NBC Presents ‘Allegiance,’ ‘Odyssey,’ ‘The Night Shift,’ ‘Parks and Recreations’ and More [TCA 2015]

nbc tca winter 2015

NBC Universal returned for its second day at the Televisions Critics Association (TCA) Winter 2015 Press Tour to present new and returning shows on NBC.

Allegiance
 

Allegiance - Season1

NBC’s new series Allegiance follows Alex (Gavin Stenhouse), a young idealistic CIA analyst specializing in Russian affairs whose parents and sister, unbeknownst to him, are part of a dormant Russian sleeper cell that has just been reactivated.

Here are some highlights from the panel:

– Hope Davis is currently learning to speak Russian for her role. She even spoke a little bit of it on the panel.

– Executive producer George Nolfi asked people who compare the show to FX’s The Americans to give it a few episodes because they will realize that they are going in a different direction. Gavin Stenhouse aded that a lot of shows start off with similar premises (for example True Detective, The Killing, Broadchurch) but then are completely different shows.

– This is probably the most authentic portrayal of how the intelligence community operates, Nolfi explained.

– Stenhouse shared that his character’s fast speech was probably one of the most grueling part of acting in this series.

– Davis recounted that she had coffee Stenhouse before they started shooting and he showed up with a bunch of books, a notebook and tons of ideas about what to read or study for the part.

Allegiance premieres on Thursday, February 5th at 10pm.

Odyssey
 

NBC’s new series, Odyssey follows three strangers, a female Special Forces soldier, a disillusioned corporate lawyer and a political activist, involved in an international conspiracy and linked by only one thing… the truth.

Here are some highlights from the panel:

– Executive producer Peter Horton said of series star Anna Friel that they knew she was a great actress but they didn’t know how committed she would be to the show.

– “It’s a show about power,” Horton said.

– Peter Facinelli, who shoots most of his scenes in a cold New York city, joked that he gets no sympathy from co-star Anna Friel because her shooting conditions a much harder than his. Friel has been shooting in Morocco and her character is injured and tied up quite a bit.

– “There is something fundamental beyond politics and that’s what this show is about.” -Executive producer Adam Armus

– The show shoots three episode at a time in New York, then goes to Morocco to shoot another 3 episodes there.

– It was hard for them to find the boy to play a character Anna Friel’s Sgt. Odette Ballard spends time with. They got lots of audition tapes from all over. But in the end the boy they ended up casting, they found half a block from the production office in Morocco and he had never acted before.

– “The fuel of this show is tension, not action,” Horton said.

– Friel said it’s hard to be away from her daughter but it also helps her relate to her character being away from her daughter.

Odyssey premieres on Sunday, April 15th at 10pm.

One Big Happy
 

NBC’s new sitcom, One Big Happy, stars Elisha Cuthbert and Nick Zano as best friends who decide to start a family together in a non-traditional way. Lizzy (Cuthbert), who is a lesbian, wants to raise a child with Luke by her side. However, before he finds out that she is pregnant, Luke (Zano) falls in love with Prudence (Kelly Brook) and gets married with her pretty impulsively. Now they have to figure out how to deal with each other and become an even more non-traditional family.

Here are some highlights from the panel:

– “It’s not like a formed a production company and said bring me all your lesbian scripts.” -Ellen DeGeneres on the fact that One Big Happy just happens to have a lesbian character.

– Elisha Cuthbert stood up and did an impression of Ellen which she had done in her previous series Happy Endings.

– We will not see the baby at the end of season 1.

– Cuthbert shared that being on Happy Endings gave her the confidence in herself that she could do comedy.

– The show is about friendship and family, and it’s funny, Ellen DeGeneres shared. She also wants multi-camera

– “No, it’s like playing a human being,” Cuthbert said on whether it was challenging for her to take on the role.

– Kelly Brook’s character Prudence was always meant to be British because executive producer Liz Feldman loves British people.

One Big Happy premieres Tuesday, March 17th at 9:3pm.

A.D.
 

NBC’s A.D. takes place right after History Channel’s miniseries The Bible ended and explores the events that followed the Crucifixion of Christ.

Here are some highlights from the panel:

– When asked about the diversity of the cast, executive producer Mark Burnett explained that they wanted to have the story reflective of the world today and how America looks. He added that it also came down to the best actors for the roles. Executive producer Roma Downey added that they want people to be able to turn on the television and see themselves there.

