NBC’s upfronts 2016-7 – a rundown and clips from the new shows – Timeless, The Good Place and This Is Us

Following on from USA’s mere two shows, here are NBC’s Upfront 2016 reveals. Now NBC has rather a lot of new shows on the way:

  • Taken (prequel to the Liam Neeson movie franchise)
  • Chicago Justice (lawyer spin-off of NBC’s ‘Chicago’ TV franchise)
  • Emerald City (‘reimagining’ of the Wizard of Oz)
  • The Blacklist: Redemption (spin-off from NBC’s The Blacklist)
  • Midnight, Texas (adaptation of Charlaine Harris’ book series)
  • Great News (TV producer and intern mum comedy)
  • Powerless (DC Comics insurance workplace comedy)
  • Trial & Error (mockumentary about a small town murder trial) 
  • Marlon (co-parenting comedy based on Marlon Wayans’ childhood)

However, they’re all mid-season replacements so won’t be hitting our screens (if at all) until 2017. So that means we only have three shows to look at today: Timeless, The Good Place and This is Us.

Short version
Generic diverse team of people have to travel back in time to stop Goran Visnjic messing up history
Long version
From Eric Kripke (Revolution, Supernatural), Shawn Ryan (The Shield) and the producers of The Blacklist comes this thrilling action-adventure series in which a mysterious criminal steals a secret state-of-the-art time machine, intent on destroying America as we know it by changing the past. Our only hope is an unexpected team: a scientist, soldier and history professor who must use the machine’s prototype to travel back in time to critical events. While they must make every effort not to affect the past themselves, they must also stay one step ahead of this dangerous fugitive. Can this handpicked team uncover the mystery behind it all and end his destruction before it’s too late?

The cast includes Abigail Spencer, Matt Lanter, Malcolm Barrett, Goran Visnjic, Paterson Joseph, Sakina Jaffrey and Claudia Doumit. Eric Kripke and Shawn Ryan serves as writers and executive producers. John Davis, John Fox, Marney Hochman and director Neil Marshall also executive produce. Timeless is produced by Davis Entertainment, Kripke Enterprises and MiddKid Productions in association with Sony Pictures Television.

TMINE’s verdict
Well, it’s not exactly subtle, is it? Or smart. It wants to be. But it isn’t. All the same, there’s a good cast (turns out that all those predictions of Paterson Joseph being Doctor Who weren’t far off after all…) and it looks like it could be fun in the same way Time Cop was.

The Good Place
Short version
Kristen Bell dies up and ends up in ‘Heaven’, but shouldn’t have done. 
Long version
From Michael Schur, executive producer of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Parks and Recreation and The Office, comes a smart, unique new comedy that follows Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell, House of Lies, Veronica Mars), an ordinary woman who, through an extraordinary string of events, enters the afterlife where she comes to realise that she hasn’t been a very good person. With the help of her wise newfound afterlife mentor (Ted Danson, Bored to Death, Cheers), she’s determined to shed her old way of living and discover the awesome (or at least the pretty good) person within.

Directed by Drew Goddard, the Oscar-nominated writer of The Martian. The cast includes Kristen Bell, Ted Danson, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, Manny Jacinto and D’Arcy Carden. Michael Schur serves as writer and executive producer. David Miner also executive produces. Drew Goddard directs. The Good Place is produced by Universal Television and 3 Arts Entertainment.

TMINE’s verdict
I laughed. It looked quite fun. I’m looking forward to it. However, I imagine given it’s a single-camera NBC comedy airing at 8.30pm on a Thursday that it’ll be dead before the end of the season.

This is Us
Short version
Stories of the lives of lots of tedious Americans who all share the same birthday.
Long version
Sometimes life will surprise you. Starring Mandy Moore (A Walk to Remember), Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes, Gilmore Girls) and Sterling K. Brown (The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story), this refreshingly honest and provocative series follows a unique ensemble whose paths cross and their life stories intertwine in curious ways. We find several of them share the same birthday, and so much more than anyone would expect. From the writer and directors of Crazy, Stupid, Love comes a smart, modern dramedy that will challenge your everyday presumptions about the people you think you know.

The cast includes Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Justin Hartley, Chrissy Metz, Sterling K. Brown, Susan Kelechi Watson, Chris Sullivan and Ron Cephas Jones. Dan Fogelman serves as writer and executive producer. Jess Rosenthal, Charlie Gogolak and directors John Requa and Glenn Ficarra also executive produce. This Is Us is produced by 20th Century Fox Television.

TMINE’s verdict
Nice to see Justin Hartley still getting work after all this time, but based purely on this trailer, I’d rather impale myself repeatedly on a sharpened stick of Blackpool rock than watch an entire episode of this obviously manipulative, patronising ‘drama’.

(New programmess in UPPER CASE; all times ET)

8-10 P.M. — The Voice
10-11 P.M. — TIMELESS

8-9 P.M. — The Voice
9-10 P.M. — THIS IS US
10-11 P.M. — Chicago Fire

8-9 P.M. — Blindspot
9-10 P.M. — Law & Order: SVU
10-11 P.M. — Chicago P.D.

8-8:30 P.M. — Superstore
8:30-9 P.M. — THE GOOD PLACE
9-10 P.M. — Chicago Med
10-11 P.M. — The Blacklist

8-9 P.M. — Caught on Camera with Nick Cannon
9-10 P.M. — Grimm
10-11 P.M. — Dateline NBC

8-10 P.M. — Saturday Dateline Mysteries
10-11 P.M. — Saturday Night Live (encores)

7-8:20 P.M. — Football Night in America
8:20-11 P.M. — NBC’s Sunday Night Football


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.