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Culture, Television

Pilot Predictions 2012: NBC Dramas

Starring: Billy Burke, Giancarlo Esposito
Director: Jon Favreau (“Iron Man”)
Writers: J.J. Abrams (“Super 8”) and Eric Kripke (“Supernatural”)
Mondays at 10:00 pm after “The Voice,” and opposite “Hawaii Five-0” on CBS and “Castle” on ABC

The premise is that one night the world’s electricity disappeared and the world collapsed. The action begins 15 years later. Governments have splintered and an Old West mentality has taken hold, with villianous warlords like Giancarlo Esposito’s character power-grabbing all over the place. Billy Burke plays the saloon-owning brother of the man who knew that the lights would go out, who along with his niece (Tracy Spiradakos) goes on a quest to figure out what happened and how to fix it. The sci-fi/western hybrid is reminsicent of “Firefly,” and Favreau, Abrams and Kripke make for an interesting team. Favreau knows his way around fantastical big budget pieces, Kripke’s “Supernatural,” has truly devoted fan-base and Abrams is great at ambitious world-building. Also, the effects seem pretty spectacular. I have high hopes for this one, especially with Esposito’s performance.

Do No Harm
Starring: Steven Pasquale, Alana de la Garza, Phylicia Rashad
Director: Michael Mayer
Writer: David Schulner
Sundays at 10:00 pm, opposite “The Mentalist” on CBS and “666 Park Avenue” on ABC

Pasquale (“Rescue Me”) stars as neurosurgeon with a little Jekyll and Hyde problem. Rashad plays his boss at the hospital and de la Garza is his love interest. It’s a promising premise, and an interesting role for Pasquale, getting the chance the play both the sociopath and the golden boy with a secret. I can see it holding strong in its time slot even though “The Mentalist” is a bit of a juggernaut.

Starring: Meagan Good, Victor Garber, Tate Donovan
Created by: Liz Heldens
Not on the schedule yet

Good plays Joanna, a detective forced to go undercover as herself. Growing up, her mother was the housekeeper to the wealthy and powerful Bowers family, headed up by patriarch Victor Garber (excellent casting). After his oldest daughter dies, Good returns to her childhood home on a mission to solve the mysterious murder of her old friend. If it seems a little “Revenge-y” you can’t really blame NBC for trying. But, Heldens was on the writing staff for “Friday Night Lights,” one of my gold standards for storytelling and her last NBC series, the 2009 hospital drama “Mercy,” started slow, but ultimately found a strong, compelling voice.  Hopefully the same can be be done because it looks like it has potential.

Chicago Fire
Starring: Jesse Spencer, Laura German and Taylor Kinney
Created by: Michael Brandt and Derek Haas.  Dick Wolf (“Law and Order”) is an executive producer
Wednesdays at 10:00 pm, after “Law and Order:SVU,” opposite “CSI” on CBS and “Nashville” on ABC

Jesse Spencer in his first post-House job sans accent, and Taylor Kinney in a leading role after his guest starring gig as the lupine then ghostly Mason Lockwood on Vampire Diaries, play firefighters. At first glance it looks like Kinney’s first NBC series, the short-lived, but well-cast “Trauma,” where he played a newbie EMT in San Francisco, right down to the grieving for one of their own in the pilot.  But it was a good idea to pair it with “SVU,” and the likable cast includes Terri Reeves (KJ on the Hulu original series “Battleground,” which I highly recommend), Monica Raymund (“Lie to Me,” “The Good Wife,”) and “Sex and City’s” David Eigenberg. And I’m inclined to give any project with Jesse Spencer attached a few episodes just because of this:



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