– They will be in production until the end of March.

– The first episode of A.D. revolves around the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus.

– The miniseries will feature 12 one hour episodes running continuously on Easter Sunday.

A.D. premieres on April 5th at 9pm.

The Night Shift
 

The Night Shift returns for its second season with more emergency room drama following the men and women that make up the night shift team. The new season finds the crew still recovering from a shocking hostage situation that left one of their colleagues dead.

Here are some highlights from the panel:

– There will be a mining fracking episode this season.

– There will be more Spanish speaking in the show, executive producer Jeff Judah shared. He added that they told the actors to start learning Spanish because their characters would be speaking it to quite a few of their patients since there are is a large Spanish speaking community in San Antonio, where the series takes place.

– This season we get to see what made T.C. and Jordan fall in love with each other.

– “We were big fans of ER.” -Executive producer Gabe Sachs said when asked about the similarities of the show with The Night Shift. However, Judah and Sachs explained that they differentiate themselves through their tone, citing Pulp Fiction‘s shift from comedy to drama as an inspiration.

– Eoin Macken explained that they want to make sure they show that T.C.is constantly struggling with what he went through and is not suddenly getting over it. Judah added, “it’s a longtime journey.”

– The character of Landry played by Daniella Alonso is leaving this season.

The Night Shift returns for its second season on Monday, February 23rd at 10pm.

Parks and Recreation
 

Parks and Recreation season 6 episode 20 One in 8,000 (4)

Parks and Recreation is back for its final season.

Here are some highlights from the panel:

– Mike Schur likes the fact that even though Parks and Recreation is ending, it will continue to live on in digital format on people’s computer and the likes.

– Jim O’Heir said that he was always in for anything they wanted to put Jerry through. He shared that sometimes the cast was more protective of Jerry than he was.

– Schur shared that they didn’t think about the end until after they did the time jump.

– “Cones of Dunshire is very important to me. I’m not even joking,” Mike Schur said when asked about the Kickstarter for the game. He also added that he was going to donate to it.

– “We spent so much time on the Cones of Dunshire,” Adam Scott said.

– Jim O’Heir originally auditioned for Ron Swanson.

– They always try to create episodes that can stand on their own so that someone who hasn’t seen it before could enjoy it, but it becomes hard after so many episodes.

– When asked why most of the original cast stayed intact, despite possibly getting other opportunities, Retta said “Why would you want to leave Parks?” Christ Pratt added “That would never happen. I would never f*&%ing leave the show.” He went on to share that he realized the things that really matter is the relationships you have while you’re doing the work. He doesn’t expect he’ll ever get to work with people like that again, although he hopes he does. He concluded by saying, “This show spoke to me and was so perfect to me.”

– Deciding to end the show with a shorter season was mostly a gut feeling, Schur shared.

Parks and Recreation airs on Tuesdays at 8pm.

The Slap
 

NBC’s miniseries The Slap is based on the book by Christos Tsiolkas and Australian television series (“The Slap”), in which a child at a birthday party gets slapped by someone unrelated to him, which ignites a chain of events that will uncover long-buried secrets within this group of friends and family.

Here are some highlights from the panel:

– The sequence of the slap was very well choreographed and rehearsed with the safety of the children their highest priority.

– The series is closed ended. Each episode features a different character’s perspective.

– “There is no excuse for this not to deliver,” Melissa George said about how well written the series is and the fact that they get a network audience.

– Melissa George who plays the same character in the original version said that it felt very different for her stepping back into the character with a new cast. Her voice also feels different because in this one she has an American accent.

– There will be a lot of discussion around whether or not the kid deserved the slap, but the slap is just the incident that sort of liberates all of the characters’ issues and brings them to light.

– “I enjoy acting, I try to do it as often as possible,” Peter Sarsgaard said about picking material and not looking at the medium it’s on.

The Slap premieres on Thursday, February 12th at 8pm.

Chicago Fire / Chicago P.D.
 

Chicago Fire - Season 3

NBC will feature a new Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. crossover as the team goes on the hunt for the arsonist who killed Shay.

Chicago Fire returns on Tuesday, February 3 at 10pm with the crossover episode. Chicago P.D. airs on Wednesdays at 10pm.