Fall TV: NBC Shows 2012-2013 First Impressions

NBC's New Shows: The Good, The Bad, The Unanimously Awful

We've seen the network's new fall and midseason pilots, and while they're not for review (things often change drastically before the shows are set to premiere), we do want to share our first reactions with you.

This quick guide is designed to get you excited for some new shows ... and to warn you to curb your enthusiasm for others. Just keep in mind that we'll have full reviews of the final pilots closer to airdate in the fall or midseason. But for now, here are our snap judgments of all of NBC's new shows for the 2012-2013 TV season.


There are 11 new scripted shows coming to NBC -- the good (Ryan Murphy, please don't mess up "The New Normal"), the bad ("1600 Penn," you disappoint us!) and the stay-away-from-this-one-at-all-costs (why, "Animal Practice," why?) -- and plenty of varying opinions from HuffPost TV staff Mo Ryan, Maggie Furlong, Jaimie Etkin, Chris Harnick, Alex Moaba, Leigh Weingus and Laura Prudom.

Here's how we broke them down:

  • Watch It: Awesome show, can't wait for more
  • Skip It: It's either horrible or just totally not their thing
  • DVR It: There's potential, will give it a second chance

FALL 2012
"ANIMAL PRACTICE"Read more about "Animal Practice" and watch the trailer hereRyan: Skip It MY EYES! MY EYES! Make me not have seen this!

Furlong: Skip ItCompletely painful.

Etkin: Skip ItAs much as I loved Justin Kirk on "Weeds" (and "Jack and Jill"), this failed attempt at a quirky medical drama is just no fun to watch. There's a chance Joanna Garcia could improve things when she steps in to play opposite Kirk, but I don't have much faith.

Harnick: Skip ItIs it too late to just give Crystal the Monkey her own show? I would watch that monkey do anything ... just not in "Animal Practice."

Moaba: Skip ItNot a good pilot, but Justin Kirk and his sidekick monkey did their best to make it moderately watchable.

Weingus: Skip ItWith a cast of screeching characters, the animals are exponentially more entertaining than the humans.

Prudom: Skip ItIf Ace Ventura were a vet ... this still wouldn't be funny. Sadly, the monkey (Annie's Boobs!) really is the best part.

"CHICAGO FIRE"Read more about "Chicago Fire" and watch the trailer hereRyan: Skip ItFor a show about fire, it lacks any kind of spark. Monica Raymund is good, but everything else about this Dick Wolf production feels tired.

Furlong: DVR ItThere are a lot of characters here that are worth giving this show a chance, but I don't see the action becoming so intense that it'll be appointment viewing each week.

Etkin: Skip ItI could not tell you the name of one character on this show after watching the pilot. There are just too many shirtless firefighters and the climactic rescue scene was far too long -- though admittedly seeing David Eigenberg and hearing his adorable accent again was a treat.

Harnick: DVR itThe pilot introduced a wide variety of characters, but with a bunch of balls in the air, I can easily see them fumbling the juggle.

Moaba: DVR ItThe rivalries between the firefighters, first responders, cops and doctors were interesting to watch develop, and the action kept it suspenseful throughout.

Weingus: Watch ItIt's action-packed, full of touching plot lines and guys with great abs. "Chicago Fire" for the win!

Prudom: DVR ItIt boasts a great cast, but they're all too busy talking in leaden, clichéd Procedural Speak, so there's no joy, humor or personality. Based on the pilot, I'd say Skip It, but I want to give it another episode in the hope it loosens up.

"GO ON"Read more about "Go On" and watch the trailer hereRyan: Watch ItI don't know what the 10th episode of this show is (if it gets that far), but I was modestly charmed by Perry's latest effort.

Furlong: DVR ItCalling this one a comedy is a bit of a stretch -- while there are funny moments, it's not a laugh-out-loud funny. I want Perry to find a hit, but I'm not sure this is it.

Etkin: DVR It"Go On" feels like a "Community" imposter with its oddly-matched cast of characters coming together in a down-and-out situation. Matthew Perry seems to be playing the same person yet again. And I wonder how long a comedy based on tragedy will be funny. But I still think it's worth another look.

Harnick: DVR ItThere's promise here, but with so much competition, "Go On" will really need to step up to break away from the pack.

Moaba: DVR ItMatthew Perry's character's determined douchiness had me thinking I needed my own support group to get through watching, but it got better towards the end and could have some potential to grow.

Weingus: Watch ItHeartbreaking and hilarious, Matthew Perry seems to be onto something for the first time since "Friends."

Prudom: Watch ItI wish Matthew Perry would stop typecasting himself as Chandler-lite, but this sweet, sad, strange little show has a lot of charm and the potential to be an oddball, "Community"-esque ensemble piece if the scripts are right.

"GUYS WITH KIDS"Read more about "Guys With Kids" and watch the trailer hereRyan: Skip It Horrifyingly awful. Not just unfunny but the show forces Sara Rue into the role of Ultimate Sitcom Harridan. Ugh.

