NBC Presents New Fall Series ‘Constantine’, ‘State of Affairs’, ‘The Mysteries of Laura’ and ‘Marry Me’ [TCA 2014]

nbc tca summer 2014

NBC took the stage to present its new series for the fall at the Television Critics Association Summer 2014 Press Tour.

Constantine - Season Pilot

Constantine

Based on the DC Comics series “Hellblazer,” NBC’s new series Constantine, follows demon hunter John Constantine (Matt Ryan) who specializes in “giving hell… hell.”

The presentation panel featured series star Matt Ryan, Harold Perrineau, Charles Halford, and executive producers David S. Goyer and Daniel Cerone.

Here are some highlights from the panel:

– They thought about naming the show Hellblazer, but because the character’s name is Constantine and there was a movie about it already, they decided to stick with the name of the character.

– Goyer explained that the thing he always loved about Constantine is that he was a smart ass and he didn’t have any super powers.

– Goyer explained that they were determined to make Constantine British and blonde and have some scruff.

– “He is an angel of questionable intent,” Perrineau shared about his character. Cerone added that the design of his wings reflect that. Perrineau also added that “he’s an angel and was created for a specific purpose,” we’re just not sure what that purpose is yet.

– The show asks the big question of whether Constantine is doing his work to save his soul or to save the people.

– Lucy Griffith who played the main female character, Liv, in the pilot is leaving the series and will be replaced by a new female character. The reason for this change was because Liv was the writer’s own invention and as they started writing for new episodes they felt they had painted themselves in a corner. And so, they decided to go back to the comic book and bring the character of Zed instead.

– It was announced during the panel that Zed had been cast and would be played by Angélica Celaya.

– Cerone explained that Zed is intuitive and can detect bullshit so she’s the best person to call Constantine on his bullshit.

– While the pilot won’t be reshot, it was reedited to make Liv seem less heroic and more scared. When she does leave it is a bit heartbreaking for Constantine. They also explained that Liv leaving is consistent with Contantine continually losing friends.

– Matt Ryan shared that his favorite comic book growing up was Batman.

– Ryan also shared that he has a friend who’s a huge comic book fan, and a comic book writer now, who told him all about Constantine before his audition to prep him.

– Fun fact: Constantine was first introduced in the comic book series Swamp Thing.

Constantine premieres on Friday October 24th at 10pm.

State of Affairs - Season Pilot

State of Affairs

First up is NBC’s new series State of Affairs starring Katherine Heigl as CIA analyst, Charleston Tucker, who’s task is to assemble the President’s Daily Briefing (PDB) which alerts the President (Alfre Woodard) as to what the most vital security issues facing the nation are. In the first episode, we soon find out that Charlie has a close personal relationship with the President because she was engaged to her son before a tragic terrorist attack took his life. And while Charlie survived the attack, she is set on revenge and finding the truth about her fiancé’s murder. But as she starts digging more unexpected details surrounding his murder will come to light.

The presentation panel featured series stars Katherine Heigl, Alfre Woodard, and executive producers Ed Bernero, Joe Carnahan, Bob Simonds, Rodney Faraon, and Nancy Heigl.

Here are some highlights from the panel:

– When asked about the challenges of taking on the part, Katherine Heigl said, “Mostly I just try to make people believe I could actually be a CIA analyst.”

– Heigl also said she was surprised to find out that this is an actual job.

– Carnahan explained that their goal is to outdo cable. Bernero added, “There is nothing that cable does that we can’t do.” To which Heigl replied, “Except show boobs.”

– Faraon, who himself was a CIA analyst, explained that while the show is a work of fiction and some of it is going to be heightened, the spirit of everything they do is authentic.

– Faraon is a consultant on the show as well and makes sure to have lines sound as authentic as possible.

– Heigl had a lot of fun during her preparation because she got to hang out with Faraon a lot and hear some of his stories.

State of Affairs premieres on Monday November 17th at 10pm.

The Mysteries of Laura - Season Pilot

The Mysteries of Laura

Another series on NBC’s lineup this Fall is dramedy The Mysteries of Laura starring Debra Messing as NYPD homicide detective Laura Diamond. In the series, we see Laura trying to balance her day job with her challenging family life which includes two wild twin boys and a soon-to-be ex-husband (Josh Lucas). Things get even more complicated when her husband becomes her boss at the precinct.

The presentation panel for The Mysteries of Laura included series stars Debra Messing, Josh Lucas, Laz Alonso, Janina Gavankar and executive producers McG, Greg Berlanti, Aaron Kaplan, and Jeff Rake.

Here are some highlights from the panel:

The Mysteries of Laura is based on a Spanish series of the same name.

– Rake explained that we will be getting mysteries of the week, but the title also refers to the mysteries of Laura as a character and the mystery of the working mother.

– Messing shared that she is an avid watcher of court TV. She is fascinated by the judicial system and amazed by how extreme human nature can present itself. She added that she watches “everything that has to do with murder.”

– The kids playing Messing’s sons are not actors, they decided to pick non-actor children to make it more authentic and real.

– “In a sense, criminals are like kids,” McG explained when asked why Laura is so good at her job. She applies that thought process to catch them.

– Rake explained that when coming up with mysteries they think about what theme they want to explore simultaneous with the case. Every week, they “would like to have the personal life speak to the mystery and vice versa.”

– Messing explained that the challenge is “finding the funny in the drama and the drama in the funny,” so it stays consistent tone wise.

The Mysteries of Laura premieres on Wednesday September 24th at 8pm.

Marry Me - Season Pilot

Marry Me

NBC’s new comedy series, Marry Me, which follows couple Annie (Casey Wilson) and Jake (Ken Marino), who have been together for six years and ready for the big commitment. But after coming back from a two-week island vacation, Annie lets loose on Jake about his inability to commit, not realizing he was about to propose. And now with the proposal ruined, they need to find a way to get the perfect proposal back on track, but that’s easier said than done.

The presentation panel included series stars Ken Marino, Casey Wilson, Tim Meadows, Sarah Wright, Tymberlee Hill, John Gemberling and executive producers David Caspe and Seth Gordon.

Here are some highlights from the panel:

– The show is loosely based on David Caspe and Casey Wilson’s story.

– When asked about the use of the word “fuck” in the pilot and whether it would have to be bleeped out, Casey Wilson joked, “If you don’t like it, fuck off.”

– Annie’s two father will be a big part of the show.

– They will be doing stories centered on all the supporting characters as well, it will not only be Annie and Jake getting into fights and apologizing all the time.

– “I want people to close their eyes and know the different between Penny and Annie,” Wilson said of her Happy Ending character. She added that she’s working on it at least.

“It was nice to play a guy who’s not necessarily a dick,” Ken Marino explained on what attracted him to the show.

Marry Me premieres on Tuesday October 14th at 9pm.

NBC also presented panels for two of its other comedy series Bad Judge and A To Z, but I unfortunately was not in attendance to cover.

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