Judging the Upfronts By Their Cover: NBC

This year, for the first time in a while, NBC finds itself in a good place. The 2013-2014 season was a great for the network and it finds itself now, unexpectedly, the number one network for viewers under 50. In the fall, many of this year’s new shows will be returning. It’s also got some buzzy new shows planned for the fall. To save you some time, Celebuzz has judged which shows you should give a shot, completely site unseen.

State of Affairs
What’s it about?: Charlie Tucker is a top CIA analyst tasked with the daily duty of assembling a daily briefing for the President of the top security threats around the world. Her relationship with the President is complicated, since she used to be engaged to her son, who was killed in a terrorist attack. If you close one eye and squint, you can see Olivia Pope.

Who’s involved?: Well there’s Katherine Heigl, making her return to network television as Charlie. And there’s Alfre Woodard, who plays the President. It’s created and directed by Joe Carnahan, who worked on last season’s runaway hit, The Blacklist.

When will it air?: Monday at 10:00 EST

The Verdict: It’s hard not to see this as NBC’s play at Scandalmania; is there love enough in your heart for two Olivia Popes? It’s also hard to predict how audiences are going to feel about Heigl, who was beloved on Grey’s Anatomy and then rejected swiftly when she made a play for movie stardom. But NBC is betting big on this show, giving it the post-Voice timeslot and already giving it a full season order. The marketing for this show is going to be everywhere come fall, so why not give it a shot. It’s not like you’ve got a lot else going on on Monday nights (Scandal isn’t on until Thursday anyway).

Marry Me
What’s it about?: Annie and Jake have been dating for six years. So Annie is a little frustrated that Jake didn’t propose while the two were on vacation together. Unfortunately, he’d planned to propose right when they got home and she accidentally calls his mom a bitch. Hijinks ensue.

Who’s involved?: The show stars Casey Wilson and Ken Marino as the unlucky couple. It’s created by David Caspe, who also created Happy Endings, which also starred Wilson.

When will it air?: Tuesday at 9:00 EST

The Verdict: Watch this. This will be funny. Just watch it.

The Mysteries of Laura
What’s it about?: Laura is a homicide detective and a single mom. Also her soon-to-be ex-husband is maybe her new boss? Can she balance it all?

Who’s involved?: Well since you have presumably have eyes, you know that’s Debra Messing. And Josh Lucas plays Laura’s ex. The show is executive produced by Greg Berlanti, sort of the king of the CW, and McG (The O.C.).

When will it air?: Wednesday at 8:00 EST

The Verdict: I don’t know, am I wrong to want this to work so badly? I’m not sure if it’s old longings for Will and Grace or Smash, but I want this show to work so badly. Let’s all give it a shot. Let Debra’s love open the door to your heart.

Bad Judge
What’s it about?: It’s a pretty straightforward name: the show’s about a bad judge. Basically, Rebecca is kind of a mess. But then she meets a little black boy she likes. Hijinks (and lessons) ensue.

Who’s involved?: Kate Walsh is Rebecca, and playing slightly messy women seems to be kind of her thing. Anne Heche is the show’s creator and has a writing credit as well.

When will it air?: Thursday at 9:00 EST

The Verdict: It’s a cute concept, but something’s not really clicking for me here. I say give it a shot when it airs, but don’t get too excited.

A to Z
What’s it about?: This show is the complete history of one couple, Andrew and Zelda, starting from the day they met.

Who’s involved?: The couple is played by Cristin Milioti and Ben Feldman. It seems like Cristin has really carved out a niche for herself. Rashida Jones and Will McCormack are producing.

When will it air?: Thursday at 9:30 EST

The Verdict: Didn’t we just finally find out How I Met Your Mother?

What’s it about?: Constantine is based on the DC Comic Hellblazer, perhaps you remember the 2005 Keanu Reeves film?

Who’s involved?: Matt Ryan is playing the supernatural exorcist and Lucy Griffiths (True Blood) plays his sidekick of sorts. Also Harold Perrineau (Zero Dark Thirty) plays a role of some sort.

When will it air?: Friday at 10:00 EST

The Verdict: I’d say this looks like a pretty good compliment piece to Grimm, which has been doing very well for NBC on Friday nights. I’d guess that you already know whether or not a show based on a DC Comic is for you.

Here is the complete fall schedule:

8:00-10:00 PM THE VOICE

8:00-9:00 PM THE VOICE
9:00-9:30 PM MARRY ME
9:30-10:00 PM ABOUT A BOY
10:00-11:00 PM CHICAGO FIRE

9:00-10:00 PM LAW & ORDER: SVU
10:00-11:00 PM CHICAGO P.D.

9:00-9:30 PM BAD JUDGE
9:30-10:00 PM A TO Z
10:00-11:00 PM PARENTHOOD

9:00-10:00 PM GRIMM
10:00-11:00 PM CONSTANTINE

8:00-11:00 PM RERUNS