I love pilot season. The system itself is so flawed, but there’s all the excitement of new TV as various series’ get picked up, only to have some of them cancelled after a few episodes. While you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, that’s what I’m doing right now: judging my excitement for each new show and my likelihood to watch it (though I plan on giving every pilot a shot for this blog).
Based off the descriptions at The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline
ABC – Comedy
Back in the Game: A recently divorced single mother temporarily moves in with her estranged father, a beer-swilling former baseball player. She reluctantly starts coaching her son’s underdog Little League team and is drawn back into the world of sports she vowed to leave behind.
Thoughts: Nothing about this screams at me. The main actress hails from Psych, which I like but don’t love. I’m not a big sports person, so that doesn’t scream out at me. However, while I know next to nothing about football, I adore The League, which survives pretty much just on comedy alone. If this show is extremely funny, I’ll like it, and if it focuses less on sports and more on the family aspect I’d like it more. So if this focuses less on sports and more on the family relationships I might be able to get behind that. But really, single parenthood and estranged parents; is there something in this that I can’t get from rewatching Gilmore Girls?
Ehh. Lots of child actors and some awkwardness. This trailer is about 2:45 long and I didn’t so much as chuckle once. There were maybe three jokes in there, and one of them was about the perceived femininity of one of the kids on the baseball team. The whole underdog aspect of the team seems like it will be really played up, to the point where I can see the basic arc of the series already. Again, what about this haven’t we seen before in pretty much any sports movie?
Likelihood to watch:NOT LIKELY. I’m not that interested in sports, and this doesn’t sound like my type of show. Unless it’s REALLY hilarious (which, from the trailer, I kind of doubt), I doubt I’ll get much out of it. Since sports really aren’t my thing, something about this will really have to jump out at me.
The Goldbergs: Family comedy set in the ’80s that centers on an in-your-face mother and hot-tempered father who love their three eccentric kids so much, they can’t bear to see them grow up; inspired by Goldberg’s experience growing up in the ’80s with a highly screwed up but loving family
Thoughts: What is there to say? Dysfunctional/eccentric families aren’t new to TV comedy, nor will the ever be. Occasionally some of the shows with that as the main driving force are great; I love Arrested Development as much as anyone. However, it’s hard to tell how interesting a show will be until it airs. The 80s could be an interesting setting, though hopefully they won’t try and hit the audience over the head with 80s nostalgia. Ultimately, though, the “in-your-face mother and hot-tempered father” feels quite stereotypical.
I can see this being pretty funny; the mother already gives me a bit of a Lucille from Arrested Development vibe in how overbearing she is, which is good. I got a couple of chuckles in there, though some of the humor fell a bit flat with me. There seems to be a lot of 80s references, and it already feels like it could be bordering on excessive. But there’s some humor in there.
Likelihood to watch: 50/50. Screwed up but loving family is kind of old news at this point, and it’s all a matter of execution. I don’t see anyone attached to this project that I have any particular strong feelings about. The setting could be fun, the description is vaguely interesting, but everything feels like it’s been done before.
Mixology: A high-concept single-camera comedy from the writers behind The Hangover set in the world of a sexy Manhattan bar chronicling the exploits of singles in search of love — all over the course of one night.
Thoughts: This is a pretty intriguing idea. Whereas the other two I’ve listed so far are pretty standard comedy setups, this is way more high concept than almost any comedy setup I’ve seen. The concept immediately leads to a good deal of questions: How will one night over a season look like? Will it drag out too long, or will it feel right? How will this work if the series gets picked up for another season? I’m a bit more interested than excited about this one, really. Of the people behind it, I enjoyed The Hangover just fine, and I really like Sarah Bolger on Once Upon a Time (and I’d hoped she would get a bigger role for season 3…).
