I call this The Season NBC Has Decided Women Are Surprisingly Competent Freaky-Ass Messes. You can watch the promo reels here. Also: I thought it would be a fight to see whether Debra Messing or Katherine Heigl is least convincing in her technical dialogue, but based on the reels, it’s Messing, hands-down, who is as solid a choice for a cop as Rachel Bilson was for a go-getter heart surgeon (but I still love you, Dixie).
Bad Judge: Kate Walsh is a PROFESSIONAL LADYPERSON who is also a TOTAL MESS in her personal life! She manages to drink and be crass and party and have sex in her office while also meting out punishments in small-claims court! There’s a child to give her a heart! There’s a rip-off of the “Put That Thing Back Where It Came From Or So Help Me” joke from Monsters Inc.! Bad looks like the operative word!
State of Affairs: Katherine Heigl is a PROFESSIONAL LADYPERSON who is also a TOTAL MESS in her personal life! She manages to drink and sleep around while also meting out punishments to terrorists! (She even says, “Total slob in my personal life, total sniper in my professional one,” in case the reel was way too subtle for us.) There is President Alfre Woodard’s Dead Son to give her heart! There’s a rip-off of Homeland (blonde, kind of unhinged, also kind of brilliant, really hates terrorists)! State — as in, it’s in one — looks like the operative word!
Mysteries of Laura: Debra Messing is a PROFESSIONAL LADYPERSON who is also a TOTAL MESS in her personal life! She manages to clean up her family messes while also meting out punishments to criminals! There are her twin sons and her maybe-still-into-her almst-ex husband Josh Lucas to give her heart! It might not be a rip-off, but there’s a really hacky joke where they want you to think she’s enterting a bloody crime scene, and she is… but it was a crime of HER CHILDREN MAKING A MESS WITH PAINT! Bonus points for hacky use of Tom Jones’ “She’s A Lady”! Mystery — as in, why it got picked up — looks like the operative word!
A to Z: This looks like How I Met Your Mother — right down to starring The Mother, Cristin Milioti (here, as Adorable Brunette Whom We Are Expected To Believe Has No Romantic Experience, Or Something) — except without the flashbacks, and beginning with the meet-cute. It’s one of those Comedies With Heart, and it also stars Ginsberg from Mad Men, who is super cute when he’s allowed to shave the mustache. The reel is charming enough, but it would require a great ensemble, I think, to give itself legs, and they’re not in the clip enough to convince me of anything.
Constantine: It’s based on a comic. He’s a demon hunter. He’s not a great actor. It was once a Keanu Reeves movie… I think I’d have been okay if it had stayed one.
[Photos: WENN, Getty]