'Chicago Fire' to 'Hannibal': A grand unified theory of NBC's new shows for 2012-13

nbc-fall-2012-connections.jpgSo we're in the swing upfronts week, and after the blizzard of news Monday (May 14), we settle in to watch the trailers for NBC's very large slate of new series. And somewhere between "Chicago Fire" and "The New Normal," a pattern starts to emerge.

Yes, all these shows are on the same network, but could there be something more? We dig deeper. Suddenly we're like the little boy on "Touch" (which, OK, is on FOX, but go with us here for a minute), seeing patterns where most people just see randomness. Surely it's a sign of something -- perhaps nothing more than having been up since 5 a.m., but maybe ... there's more. Consider:

"Chicago Fire" introduces us to characters who are dealing with the loss of one of their own a month earlier. So does ...

"Go On," in which we learn Matthew Perry's character lost his wife a month ago. Perry plays the host of a radio show, just like ...

Dane Cook in "Next Caller," which will attempt to mine its humor from questions about what it means to be a guy today. So will ...

"Guys With Kids," about three men trying to reconcile their roles as fathers with their desire to have some dude time. At its heart, though, it's a family comedy, and so is ...

"The New Normal," about a gay couple ( Justin Bartha and Andrew Rannells) who hire a surrogate ( Georgia King) to carry a child for them. Rannells is one of the stars of "The Book of Mormon" on Broadway, along with ...

Josh Gad of "1600 Penn," who plays the screw-up son of Bill Pullman's president of the United States. Pullman also played the president in "Independence Day," which focused on the aftermath of a global apocalypse. So does ...

"Revolution," which is set 15 years after all forms of electricity cease to work and people struggle to survive in a society thrown back to pre-Industrial Revolution technology. One of its stars is Andrea Roth, a long-time member of the "Rescue Me" cast, just like ...

"Do No Harm" lead Steven Pasquale. His character is a doctor, and so is ...

Justin Kirk's "Animal Practice" veterinarian. Kirk is moving to NBC after starring in a cable series ("Weeds"), a la ...

"Save Me" star Anne Heche, whose last series work was on HBO's "Hung." Long before that, Heche did a guest arc on "Ally McBeal," as did ...

"Infamous" star Tate Donovan, who in his new show plays the scion of a very wealthy New York family. And you know who else is really infamous?

"Hannibal," as in Lecter, the subject of NBC's straight-to-series pickup that will star Hugh Dancy as FBI profiler Will Graham. Dancy will presumably be doing an American accent, just like ...

"Chicago Fire's" Jesse Spencer. Boom. Full circle. That's got to mean something ... right?

Photo/Video credit: NBC