By Ken Tucker
Updated May 04, 2009 at 08:59 PM EDT

NBC announced its new fall shows today. Here are mini-reviews of five of ’em. Warning: they’re based solely on short clips provided by the network, so I (and you) reserve the right to adjust opinions of them, up or down, once full-length episodes are available. But that will be… in the fall. Who wants to wait to have an opinion until then?

Parenthood Producer Ron Howard turns his movie into a TV series — again (the first one aired and flopped in 1990). This one is about four grown siblings and their different parenting styles. Peter Krause is a Little League-coach kinda dad (not sure that’s a good fit for Mr. Dirty Sexy Money.) ER‘s Maura Tierney is a single mom with at least one really obnoxious teen daughter. (I like Tierney is almost anything, especially when she’s playing stressed-out.) It’s brought to you by writer and executive producer Jason Katims, who headed up Friday Night Lights, so I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt. (All grades based on clips only):


Mercy A medical drama about tough nurses headed up by Veronica (Taylor Schilling), who knows tough-love from a recently-finished tour in Iraq, and says things like, nurses “know more than all your residents combined.” She’s married, but a cute doctor arrives at the hospital (in a wincing Grey’s Anatomy moment, he’s actually referred to as “hot doctor guy”). Hot doc proves to be a former lover of Veronica’s: ooh, complications ensue! Also starring Gossip Girl‘s Michelle Trachtenberg as a wide-eyed rookie nurse. This show could be insufferable.


Community Joel McHale heads up a sitcom cast about a community college full of misfit students and teachers. Co-starring Chevy Chase as a fatuous, out-of-it goofball (finally, Chase finds appropriate latterday casting) and The Daily Show‘s John Oliver as McHale’s pal. There seem to be a lot of jokes about The Breakfast Club. McHale’s performance seems totally winning — funny, funny-smarmy, funny-smart — and the show is from a couple of guys who worked on Arrested Development. Looks good to me.


Trauma It’s one of those ultra-NBC, “pulse-pounding,” lives-in-danger-of-exploding shows in the tradition of ER and Third Watch, about a San Francisco trauma team. With dialogue like “That tanker’s gonna blow!” and “I can’t die!,” it all sounded way over the top, but its executive producer is Friday Night Lights‘ Peter Berg, so maybe it will be more exciting than the hyped-up clips looked. The ensemble includes Anatasia Griffith, sister of Rose Byrne’s murdered fiance in Damages. To paraphrase: This show might blow!


100 Questions Or, “Please Please Please Think We’re The New Friends!” About a group of young New York singles who are always on the prowl for love and/or sex. The title refers to the questions at least one member of the group, British girl Charlotte (Sophie Winkleman), answers for a meet-your-soulmate dating service. Comedy genius James Burrows — who directed many Friends, among quadrillions of other terrific sitcom half-hours, directed the pilot — which makes the rather lazy-sounding punchlines (supposedly so-bad-it’s-funny pick-up line: “Are you wearing space-pants, because your ass is out of this world!”) all the more dismaying. Unless the ensemble cast develops a sparky chemistry not discernible in the brief segments NBC has shown, this could be a dud.


More clips after the jump.

For more on NBC’s new fall schedule: NBC unveils fall sked