Tina Fey originally planned to continue working with NBC following the end of 30 Rock – the award-winning TV sitcom satire/comedy series both created and headlined by Fey – with another comedy TV show, titled Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, beginning in Spring 2015. However, one thing led to another, and Fey’s latest TV series ended up finding a new home at Netflix, which has already ordered two 13-episode seasons of the program.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt stars Ellie Kemper (The Office, Bridesmaids) as the eponymous character: a woman who has spent fifteen years living in an underground bunker as part of a doomsday cult, before she is rescued and learns the world is still here after all. Kimmy, armed with an unwavering spirit, then sets out to begin a new life, making her way in the not-always-friendly landscape of modern New York City.
A trailer has dropped for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (watch it above), and it introduces a handful of the series’ main characters. Besides Kemper as Kimmy, that includes real-life Broadway musical theater star Tituss Burgess as Titus: Kimmy’s new roommate and a gay singer who spends his days working as a robot in Times Square. We also get our first look here at Ally McBeal and 30 Rock alum Jane Krakowski’s character, Jacqueline Voorhees, a wealthy Manhattanite who ends up hiring Kimmy to work as a nanny.
Fey co-developed the first season for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt alongside her fellow 30 Rock writer/producer, Robert Carlock. This new comedy series, judging by the trailer footage, looks to effectively strike a similar comedic tone and style, including taking familiar but still entertaining potshots at such targets as upper-class elitism, sexism, and so forth.
Kemper comes off as delightfully bright-eyed and charmingly naive playing Kimmy, and it’s nice to see her taking the lead after years of doing strong supporting work on the small screen – while having also made memorable appearances in film comedies ranging from 21 Jump Street to Sex Tape. There’s always the question of whether or not a great side bit player can still excel in the spotlight, but Kemper (if nothing else) seems to be making a valiant effort to succeed with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, in that respect.
Netflix is a different playground that network TV, so it’ll be interesting to see how that affects Fey’s writing here versus her work on 30 Rock. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, at the least, should continue to expand the range and variety of Netflix’s original programming slate, by offering a distinctly different sort of comedy entertainment than something like Orange is the New Black does.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt premieres on Netflix on March 6th, 2015.