Ehh. Not much I found funny in here. I liked the idea, but no laughs were to be had. All the jokes seemed to center around antiquated gender roles; lines about the height of the heel equaling how much a woman would put out just repulse me, and, equally troubling, were assertions of “be a man!” to the male protagonist. There’s a decent amount of vomit references, as well; I get that this is set at a bar, but I assumed that the hangovers would happen next season. I actually thought The Hangover was pretty decent, despite having similar humor, but this is not funny so far. Pretty disappointed really. (Sarah Bolger please come back to season 3 of Once Upon a Time; Aurora is great!)
Likelihood to watch: 50/50. Even if this isn’t executed well, it sounds like an interesting show and one I want to check out. If it ends up being a train wreck, it’ll be an interesting train wreck. Disappointed by the humor I saw in the trailer, but I might still be compelled to see just how this set up works. Really, the worst thing this show could do is be boring or predictable.
Super Fun Night : Follows three nerdy female friends: Kimmie (Rebel Wilson), Helen-Alice (Lisa Lapira) and Marika (Lauren Ash) on their “funcomfortable” quest to have “super fun” every Friday night; originally done as a multi-camera pilot at CBS last year.
Thoughts: This is the other show being talked about a lot (other than Mixology), and I’m pretty interested as well. Even though I haven’t seen Pitch Perfect or much of anything featuring Rebel Wilson, something about her (maybe her attitude?) just makes me like her. I really hope that the whole “nerdy” aspect isn’t played up for laughs, a la Big Bang Theory, especially since the three lead characters are women. I’m pretty much out if they start joking about women not being nerdy and bad jokes like that. But, on the other hand, if they don’t do any of that this does have potential to be really funny, and I really love that there’ve been more and more female comedians lately.
This is the most viewed ABC Trailer so far, beating out Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, two shows with pre-existing fanbases. So already the viewership for Super Fun Night should be pretty decent. The trailer focuses a lot on Rebel Wilson, which isn’t surprising, but she already seems pretty likeable, as do her two friends. Considering Rebel Wilson’s writing, as well, I hope that there’s minimal fat jokes involved. But really, it doesn’t seem like it will, which is refreshing. It would also be refreshing to see a larger female character be considered sexually desirable, so I hope that pans out as well. Still, looks like this could be funny, and I’d definitely be happy with a protagonist like Rebel Wilson!
Likelihood to watch: PRETTY LIKELY. It definitely has a lot of stuff going for it, and as long as they don’t fall back on cliches and old jokes, this could be a pretty good show.
Trophy Wife: A reformed party girl named Kate (Malin Akerman) finds herself with an instant family when she falls in love with a man named Brad (Bradley Whitford) who has three manipulative children and two judgmental ex-wives.
Thoughts: A modern-day Brady Bunch of sorts? There are a lot of big names in here, but nobody I’m necessarily going to watch the show for. Actually, the one thing that really grabs my attention is that one of the writers and executive producers on the show is comedian Sarah Haskins, who did the hilarious Target Women segment on the Current show Infomania. Haskins was absolutely hilarious, and if she can bring that humor to this project then I can see it being a sleeper hit.
Looked pretty funny; not sure how long it’ll last, but I can definitely see myself watching this while it lasts! This concept could have been done so poorly, but the lead seems likeable, as do the other characters. Hopefully this will be marketed well.
Likelihood to watch: PRETTY LIKELY. Sarah Haskins being onboard erases a lot of my worries about how gender roles will be represented. If everyone else involved can follow her lead, I bet I’ll enjoy this show a lot. The trailer seems pretty good, as well, so I have hopes for this show.
Overall: ABC’s in a bit of a tough situation for comedy; sure they have Modern Family, but not much else (The Middle does fairly well, but doesn’t seem to be very noteworthy), and that can’t last forever. Can any of these fill the gap and be a long-lasting comedy? Personally, all I can think of that has the possibility of lasting a long time is Super Fun Night. Mixology has gotten a decent amount of attention because of its premise, but I have a hard time seeing how this will be a lasting show beyond the one season. The Goldbergs could potentially last, as could Trophy Wife (I can hope), but the only thing I can really see being a major long-term hit (at least right off the bat) is Super Fun Night. However, I can see ABC keeping more than one show longer, if they want to build up their comedy lineups.
