NBC’s bloody brilliant “Hannibal” may not reverse the network’s tragic ratings tailspin all by itself. But it’s already a huge improvement over the last show to inhabit the Thursday night 9 p.m. timeslot. Given that show, “Do No Harm,” only lasted three episodes, though, that’s not saying a lot. Still “Hannibal” is one of the best new shows of the midseason, and one of the few to challenge ratings-hog rival CBS at its own game.
NBC’s midseason replacement sitcom starts off with a stereotypical setup. Seems that chubby loser Skip (Josh Gad from Broadway’s The Book of Mormon) has been kicked out of college after seven unproductive years and is now forced to move back in with his parents. The twist in this tale is contained in the titular address. Yup, Skip’s parents are the president and the first lady of the United States.
Maybe it’s the approaching end of the Mayan calendar. Perhaps it’s Chuck Norris’ talk about President Obama’s re-election ushering in “a thousand years of darkness.” Whatever the reason, human beings have got the apocalypse on their minds again. Never one to miss a trend, NBC jumps on the doom-and-gloom bandwagon with its new end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it series, “Revolution.”
TV writer/producer/director Ryan Murphy has had a solid run of it. He went from “Popular” to “Nip/Tuck” to “Glee” to “American Horror Story.” Now, he’s trying his hand at sitcoms with “The New Normal.” Murphy’s never shied away from humor, but he’s always had the hour-long format to play in. That’s allowed him plenty of room in which to shoehorn his trademark social criticism. “Glee,” for example, has about a 1:1 song-to-sanctimonious-speech ratio. Clocking in at a network-standard 22 minutes, “The New Normal” doesn’t leave a ton of room for the funny. But Ryan’s working on it.