NBC's the most depressing network in existence right now. There aren't many new ideas or thoughts to share about their problems or how to fix them. At the very least, they have two of the best comedies on TV right now, though I'm hesitant about the fourth season of Community. Parenthood's good or mediocre, depending on who you talk to. The others are mostly uninteresting. Here goes the preview:
PARENTHOOD returns on Tuesday, September 11 at 10PM
Jason Katims brought Matt Lauria to the show for the fourth season. Ray Romano's stopping by for a cup of apple cider. The Middle used Ray Ramono last season, in their premiere, to no effect at all. Katims promised Sarah will give an answer to the dude who proposed marriage to her. Haddie's going to Cornell. Parenthood has a sizable cast and many storylines for each, so I'll stop here because I barely watch this show. It's a soapy show with heartfelt moments. Expect soap and heart.
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE returns on Saturday, September 15 at 11:29PM
It's an Election Year. SNL will air two Thursday night Weekend Update specials on Sept. 20 & Sept. 27. There's nothing I love more than hearing Seth Meyers congratulate himself on doing double duty, because the work crunch is so tough during an episode week, but by gum they get it done; and similarly, pop culture writers praising Seth and the writers and the cast for their hard-work gets grating. SNL lost Kristen Wiig, Andy Samberg, and Abby Elliott. Jason Sudeikis will bolt once the election episodes are over. I'll miss Abby Elliott, but my girl Nasim Pedrad should be involved in more sketches now. Seth McFarlane and Joseph Gorden-Levitt will host the first two shows.
UP ALL NIGHT returns on Thursday, September 20 at 8:30PM
Creator Erin Spivey decided to drop Ava's talk show. The series struggled to balance Raegan's personal and professional life. Maya Rudolph's character overwhelmed the professional part of the show. Todd Vanderwerff of The A.V. Club reported Up All Night plans to tell smaller stories in season 2, which should help the show. I think Rudolph's amusing as Ava, but the talk show did distract from the heart of the show, which is Reagan's family.
THE OFFICE returns on Thursday, September 20 at 9PM
Season 9 is the last season for the show. I think Steve Carrell should stay away from the show. There's no need for the nostalgia cameo. I type this as someone who stopped watching the show a few years ago. Greg Daniels hopes to make a season that'll please long-time fans of the show. I read criticisms of the show for the last year. Will it rebound in its last season? I bet the only great episode is the finale, when everyone who left comes back.
PARKS AND RECREATION returns on Thursday, September 20 at 9:30PM
Leslie Knope won the Pawnee election. I know this because I watched the final five minutes of season four last night. Ben and April will be in Washington D.C. working on a congressional campaign to start the season. Leslie will be on City Council doing stuff. Andy's supposed to become a cop or something.
LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT returns on Wednesday, September 26 at 9PM
Ice T called out the fans that stopped watching after Christopher Meloni left. That's smart. Ice T is the veteran of the show now. Two new detectives have been added to take Meloni and Hargitay places. Dick Wolf's excited about the different feel of the show. As for the premiere, the Captain, who woke up to a dead hooker in the finale, is fighting for his freedom in the premiere.
30 ROCK returns on Thursday, October 4 at 8PM
After thirteen episodes, which includes an extended series finale, 30 Rock will end. The last scene will probably be between Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin. Since this is NBC, I imagine there will be a 7 minute ovation for the stars somehow.
COMMUNITY returns Friday, October 19 at 8PM
I read an article about what Dan Harmon would've done with season 4; this doesn't help my preview, because NBC fired Dan Harmon. The new show runners will use the 'Jeff meets his dad' storyline because the executives were excited about it. The Community story I'm invested in ended in May. It officially ended when NBC fired Dan Harmon. I'm going to watch the new season to see what's done with my favorite characters. I hope the charm of the show remains, but it'll never be the same as it was when Harmon ran things; if the season sucks, no worries, because the first three seasons are terrific. The cast offered nothing about the new season during comic-con. They sat around and sang for awhile or told inside jokes.
WHITNEY returns Friday, October 19 at 8:30PM
The second googe result for 'Whitney Season 2' is: should Whitney be renewed? Doesn't that question sum up the show? The show runner changed. A Friends veteran, Wil Calhoun, takes the rein and tries to make something out of this mess. Good luck, Mr. Calhoun.
I'd like to thank thefutoncritic for being a terrific resource every year during this two-week preview. Zap2It, Huff Po, Screenrant, and Wikipedia were great aides as well. Television Without Pity helped me figure out what actually happened in the previous season of some of the returning shows. Thanks for reading. Enjoy the Fall 2012 season. And stop by the blog for my reviews of a variety of shows.
THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK