NBC

Culture Warrior

Episodes and seasons and weeks after its inspiration and its humor have peaked, I still continue to watch new episodes of The Office week in and week out. I don’t know why – I never do this with dramatic shows, only with comedies – but I tend to stick with comedy shows whose legacy I appreciate even if their time has passed, either out of respect, blind hope, or simply the desire to have some noise in the room while I take a break to eat a meal or fold laundry. While The Office certainly isn’t what it used to be, even before Steve Carell left, it’s still an inoffensive and enjoyable way to pass some time. I can’t deny that the affinity I developed for the show’s characters early on in the series has carried me through a lot of its creative droughts (in other words, I hardly watch it only for its comedy) even as more recent network sitcoms like Modern Family, Community, and (especially) Parks and Recreation have made me LOL significantly more often. But in the bizarre cameos leading up to a strange and dry seventh season finale, The Office seems to have encountered much greater problems than a rudimentary lack of inspiration typical for the (possibly cyclical) lifespan of a long-running television show. The Office seems to have rejected the defining characteristics that made it unique in the first place.

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For years now NBC has laid dormant in fourth place behind CBS, ABC and FOX. The decline was slow and gradual, but once it became the butt of every Leno/Conan joke and started showing in the networks programming, it became clear that NBC was in a bad place. Then a glimmer of hope shined through, after years of mismanagement at the hands of Jeff Zucker, the network president was kicked out by new parent company Comcast who took over the majority share of NBCUniversal from General Electric this past year. The new bosses first move? Hire people that won’t just seal the cracks in the wall, but instead will take a sledgehammer to the house and build a new one from the ground up. The result? The hiring of former Showtime president Robert Greenblatt. Greenblatt is the man responsible for shows like Weeds, Dexter and Nurse Jackie. So for the first time in years, it looks like NBC has someone behind the wheel who has mastered the art of precision driving. And that bring us today and the recently announced fall 2011-2012 schedule. A schedule that is a… re-tooling to put it lightly. As new Broadcasting Chairman Ted Harbert said at the upfront on Monday, the schedule is “a little less reinvention of the wheel and a lot more Broadcasting 101″ which is probably the best way to describe it. Because what it appears is that the fourth place network is finally embracing the two words they have avoided for years “counter-programming.”

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Boiling Point

Sorry Wonder Woman fans, but the patriotically clad superheroine won’t be coming to television screens anytime soon, at least not on NBC. Considering how all the other networks passed on the project from the start, I’m not sure there’s any network left for it, unless the CW wanted to weaken its line-up. Zing. As nerds on the internet, it is our job to question why this show was canceled. After all, we love comics and we love TV, so there you go. After many seconds of deep, introspective thought, I figured out why Wonder Woman won’t be appearing on any screen in the near future. Wonder Woman sucks, that’s why.

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Earlier today NBC released their full schedule for the fall television season. Much of the schedule confirms things we already knew from previous reports. But the schedule does confirms some of the “sure thing” renewals as well as revealed some major changes being made to the network’s time slots. Plus, we’ve got some video clips of some of the newer shows (like The Playboy Club and Prime Suspect) they’ll be showing soon in a home theater near you. Of the highlights:

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Continuing with our on-going coverage of all things TV for the next few days, NBC has made yet another pick up announcement for four more series orders. The four pilots that have been picked up to series are “Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea, starring Laura Prepon, Free Agents, starring Hank Azaria, Bent, starring Amanda Peet, and BFF (formerly Best Friends Forever)” according to TV By The Numbers. The astute reader will notice that all of these series are comedies. Could NBC be planning another day worth of prime time comedy in addition to their already stacked Thursday night comedy block? It’s looking very likely. As for the cancellations? The peacock has decided to finally pull the plug on the god awful demon spawn that is The Event. The show has been an absolute mess since day one with a forcefully, and annoyingly convoluted plot. Let this failed show be a sign to all other networks, just because one sci-fi show is successful (LOST), doesn’t mean all of them will be. Of course, that’s not all that got cut.

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NBC has decided to be a prima donna today, scattering all their announcements throughout the day. NBC has picked up three more pilots to series, rejected one, and made two more renewal announcements. First is The Playboy Club. As if I even need to explain the plot of the series with a title like that and a cast that includes Amber Heard. Think of the series as a Mad Men style period piece set within the classic chain of night clubs. Next up is Awake (formally known as R.E.M.), from Lone Star creator Kyle Killen, Awake is an Inception-style thriller starring Jason Isaacs. The pilot was directed by David Slade. Finally there’s Grimm, starring David Giuntoli as “detective whose mission is to protect humans living in a world where Grimm’s Fairy Tale characters actually exist.” As for the rejected pilot? It turns out that the reports from Monday were in fact false as NBC has decided to pass on David E. Kelley’s Wonder Woman. The producers are open to shop the pilot to other networks, but it seems highly unlikely it’s going to fall anywhere else before Monday’s upfronts. Well, it was fun while it lasted. As for the two renewals? Some rumors were in fact true on Monday as the other David E. Kelley series Harry’s Law has been renewed for a second season. Also renewed tonight is the hit Jason Katims series (and one of my personal favorites), Parenthood for a third season.

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After last Tuesday’s TV news bombshell that consisted of FOX obliterating pretty much every under-performing show on their schedule, many wondered what could be next from the networks in terms of picks-ups and cancellations. Well, NBC has decided to answer that question with a slew of pick-ups, none of which involve the words “wonder” or “woman.” At the moment the fourth place network has called for series orders from four pilots including Whitney a sitcom based on the stand-up comedy and starring Whitney Cummings. The Steven Spielberg produced, Gleeish musical-comedy Smash. The U.S. adaptation of the British series Prime Suspect and the Christina Applegate starring Up All Night. But that’s not all. It appears that NBC decided to have a little heart yet again as reports are filing in from all across the internet saying that spy-comedy CHUCK has indeed been renewed for a fifth season. This is by far the best news I’ve heard all day.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, we blather on and on for no real reason until the end credits and, for some reason, a ton of 14-year old girls camp out to get tickets.

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30rockseason4

Liz and Pete have discovered the talent they want to hire for TGS and plan to dupe Jack into hiring him, but when Jenna discovers that the lead candidate is an actor she dislikes, she and a paranoid Tracy plan to find their own candidate.

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30rockseason4

Jack and Liz take a trip to Kenneth’s hometown of Stone Mountain, Georgia in yet another attempt to find all-American talent while Jenna attempts to charm the writing staff so she’ll get favorable roles once a new cast member is hired and they in turn attempt to charm her for an invitation to a Halloween party.

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30rockseason4

Liz begins to see the negative ripple effects from her book “Dealbreakers” – especially from an aggravated Tracy Jordan – while Jack struggles to find a way to make GE profitable to appease President Obama’s Microwave and Small Appliances Task Force headed up by his arch-enemy Devon Banks.

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30rockseason4

Welcome back, 30 Rock. How I missed you. Did you miss me? Of course you didn’t. You’re a multi-Emmy Award-winning comedy show on NBC and I’m an online film and TV critic who ate Sour Patch Kids for dinner tonight.

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coronersreport_newheader

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. And bad made for TV horror. ~ The Coroner. Luckily for us all, Fear Itself isn’t all bad.

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yellow-brick-road

A new show from the ‘Friday Night Lights’ team will bring ‘The Wizard of Oz’ to modern day Manhattan.

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The Office: Business Ethics

Following Ryan’s (B.J. Novak) recent scandal at corporate, Holly (Amy Ryan) must hold a business ethics seminar. The meeting gets out of control when Michael (Steve Carell) lets everyone speak freely about their unethical behavior at work.

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Heroes: I Am Become Death

The two Peters (Milo Ventimiglia) travel to a future where everyone has superpowers.

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Katee Sackhoff

Poor Katee Sackhoff. Her attempt at getting a defining role outside of Battlestar Galactica last year failed miserably, with Bionic Woman taking a dive after 8 episodes. But, like any sensible woman, Katee has branched out and gotten herself on an NBC-based cash cow.

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With the Fall TV season upon us, it is time to welcome back all of our old favorites. As well, it is time to discover some new shows. And in that batch of newbies, there are the good, the bad, and well, you know the rest…

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Heroes Logo

Michael Phelps may currently be burning up your TV screen, but the preview for the new season of NBC’s “Heroes” looks golden in its’ own right.

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Season 2 on DVD lives up to the release of season one in 2006.

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