Furlong: Skip ItNot as bad as I was expecting -- which is the biggest compliment I can give it -- but it's still not my kind of show.

Etkin: Skip ItThree guys walk into a bar with babies strapped to them and as someone who audibly "aww's" over little ones daily, not even the cuteness could save this painful sitcom.

Harnick: Skip ItMen, they're so crazy and immature, yet they have babies! What a concept.

Moaba: DVR ItMore enjoyable, relatable and funnier than the laugh track might lead you to believe.

Weingus: DVR ItIt's cutesy and kind of progressive, but watching a bunch of guys struggle with their fathering skills is probably best saved for a rainy day ... when you've watched everything else in your DVR.

Prudom: Skip ItLess offensive than any of last year's male-centric comedies, with a couple of solid leads. And yet, nothing I will ever watch again -- it's just not my thing. (I'd happily keep Zach Cregger, though.)

"THE NEW NORMAL"Read more about "The New Normal" and watch the trailer hereRyan: DVR ItI'm kind of over the Ryan Murphy "I'm going to shock you!"/hot mess schtick, and just because this show encourages tolerance doesn't mean I can overlook it's more mean-spirited "jokes." But there are some grounded aspects to the comedy, so I'll try to give it a chance.

Furlong: Watch ItHands-down one of the best new comedies of the season. Now if it can only sustain the charm and quirk and not go too off the rails ... (Ahem, "Glee"!)

Etkin: Watch ItEasily the best NBC pilot of the season. The casting is perfect and though the storylines and some of the dialogue are totally absurd --in true Ryan Murphy fashion -- Andrew Rannells and Justin Bartha feel like a believable (and adorable) couple. But not as adorable as precocious bespectacled Shania (Bebe Wood), i.e. my favorite new TV child.

Harnick: Watch ItIt's cute, filled with quick one-liners (including one about "The Good Wife") and NeNe Leakes sparring with Ellen Barkin could become must-watch TV.

Moaba: DVR ItHas heart, a bunch of likable characters and delivers some solid laughs.

Weingus: DVR ItIt may be a bit of a "Modern Family" knockoff, but the pilot is full of chuckle-worthy moments.

Prudom: Watch ItThis show has a lot of heart and a fair amount of wit, but also a lot of Ryan Murphy red flags that could see it veer into preachy self-indulgence. I'm cautiously interested.

"REVOLUTION"Read more about "Revolution" and watch the trailer hereRyan: DVR ItThe pilot was competent but unexceptional, and none of the characters stood out (aside from the one played by "Breaking Bad's" Giancarlo Esposito). Still, I'll give it another few chances to prove it's not the next "Terra Nova" or "V."

Furlong: Skip ItMan, did I love this premise ... then I found myself hoping that some dinosaurs would come and devour all these bland, one-dimensional characters. (Yes, it looks a lot like "Terra Nova" -- which isn't necessarily a good thing.)

Etkin: DVR ItThough the acting on the show is far from Emmy worthy and it's J.J. Abrams' most blatant effort to recreate the glory of "Lost" in its prime, the tragedy of a world without ice cream drew me in just enough to plan on watching Episode 2. I will probably be disappointed by how the whole post-apocalyptic plot goes down, but apparently Abrams' affinity for a mysterious old school computer gets me every time.

Harnick: Skip It An interesting concept, but the pilot failed to capture my interest despite the mysterious plot threads dropped at the end of the first episode.

Moaba: Skip ItReminiscent of "The Postman," a post-apocalyptic Kevin Costner movie rife with unintentional comedy. That's not a good thing.

Weingus: Skip ItThe music is dramatic and the scenery is delightful, but "Revolution" is a bit of a snoozefest.

Prudom: Watch ItThe pilot isn't as gripping as I'd hoped it might be, but it has an intriguing premise, gorgeous visuals and a fascinating villain in Giancarlo Esposito, and I have faith based on the strength of Eric Kripke's track record for building compelling family dynamics on "Supernatural."

"1600 PENN"Read more about "1600 Penn" and watch the trailer hereRyan: DVR It I'll give this scattered show a shot based purely on my affection for Josh Gad, who's talented enough to anchor a hit comedy someday. Not sure this is that show, though.

Furlong: Skip ItSuch a promising cast -- and they're all totally wasted or misused here. I'd rather sit through the Reba McEntire sitcom again then have to watch another minute of Josh Gad's obnoxious First Kid of the United States character. He deserves better.

Etkin: DVR ItI want to like this show -- mainly due to "The Book of Mormon's" awesome Josh Gad and the nostalgia of seeing Bill Pullman as president. And though I smiled slightly, I didn't laugh out loud. Still, I think I'll stick with it to see if it steps up to its big names.

Harnick: Skip ItI wanted to be into this show, but almost every single one of the characters was too obnoxious to get behind. Here's hoping midseason debut means some retooling.

Moaba: Watch ItHilarious White House satire that's far funnier than HBO's "Veep." My favorite NBC pilot of the season.

