NBC and Fox unveil trailers for new series

First looks at the American "Prime Suspect," Zooey Deschanel's sitcom, the new "Lost" knockoff -- and others

Published May 17, 2011 12:01PM (EDT)

A mix of old and new stars in Fall's TV lineup.
A mix of old and new stars in Fall's TV lineup.

As networks gather in New York to unveil their hot 2011-2012 premieres, we get a sneak peak at all the new shows coming our way. Which ones will be the next "Arrested Development" or "Mad Men," and which will be next season's "The Cape?" We take a look at the trailers released by Fox and NBC over the past two days and try to make our most informed snap judgments.

From NBC:

1."Up All Night"

With Will Arnett, Maya Rudolph, and Christina Applegate. It's about babies, which all three of these actors have, so at least they are working with the source material. Here's hoping it's not another "Running Wilde" for Arnett.

2. "Bent"

We mentioned last week that this show starred Amanda Peet as a rich divorcee in love with her contractor. We forgot to mention "Arrested Development's" Jeffrey Tambor costars though, so that might be an incentive. (He's not the contractor.)

3. "Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea"

Starring Laura Prepon as a Chelsea Handler stand-in who works at a bar. And sounds exactly like Donna from "That Seventies' Show" and nothing like Handler. But still props to NBC for making such a female-centric comedy lineup. Let's just see if Prepon can pull it off.

 4. "Free Agents"

This American remake of a British comedy will hopefully make Hank Azaria recognizable to audiences as more than just the voice of Apu. Here he's a PR consultant battling workplace drama and romance. Expect banter. 

 5. "Smash"

Pairs up Debra Messing with "American Idol" runner-up Katharine McPhee and the guys who did "Chicago." And it's a musical. SOLD!

 6. "The Playboy Club"

It's like  "Mad Men," but with more Playboy Bunnies. At least, that's what NBC is going to try to sell you on.

7. "Awake"

Wins best show on its concept alone: a man wakes up from a car crash straddling two realities, each carrying its own set of personal tragedies. He solves crimes in both of them, but with different partners. In one world, his wife is dead, and in another, it's his son. "Awake" sounds like "Sliding Doors" but with Lucius Malfoy from "Harry Potter" instead of Gwyneth Paltrow ... and also amazing. Too bad it doesn't premiere till mid-2012.

 8. "Grimm"

Reimagines classic fairy tales as supernatural criminal activity happening all around us.  So like "True Blood" meets "Law and Order?" Could be awesome, or it could be incredibly corny.

 8. "Whitney"

Finally gives gut-busting comedienne Whitney Cummings a showcase for her talents. Too bad the preview makes it look like she's doing a one-woman show of "Perfect Couples." Off-topic, but did they already cancel "Perfect Couples?"

10. "Prime Suspect"

Another quirky police drama starring Maria Bello. Is she a dog psychic? No? Snooze. However, Dame Helen Mirren originated this role in the British version, so Maria actually has some big shoes to fill despite the over-saturated market in police procedurals.

Meanwhile over at Fox, we have a whole bunch of new spooky mysteries to unravel (over the course of seven seasons, the network hopes).

1. "Alcatraz"

You'd think that "The Event's" failure would have taught studios that we're not ready for another "Lost" knockoff, but what about one that is produced by "Lost's" J.J. Abrams and actually stars a former cast member? Jorge Garcia and Sam Neill team up to track down time-traveling prisoners who were able to dig their way through time and space with only a spoon and a picture of Rita Hayworth.

 2. "Terra Nova"

Deals with time travel as well, but this time a bunch of scientists are going back to fix civilization, like they made Bruce Willis do in "Twelve Monkeys."

 3. "Finder"

A spin-off of "Bones" starring Geoff Stults as a guy who is basically House, except for locating stuff instead of figuring out rare diseases. (At this point, I feel like Fox creates characters with a giant Mad Libs game. "So he's a ____ who is almost psychically good at deducing ____, which makes it hard for him to relate to ____.")

 4. "New Girl"

Is for all you hipsters out there who were waiting for someone to give Zooey Deschanel a show already. Who cares what it's about? Look at her glasses! She's so fun ... but you can tell, there's a real depth to her too.

 5. "I Hate My Teenage Daughter"

Stars Jaime Pressly and Katie Finneran as moms who tell it like it really is. In other news, "S#*t My Dad Says" has been canceled. Parents rule! Take that, 18-25-year-old demographic!

6. "Napoleon Dynamite"

The cartoon cashing in on the film's zeitgeist just in time.

7. "Allen Gregory"

Fox's other new animated series, created and starring Jonah Hill. We have a little more hope for this one, but can Hill carry off a production all by himself?

So what do you think folks? Which one of these shows will sink, and which ones will become our new favorite thing to TiVo?

By Drew Grant

Drew Grant is a staff writer for Salon. Follow her on Twitter at @videodrew.

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