s one problem: We’ve seen this before. (See: CBS’ just-canceled “Bad Teacher.”) The lack of any reaction in the room could prove to be a bad sign for the new comedy, but perhaps the trailer just wasn’t fresh enough to show off what the show really is.
Thursdays at 9:30 p.m.
Greenblatt called this sweet-looking show a “clever, unabashedly romantic comedy” with “a tone all its own” that the network thinks “will be one of the most unique new shows out there.” “A to Z” tells the story of a relationship between Andrew (“Mad Men’s” Ben Feldman) and Zelda (“How I Met Your Mother’s” Cristin Milioti) from start to finish (presumably). The trailer featured a voiceover by Katey Sagal, but no word on whether that’s part of the show or not. The crowd reaction, similar to “Marry Me,” was pleasant amusement — plus the leads are so darn adorable it hurts.
‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’
The only one of NBC’s midseason comedies to get a trailer was this Tina Fey-produced comedy starring “The Office’s” Ellie Kemper as a woman who is rescued from an underground bunker where she was held captive by a doomsday cult leader for half of her life. The trailer was narrated by Fey — again, no word on whether that’ll be a part of the series or not — and garnered plenty of laughs, especially at the “30 Rock”-esque pop culture jokes.
Midseason comedies “Mission Control” (starring Krysten Ritter as a 1960s NASA scientist, and from Will Ferrell and Adam McKay), “Mr. Robinson” (starring Craig Robinson as a “School of Rock”-style inappropriate teacher) and “One Big Happy” (starring Elisha Cuthbert as a lesbian who decides to have a child with her best straight guy friend, played by Nick Zano, just as he meets his soul mate, produced by Ellen Degeneres) didn’t get previews, so you’ll have to wait a little while longer for those first impressions.