Look Upon NBC’s New Series Trailers and Despair

By  · Published on May 13th, 2014


Yes, Constantine has fancy CG fire effects, a perfect lookalike of the comic book hero and a granny who is not satisfied with her dark chocolate pudding so she sprays it from every orifice (gross!). But did you know NBC has other shows coming to the network this fall? A bevy of new televised series, which range from “might be funny” to “will certainly not be funny,” with varying degrees of whether that’s intentional or not.

Conveniently, the network dropped a whole bunch of other trailers alongside its scruffy UK demon hunter, so we can peruse them all in quick succession and decide just what’s worth watching and what should be scoured from the earth and never spoken of again.

New NBC shows, ahoy! Let’s start alphabetically, with the surprisingly-apt-title-for-this-situation, A to Z.

The Good: Finally, the online dating world gets its own TV rom-com. But the story of Andrew (Ben Feldman) and Zelda (Cristin Milioti), besides spritzing the title with an appropriate amount of pun, answers one important question: why Ginsberg went psycho on Mad Men.

Turns out, he had a starring gig calling his name at NBC. As a plus, we’ve got Katey Sagal narrating (Married with Children, Futurama, can she do no wrong?), and Andrew’s beardy best friend (Henry Zebrowski) looks a hell of a lot like Jim Gaffigan. Which is worth a few points, I guess.

The Bad: If A to Z is “the comprehensive account of [Andrew and Zelda’s] relationship, won’t that get a bit dull? Like How I Met Your Mother, except we know both members of the titular couple ahead of time so there’s no elusive air of mystery. Also, it does seem mildly unsettling that Andrew and Zelda have similar enough facial features that they could nearly pass as twins, but no one in the trailer really seems to mention that. And the logo is not doing anyone any favors.

Worth a Watch?: Only if you’re craving more Ginsberg, post-nippling. Or if you mistake Zebrowski for Jim Gaffigan.

Bad Judge

The Good: Frank interactions with little kids are always good for a chuckle, and there’s a chuckle to be found in seeing our titular Disagreeable Adjudicator (Kate Walsh) tell a little kid to draw blood from his enemies. Also, every man in Bad Judge has a big bushy beard, except for the aforementioned child (which isn’t really his fault, I guess) and Chris Parnell (who I’m assuming is just a guest role).

The Bad: Everything else, really. Sorry, Bad Judge, but if you go to the well of “Oh, we weren’t doing x, we were just rehearsing for a play” gag not once, but twice in a single trailer, don’t expect a warm reception. Sure, maybe instead of “play,” we got “song” and “case scenario,” but the offense still stands. Also, I’m going to go ahead and say that a wacky judge who eats ice cream and wine for breakfast and plays drums in a super sick-awesome rock band is not the person I would want presiding over our legal system.

Worth a Watch?: Only as an exercise in finding the female variant of “man-child.” Woman-child? Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

Marry Me

The Good: Ken Marino! Famous for setting places in Party Down and pooping out a horrible goblin in Bad Milo!, Marino has comedy chops galore. And his own pilot, which is great news. Flanking him are Tim Meadows and Leslie David Baker, two talented comedy wingmen. Just on the cast alone, this has potential.

The Bad: It’s not entirely clear what Marry Me is actually about. So our happy couple wants to get hitched, but keeps getting hung up on the mechanics of the proposal. And from our trailer, they seem to have agreed not to sweat the engagement, but to stay together because their love has been foretold by one random coincidence. What happens in episode two? No idea.

Worth a Watch?: At least once, so long as you’ve seen Party Down and you have nothing going on Tuesdays at nine. Or whenever you choose to see it on Hulu.

The Mysteries of Laura

The Good: Debra Messing was pretty great on Will & Grace, even if she hasn’t really done much of note in the past decade. And The Mysteries of Laura (or at least its trailer, anyway) boasts a weird tonal mishmash that could prove a winner. Half the show is a cheery family sitcom ‐ Oh no, the kids painted all over the house! And the other half seems like a hard-edged cop drama. Note the blood and gunfire and a dude taking a painful-looking punch to the schnoz.

The Bad: That same mishmash could just as likely be a disaster. Do we really want to see a version of Everybody Loves Raymond where Ray Romano guns people down in a shower of blood? Plus, while merging the sitcom with the cop show is a clever idea (see also: Brooklyn Nine Nine), these two particular halves are looking preeeeeetty generic.

Worth a Watch?: If you want to see a version of Everybody Loves Raymond where Ray Romano guns people down in a shower of blood.

State of Affairs

The Good: It’s a little bit Scandal and a little bit Homeland, so there’s bound to be conspiracies galore. And who doesn’t love getting to the bottom of a juicy secret?

The Bad: Conspiracies are great, but so are original ideas. I see precious few in State of Affairs. Avenging a murdered spouse, presidential cover-ups, anti-terrorism, a thinly-veiled storming of Osama Bin Laden’s compound ‐ we’ve seen all this a hundred times before, at least. At the very least you could pit two drones against each other in some kind of drone war. I doubt anyone’s done that before.

Worth a Watch?: If you can make it all the way through State of Affairs’ four-minute behemoth of a trailer, be my guest.