Weingus: Skip ItThe idea may be compelling, but the screeching casting of "1600 Penn" is unbearable to watch.

Prudom: Skip ItGreat cast, but flawed execution -- I didn't laugh once. The usually brilliant Josh Gad seems to be channeling Jonah Hill in all the worst ways.

"DO NO HARM"Read more about "Do No Harm" and watch the trailer hereFurlong: DVR ItI kept rolling my eyes for the first 15 or 20 minutes of this pilot -- that's half of it, if you're counting -- but then it got a shot of mystery and sex appeal that made me intrigued enough to give it another episode or two.

Etkin: Skip itNot only is the whole "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" storyline played out, but it's poorly done here. The pilot didn't give any sort of insight into how his inner demon came to haunt the protagonist, who isn't particularly likable on either side of the good/evil spectrum.

Harnick: DVR ItRacy and intriguing, "Do No Harm" needs your full attention to get into the story.

Moaba: DVR ItI don't usually like doctor shows and wasn't a fan of Steven Pasquale's character in "Up All Night," but they managed to update the "Jekyll and Hyde" concept in a dark and "Dexter"-ish sort of way.

Weingus: Skip ItThis is by the far the most melodramatic way to broach the subject of multiple personality disorder.

Prudom: Skip ItPainfully cheesy -- it plays more like a daytime soap opera than a primetime drama.

"INFAMOUS"Read more about "Infamous" and watch the trailer hereRyan: DVR ItIt's clearly a "Revenge" ripoff, but it has Victor Garber and I'm a sucker for nighttime soaps, so I'll see where it goes (for a while, at least).

Furlong: DVR ItThis feels like NBC's answer to the success of "Revenge" on ABC -- except I can't imagine needing to know every twist and turn as it happens with this one.

Etkin: Skip ItIt's a little "Revenge," a hint of "Dirty Sexy Money" and a splash of "The Killing" and unfortunately, "Infamous" uses mostly the negatives from all those shows. The general plot isn't awful -- minus the whole conspiracy theory -- but the execution was not at all captivating. Victor Garber deserves better.

Harnick: Skip ItThe show takes itself a bit too seriously for my taste. Not enough soap, a little too much melodrama. "Veronica Mars" and "Revenge" this isn't.

Moaba: Skip ItNot my cup of tea, but pulled me in -- to some extent -- anyway. Solid cast, sexy female lead and suspenseful.

Weingus: DVR ItThe pilot sets up enough mysteries and unanswered questions to make for an action-packed season.

Prudom: DVR ItKind of like "Revenge" meets "Dirty Sexy Money" (which isn't necessarily a bad thing) -- intriguing enough for a second look.

"NEXT CALLER"Read more about "Next Caller" and watch the trailer hereFurlong: Skip ItI groaned when I heard Dane Cook was getting a sitcom; I almost cried when I realized he's nowhere near the worst part of this show.

Etkin: Skip ItThough there was really no way I was ever going to watch Dane Cook play a douchey radio DJ week after week, "Next Caller" actually got worse thanks to his insanely annoying feminist co-host (Collette Wolfe). Jeffrey Tambor, save yourself.

Harnick: Skip ItFive minutes in I checked to see how much time I had left in the pilot thinking it was almost over. Nope.

Moaba: Skip ItBetween Dane Cook, the way overly peppy female lead and the contrived battle of the sexes concept, this pilot offered a triple dose of annoyingness. Next show.

Weingus: DVR It"Morning Glory" gets a TV show! The pilot wasn't mind-blowing, but "Next Caller" has potential.

Prudom: Skip ItRemember that the Gerard Butler/Katherine Heigl rom-com, "The Ugly Truth," and how insightfully it explored the gender divide? No? That's because it was shrill, outdated and more heavy-handed than Tyrion Lannister getting his Joffrey-slap on, and so is this.

"SAVE ME"Read more about "Save Me" and watch the trailer hereFurlong: Skip ItI can't. I just can't.

Etkin: DVR ItWhile the concept is absolutely bizarre -- a woman chokes on a sandwich and becomes a messenger of god -- I found something heartwarming about this dysfunctional family's new lease on life. The characters were likable and I think things could continue to get more interesting.

Harnick: Skip ItThis show belongs on cable with "Enlightened" (where I won't watch either one of them).

Moaba: Skip ItA lame attempt by NBC to get in on the HBO/Showtime quirky-woman-re-examining-her-life genre. God save us all.

Weingus: DVR ItAnne Heche's character is beyond irritating, but the rest of the characters are surprisingly endearing.

Prudom: DVR ItI was expecting to hate this show for being preachy, but found it surprisingly engaging, although fairly light on real laughs. I'm guessing it will draw plenty of "Enlightened" comparisons.

Tell us: Which of these new NBC shows are you excited to see for yourself?

Check out our snap judgments of other pilots here, by network:

Check out photos from NBC's new 2012-2013 shows here and check out the trailers:

1600 Penn

NBC's New Shows

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