NBC has released the first clips for all their new 2011-2012 dramas: Prime Suspect, The Playboy Club, Smash, Grimm, Awake, and The Firm. Based on initial impressions, Awake is the one I am now most looking forward to. The clips promise terrific entertainment for a structure geek like myself, splitting screen time between two realities. The 1960s-set The Playboy Club and modern fairy tale Grimm both have interesting premises, but the clips look too silly out of context. I hold out hope the subject matter makes for a better series. Prime Suspect looks like a kickass role for star Maria Bello — pencil her in for an Emmy nomination.
We’ve embedded one clip from each show below, but there is a link to more videos at the end of each section.
‘PRIME SUSPECT’ — 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 (“A History of Violence”) as tough-as-nails Detective Jane Timoney. Timoney finds that being a homicide detective in New York City is tough enough and having to contend with a male-dominated police department to get respect makes it that much tougher. She’s an outsider who has just transferred to a new precinct dominated by an impenetrable clique of a boys’ club. Timoney has her own vices too — with a questionable past — and she tends to be forceful, rude and reckless. But she’s also a brilliant cop who keeps her eye on one thing: the prime suspect. Also starring are Aidan Quinn (“Unknown”), Brian O’Byrne (“Flash Forward”), Tim Griffin (“Star Trek”), Kirk Acevedo (“Fringe”), Joe Nieves (“How I Met Your Mother”), Damon Gupton (“The Last Airbender”) and Peter Gerety (“Blue Bloods”). “Prime Suspect” is produced by Universal Media Studios, ITV and Film 44. Cunningham is the executive producer/writer along with executive producer/director Berg and executive producers Sarah Aubrey, Julie Meldal-Johnson, Paul Buccieri and Lynda LaPlante.
The Playboy Club
‘THE PLAYBOY CLUB’ — 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. Nick Dalton (Eddie Cibrian, “CSI: Miami”) is one of the city’s top attorneys and the ultimate playboy, rubbing elbows with everyone in the city’s power structure. With mysterious ties to the mob, Nick comes to the aid of Maureen (Amber Heard, “Zombieland”), the stunning and innocent new bunny who accidentally kills the leader of the Bianchi crime family. Dating Nick is Carol-Lynne (Laura Benanti, “Take the Lead”), a bombshell and established star at the club who knows her days as a bunny are numbered and finds herself continually at odds with Billy (David Krumholtz, ”Numb3rs”), the club’s general manager. Adding to the charm of the Playboy club is Janie (Jenna Dewan Tatum, “American Virgin”), the carefree life of the party who is dating Max (Wes Ramsey, “CSI: Miami”), an overly protective bartender. Also starring are Naturi Naughton (“Fame”) and Leah Renee (“True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet”). In addition to Grazer (“A Beautiful Mind,” “American Gangster”), the executive producers on “The Playboy Club” include Chad Hodge (“Tru Calling”), Francie Calfo (“Scoundrels”), Jason Burns (“The House Bunny”) and Dick Rosenzweig (“Kendra”). Hodge also wrote the pilot, which was directed by Alan Taylor (“Mad Men,” “The Sopranos”). The series is produced by 20th Century Fox Television and Imagine Television.
‘SMASH’ — “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 (Tony Award nominee Christian Borle, “Legally Blonde: The Musical”) and Julia (Emmy Award winner 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 (Oscar winner, 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. The series stemmed from an idea of executive producer and multiple Emmy and Oscar winner Steven Spielberg (“ER,” “Schindler’s List”). The pilot was written by acclaimed playwright/screenwriter Theresa Rebeck (“Mauritius,” “NYPD Blue”). Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (Oscar-winning “Chicago,” “Hairspray”) and Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey (“United States of Tara,” “The Borgias”) will also serve as executive producers. Original songs are written by Tony and Grammy Award winners Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (“Hairspray,” “Catch Me If You Can”), who also serve as executive producers. “Smash” is a production of Universal Media Studios in association with DreamWorks. The pilot was directed by Tony Award winner Michael Mayer (“Spring Awakening,” “American Idiot”)
‘GRIMM’ — “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. As Nick digs deeper into her past, he realizes that he will have to shoulder the responsibility of his ancestors — and contend with a larger-than-life mythology of the Brothers Grimm that is now all too real. Russell Hornsby (“Lincoln Heights”), Bitsie Tulloch (“Quarterlife”), Silas Weir Mitchell (“Prison Break”), Reggie Lee (“Persons Unknown”) and Sasha Roiz (“Caprica”) also star. “Grimm” is a production of Universal Media Studios and Hazy Mills Productions. Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner (“Hot in Cleveland”) serve as executive producers, Jim Kouf (“National Treasure,” “Angel”) and David Greenwalt (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel”) are the creators/executive producers and Marc Buckland (“My Name Is Earl”) is the director.
‘AWAKE’ — “Awake” is an intriguing drama about a detective (Jason Issacs, “Harry Potter,” “Brotherhood”) 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 ’70s Show”). Also starring are Emmy Award winner Cherry Jones (“24”) and BD Wong (NBC’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”) as therapists in each respective world. The series is produced by 20th Century Fox Television. Kyle Killen (“Lone Star”) and Howard Gordon (“24”) are executive producers. David Slade (“Twilight: Eclipse,” “30 Days of Night”) also serves as executive producer and directed the pilot written by Killen.
‘THE FIRM’ — 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. After a difficult decade, which included a stay in the Federal Witness Protection program, Mitch and his family now emerge from isolation to reclaim their lives and their future — only to find that past dangers are still lurking and new threats are everywhere. “The Firm” is produced by Entertainment One in association with Sony Pictures Television and Paramount Pictures. The executive producers are Grisham, Lukas Reiter (“Law & Order,” “Boston Legal”), John Morayniss (“Haven,” “Hung”), Michael Rosenberg (“Hung,” “Skins”) and Noreen Halpern (“Rookie Blue,” “Hung”).