Snap Judgments: SMASH, PRIME SUSPECT, THE PLAYBOY CLUB, GRIMM, AWAKE, THE FIRM, WHITNEY, UP ALL NIGHT, FREE AGENTS, ARE YOU THERE VODKA? IT’S ME CHELSEA

SMASH
According to the Official NBC Description: SMASH is a musical drama that celebrates the beauty and heartbreak of the Broadway theater as it follows a cross-section of dreamers and schemers who all have one common desire — to be a “Smash.” The series centers on a desire to create a Broadway musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe — written by the successful songwriting duo of Tom (Christian Borle, Legally Blonde: The Musical) and Julia (Debra Messing, WILL & GRACE). Julia recently began the process of adopting a child with her husband of many years, but her focus is torn when she has the opportunity to write another Broadway hit. A rivalry soon forms for the lead role between a youthful, inexperienced Midwestern beauty (Katharine McPhee, AMERICAN IDOL) — who is trying to find fame in the big city against all odds — and stage veteran (Megan Hilty, 9 to 5: The Musical), who’s determined to leave the chorus line and finally get her big break. A tenacious producer Eileen (Anjelica Huston, Prizzi’s Honor) discovers the “Marilyn” project and jumps on board with a brilliant director (Jack Davenport, Pirates of the Caribbean films) — whose talent is matched by his cunning and egocentric amorality.

Why We’re Excited: Based on an idea from some guy named Steven Spiel-something-or-other comes a new series executive produced by the talented twosome (Craig Zadan and Neil Meron) responsible for shepherding Chicago and Hairspray featuring original songs from Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Hairspray, Catch Me If You Can). In other words, aside from premiere date that has already been pushed back to January 2012, there is very little not to love about what is already becoming one of our most anticipated new shows of the Fall Winter season.

Why We Probably Shouldn’t Let Our Excitement Get the Better of Us: With the curtain being held until January 2012, there is an awful long time for what are potentially too many cooks in the kitchen (read: Network Brass and countless executive producers/creative types) to screw this up.

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PRIME SUSPECT
According to the Official NBC Description: Based on the critically acclaimed British television series of the same name, PRIME SUSPECT has been redeveloped for American audiences by writer Alexandra Cunningham (DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, NYPD BLUE), director Peter Berg (NBC’s FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS) — and stars Maria Bello as tough-as-nails Detective Jane Timoney.

Why We’re Excited: You mean aside from the fact that we can finally put an end to season-after-season of primetime chatter that has NBC attempting to develop and re-develop an Americanized version of a critically acclaimed UK hit… FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS Peter Berg can pretty much do no wrong in our books.

Why We Probably Shouldn’t Let Our Excitement Get the Better of Us: NBC doesn’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to adapting British shows for American audiences (See: COUPLING, TOP GEAR among others)

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THE PLAYBOY CLUB
According to the Official NBC Description: From Academy Award-winning executive producer Brian Grazer, THE PLAYBOY CLUB is a provocative new drama about a time and place that challenged the social mores, where a visionary entrepreneur created an empire and an icon changed American culture. It’s the early ‘60s, and the legendary Playboy Club in Chicago is the door to all of your fantasies — and the key is the most sought-after status symbol of its kind. Inside the seductive world of the bunny, the epitome of beauty and service, the clientele rubs shoulders with the decade’s biggest mobsters, politicos and entertainers.

Why We’re Excited: Mobsters! Politicians! Sex! 60’s! Eddie Cibrian! Amber Heard! Laura Benanti! David Krumholtz! Seriously, how long until September?

Why We Probably Shouldn’t Let Our Excitement Get the Better of Us: Do you really want to be among the first onslaught of shows (See also: ABC’s upcoming PAN AM) to invite comparisons to Matthew Weiner’s AMC masterpiece MAD MEN? We sure as heck wouldn’t.

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GRIMM
According to the Official NBC Description: GRIMM is a new drama series inspired by the classic Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Remember the fairy tales your parents used to tell you before bedtime? Those weren’t stories — they were warnings. Nick Burkhardt (David Guintoli Turn The Beat Around) thought he prepared himself for the realities of working as a homicide detective until he started seeing things he couldn’t quite explain. When his ailing Aunt Marie (guest star Kate Burton, GREY’S ANATOMY) arrives, Nick’s life turns upside down when she reveals they are descendants of an elite group of hunters, also known as “Grimms,” who fight to keep the balance of humanity safe from the supernatural creatures of the world.

Why We’re Excited: It’s SUPERNATURAL meets BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER! Plus, we’re complete suckers when it comes to ordinary people discovering their not-so-ordinary family lineage.

Why We Probably Shouldn’t Let Our Excitement Get the Better of Us: When is the last time that a show — not on CBS — debuted on Friday night and lived to tell the tale? Suffice it to say, GRIMM’s prospects are, well GRIMM.

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AWAKE
According to the Official NBC Description: AWAKE is an intriguing drama about a detective (Jason Issacs) who finds he is leading an arduous double life that defies reality. When Detective Michael Britten (Issacs) regains consciousness following his family’s car accident, he is told that his wife Hannah (Laura Allen, TERRIERS) perished but that his teen son, Rex (Dylan Minnette, SAVING GRACE), has survived. As he tries to put the pieces of his life back together, he awakens again in a parallel reality in which his wife is very much alive — but his son Rex died in the accident. In order to keep both of his loved ones alive at one time, he begins living two dueling realities in parallel worlds, which churns up confusion — in one moment, Michael and his wife debate about having another child to replace their son, while in the other reality, he is attracted to his son’s tennis coach, Tara (Michaela McManus, THE VAMPIRE DIARIES), to fill the void from the loss of his wife. Trying to regain some normalcy, Michael returns to police work and solves crimes in both worlds with the help of two different partners — Detective Isaiah “Bird” Freeman (Steve Harris, THE PRACTICE) and Detective Efrem Vega (Wilmer Valderrama, THAT ’70’s SHOW).

