Summer 2015: Quick Takes From NBC Summer Press Day


Introduced by Howie Mandel with mimosas and champagne, the AMERICA’S GOT TALENT sizzle reel was powerful enough to bring tears to one’s eyes. It is truly inspiring watching average, yet incredibly talented, people pushing to achieve their dreams.  With the show entering its 10th season, America is enthralled with seeing how talented average folks really are out there.  As a special treat, magician Mat Franco appeared to demonstrate some of his amazing magic tricks, which he explained in detail and yet, in the end, it was even more mind-boggling than thought before.  Nicely done!  AMERICA’S GOT TALENT returns on May 26th at 8:00 p.m. on NBC.


Returning for its ninth season, LAST MAN STANDING hopes to keep the fun element alive on the show.  Keenan Ivory Wayans clarified that for LAST MAN STANDING it is not their job to be funny, but rather that it’s their job to have fun on the show.  He also noted that a person needs to be innately funny to be a comedian, as you can learn how to work a mic and talk to a crowd, but not how to be funny. When asked about whether there is a place for comedian humor on Twitter or other social media, executive producer Wanda Sykes humorously noted that after a few drinks that she even blocks herself from Twitter.  Drunk or inebriated tweeting is dangerous, even for comedians as humor is hard to distinguish in 140 characters or less on Twitter.  Keenan Ivory Wayans added it is an interesting time where anyone in the world can jump into the conversation on Twitter, even if they are not familiar with a comic’s work.  He also wryly noted that people can heckle from around the globe on Twitter and that it is perhaps a forum built for idiots.  LAST COMIC STANDING returns for Season 9 on July 22 at 9:00 pm on NBC.


The 12 episode event series A.D. THE BIBLE CONTINUES picks up where last year’s mini-series THE BIBLE left off.  It explores the events that transpired after the crucifixion of Jesus’ death and resurrection, starring Juan Pablo Di Pace (DALLAS) as Jesus, Richard Coyle (COVERT AFFAIRS) as Caiaphas, and Vincent Regan (THE ROYALS) as Pontius Pilate.  The series looks to be a gripping and gritty account of the tribulations and events that followed. Smartly debuting on Easter Sunday, A.D. THE BIBLE CONTINUES premieres April 5th at 9:00 p.m. on NBC. (with subsequent episodes airing Sunday nights after that).


The new comedy show MR. ROBINSON stars Craig Robinson, which offers a fictional comedic take on some of his real life  experiences as a teacher and former member of a band.  The show appears to be a fresh take on the movie SCHOOL OF ROCK, but Craig said he actually has not seen that movie and thinks its great that he is living a life like right out of a movie.  As a special treat, Craig Robinson introduced his new cast members onto stage with a rousing song and he actually has a great singing voice.  Here’s to hoping that MR. ROBINSON allows him more chances to sing. The show also co-stars Peri Gilpin (FRASIER), Megan Good (DECEPTION) and Spencer Grammer.  (Fun note:  Peri Gilpin worked with MR. ROBINSON co-star Spencer Grammer’s father Kelsey Grammer on FRASIER.)  MR. ROBINSON premieres August 5th at 9:00 p.m. on NBC.


If you are into the 1960s, AQUARIUS shall intrigue as it addresses issues of the time, including politics, crime and more than just mass-murderer Charles Manson. EP John McNamara said that the show is about political and social change as much about that as it is about Charles Manson. He was not interested in just showing someone who is a monster; he wants to show why they became a monster.  David Duchovny described it as:  “Charlie Manson is turning into something over here while we’re looking away a little too much.” He then cheekily added, “I did THE X-FILES. Nothing creeps me out… I should say I did CALIFORNICATION, nothing creeps me out.” Duchovny thinks that as a country that perhaps we keep coming back to 60’s as era we can figure something out from and Manson is symbolic of that.  Fittingly, co-star Gethin Anthony who played Renly in GAME OF THRONES portrays Charles Manson.  When a question was directed to co-star Claire Holt about returning to THE VAMPIRE DIARIES, Impish David Duchovny teased said he’d be up for a VAMPIRE DIARIES/AQUARIUS crossover. (Never going to happen, but love his sense of humor!)  Claire Holt described her character Charmaine is a police officer which she described as “independent, driven, dynamic — but living in man’s world.” Also worth noting is Emma Dumont rocks her role in AQUARIES, but this is not the sweet Melanie fans may remember from BUNHEADS. Final thought:  NBC’s AQUARIUS looks intense and aptly described by Duchovny’s observation: “gotta love a generation that plays rough.”  As the show’s tagline promises: murder, madness, Manson — indeed! AQUARIUS premieres Thursday, May 28th at 9:00 pm on NBC.

Mr. ROBOT (USA Network)

Christian Slater’s finest work is when he plays morally ambiguous characters where you’re never sure if should be rooting for him and in MR. ROBOT he plays a quasi-evil hacker who recruits a young cyber-security expert Elliott to join an underground elite hacker organization. But the question will be: who is using who?  Creator/executive producer Sam Esmail described Rami Malek’s character Elliott as having a youthful angst and revolutionary spirit, which is the calls the heart of the show. Sam Esmail knows a lot of socially awkward, brilliant hackers and really wanted to show hackers as channeling their anger into something positive and he really wanted to write about them and their world.  Adding to the tug-of-war between Rami Malek’s Elliot and Christian Slater’s Mr. Robot, is Portia Doubleday’s character, who represents what the machine is like and her struggle is in compromising moral integrity in order to excel in corporate. (Also SUBURGATORY fans, Carly Chaikin is back in USA Network’s MR. ROBOT. Dalia may be gone, but she’s never forgotten!)  MR. ROBOT premieres June 2015 on USA Network.


Syfy’s new drama series KILLJOYS is described as space-traveling bounty hunters. So imagine FIREFLY meets BLADE RUNNER — and though while set in space, Syfy’s KILLJOYS does not have aliens, just lots of space travel. KILLJOYS stars Aaron Ashmore (WAREHOUSE 13, SMALLVILLE) and Luke MacFarlane (BROTHERS & SISTERS, THE NIGHT SHIFT), whose characters play brothers, but Luke’s character joined ranks late and now outranks Aaron’s character, which adds some natural tension.  Also noteworthy is that KILLJOYS will not offer the classic TV love triangle and instead the characters have a relationship akin to a dysfunctional family.  KILLJOYS is hoping to offer some good ole classic cowboy fun in space, but without the cows and horses.  (Observation:  KILLJOYS looks great from previews. So here is to hoping the show lives up to our high expectations!)  KILLJOYS premieres Friday, June 19th on Syfy.

CLANGERS (Sprout Network)

Thought to be the crown jewel of British animation, Sprout Network hope that CLANGERS will enthrall American children as well.  CLANGERS is narrated by William Shatner (STAR WARS, BOSTON LEGAL) and employs stop motion animation style.  In fact, six knitters work each day on the characters and only six seconds of animation are filmed per day. Imagine!  The loving care employed in making this show is astounding.  Fundamentally, CLANGERS is a show about family, kindness and empathy.  William Shatner enjoys the gentle messages behind the show and how the show doesn’t talk down to children and how it heightens awareness in its viewers.  He is very proud to be working on the show.  CLANGERS premieres in June on Sprout Network.

That’s it for our quick takes from today’s NBC Summer 2015 Press Day.  Mark your calendars for all these shows coming this summer!