Why We’re Excited: Not only is AWAKE being billed a small screen version of Inception, it stars the ridiculously watchable Jason Issacs and comes from the mind of Kyle Killen, who was responsible for last Fall’s spectacularly overhyped albeit incredibly intriguing failure that was LONE STAR.

Why We Probably Shouldn’t Let Our Excitement Get the Better of Us: Having to re-read the Network’s description multiple times to ensure we’re following along does not bode well for a country that sold out Charlie Sheen’s “Violent Torpedo of Ttruth Tour.” We’re just sayin’

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THE FIRM
According to the Official NBC Description: Based on the blockbuster feature film and best-selling novel by world-renowned author John Grisham (“The Pelican Brief,” “The Client”), THE FIRM continues the story of attorney Mitchell McDeere and his family 10 years after the events of the film and novel. As a young associate, McDeere brought down the prestigious Memphis law firm of Bendini, Lambert & Locke, which operated as a front for the Chicago mob — and his life was never the same.

Why We’re Excited: If it pleases the court, we would like to submit “Exhibit A” into evidence: An actual photograph of our book shelf!

Why We Probably Shouldn’t Let Our Excitement Get the Better of Us: Despite a place on NBC’s midseason schedule, THE FIRM has yet to find a Tom Cruise replacement, let alone shoot a single frame of footage.

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WHITNEY
According to the Official NBC Description: A hilarious look at modern love, WHITNEY is a new multi-camera comedy series about Whitney (Whitney Cummings, CHELSEA LATELY) and Alex (Chris D’Elia, GLORY DAZE), a happily unmarried couple. Together for five years, the duo is in no rush to get hitched. However, after attending yet another one of their friends’ weddings, Whitney realizes that she and Alex are dangerously close to relationship boredom. Determined not to let that happen, Whitney consults her close circle of opinionated girlfriends — including Lily (Zoe Lister-Jones, The Other Guys) and Roxanne (Rhea Seehorn, THE STARTER WIFE) — and then snaps into action.

Why We’re Excited: NBC has pretty much deemed Whitney Cummings Fall’s “Next Big Thing,” having awarded her self titled show the plum post-OFFICE timeslot.

Why We Probably Shouldn’t Let Our Excitement Get the Better of Us: Having taken a look at the handful of preview clips offered by NBC, somebody at the network needs to get a better grasp of the word “hilarious.” And stat!

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UP ALL NIGHT
According to the Official NBC Description: From Emily Spivey (PARKS AND RECREATION) and legendary Emmy Award-winning producer Lorne Michaels, comes “Up All Night,” a modern take on parenthood that shows the challenges of balancing a career, marriage and a new baby. Christina Applegate (SAMANTHA WHO?) stars as Reagan, a successful public relations executive, and Will Arnett (ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT) plays Chris, Reagan’s supportive, stay-at-home husband. The two have just become parents – a surprise that has set their lives on a new path as responsible adults — for the most part.

Why We’re Excited: We’d watch stars Christina Applegate and Will Arnett read the phone book.

Why We Probably Shouldn’t Let Our Excitement Get the Better of Us: At least as evidence by the ratings for the duo’s previous failed sitcoms, America doesn’t quite share our infatuation with said aforementioned stars.

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FREE AGENTS
According to the Official NBC Description: FREE AGENTS is a crooked workplace/romantic new comedy from creator John Enbom (PARTY DOWN) and Emmy Award-winning director Todd Holland (MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE) based on the cult U.K. series of the same name that explores the trials and tribulations of two public relations executives on the rebound. Alex (Hank Azaria, THE SIMPSONS) is newly divorced and can barely keep himself together while his co-worker Helen (Kathryn Hahn, HUNG) thinks she has it together but is obsessed with her deceased fiancé and actually is falling apart. Then a drunken Alex and Helen end up in bed together, and in the resulting sober confusion, Helen decides that they should only be friends.

Why We’re Excited: Ummmm…. we’re going to have to get back to you on that one.

Why We Probably Shouldn’t Let Our Excitement Get the Better of Us: See above.

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ARE YOU THERE VODKA? IT’S ME, CHELSEA
According to the Official NBC Description: Inspired by the best-selling book from comedienne/talk show host Chelsea Handler (CHELSEA LATELY), the new comedy ARE YOU THERE VODKA? IT’S ME, CHELSEA, follows the exploits of twentysomething bartender Chelsea (Laura Prepon, THAT 70’s SHOW) a strong-willed force of nature who is determined to live life to the fullest and make no apologies.

Why We’re Excited: Assuming this series manages to hold on to even a smidgen of Chelsea Handler’s hilarious tome as it jumps from page to screen, ARE YOU THERE VODKA? IT’S ME, CHELSEA has big breakout hit written all over it.

Why We Probably Shouldn’t Let Our Excitement Get the Better of Us: Chelsea Handler Laura Prepon ain’t.

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  • Looking forward to Smash, Awake, Up All Night and Bent.

    The only reason I’d watch Free Agents would be for Kathryn Hahn.

  • Looking forward to Smash, Awake, Up All Night and Bent.

    The only reason I’d watch Free Agents would be for Kathryn Hahn.

  • Claudia

    Awake is already on my watchlist. I just hope enough people stick with it, so that I can enjoy the entire season.
    Grimm has two problems, it looks like a more procedural version of ‘Supernatural’ and ‘Once Upon a Time’ sounds more interesting than the NBC’s fairytale show. 

  • Excited about all the dramas, not so sure about any of the comedies.