ABC – Drama
Betrayal: A beautiful but unhappily married female photographer begins a torrid affair with a lawyer for a powerful family. When he turns out to be defending a murder suspect who is being prosecuted by her husband, the relationship and the case begin a spiraling series of betrayals with cataclysmic results for everyone involved. Based on Dutch series.
Thoughts: Seems like ABC has been doing well with the whole torrid affair thing, what with Scandal becoming a really big hit. The title also reminds me of Revenge. I’ve slowly watched some of Scandal, and while I liked Revenge in its first season, I lost interest for season two (though I may check it out when it hits Netflix; it was fun to binge watch). However, both of these series have done well for ABC, as did Desperate Housewives. I do kind of wonder how long this show can go; how long can you reasonably draw out a court case? will it go beyond that? I also wonder if ABC viewers will get oversaturated in this scandalous type of shows.
Likelihood to watch: 50/50. Could be fun, but could be a dud. Not sure if I need a show like this.
Mind Games: Provocative workplace ensemble centers on relationship between two brothers — a bipolar genius in human psychology and a slick ex-con — who head a unique agency designed to solve their clients’ problems using the real science of human motivation and manipulation. In addition to helping clients, agency staff sometimes use their skills to manipulate each another.
Thoughts: That last sentence, “agency staff sometimes use their skills to manipulate each other,” is what really interests me here. That could lead to something interesting. Also,the whole concept of using manipulation to solve problems could be pretty interesting, though it might be kind of hard to suspend my disbelief about some of the problems that are solved by motivation and manipulation. It could also be easy for things to get old fast. The other thing that catches my eye is that it’s written/executive produced by Kyle Killen, who did Lone Star (that got cancelled after two episodes) and Awake (which got 13 episodes). Not saying that he’s a bad writer, not at all; but I’m worried that this show might end in a similar fashion.
Likelihood to watch: 50/50. I’ll really have to go with the pilot to decide on this one. If done well it could be interesting, but if not…
Killer Women: It’s hard to fit in when you’re the only woman in the notoriously male Texas Rangers, but that doesn’t stop Molly Parker (Battlestar Galactica‘s Tricia Helfer) — our ballsy, beautiful badass who knows how to get to the truth and isn’t afraid to ruffle a few feathers on her way there. Based on the Argentine series Mujeres Asesinas.
Thoughts: Sounds interesting! Ballsy and badass are two of my favorite adjectives for female heroines! My biggest concern is how they do it; are they going to constantly mention that Molly’s a woman? Is she going to constantly use her sexuality in getting stuff done? A little of both of those wouldn’t be too bad, but too much and it will seem like it’s fetishizing her strength rather than celebrating it. Also the title feels kind of weird.
Already a few of the things I was worried about are happening. Ah, well, it’s the trailer. I was a bit disappointed to see so much of that male character she was with; I know that you don’t want a solo character too much of the time, but I don’t want this to focus too much on some relationship; I want more of the protagonist. I quite like how stylized it looks, and Texas could be a pretty good setting.
Likelihood to watch: PRETTY LIKELY. As long as the show doesn’t constantly focus on A. the fact she’s a woman or B. the relationship with that guy I’ll probably like it.
Lucky 7: The lives of seven employees of a service station in Queens are changed in many unexpected ways when they win a lottery jackpot. Each episode centers on a different character, and each season will follow a different group in similar circumstance. Based on the UK series The Syndicate.
Thoughts: The main thing that interests me is that “each season will follow a different group in similar circumstances.” This actually could be a big thing that would make me want to follow this series. You know that things will be tied up at the end of each season, it will be easier to plot out, and things won’t drag on and on. This is done more with UK television in general (shorter self-contained TV), and it would be nice to see shows that don’t have to drag things out too much. I haven’t seen the UK series, but I’ve heard good things about it. Winning the lottery’s a pretty good set-up, too. I’m honestly a bit more excited about the format, but in general this sounds like it could be pretty promising.
Looking pretty good; the tone isn’t too dark, but there’s clearly some tension. Nothing much to say other than it looks a lot like what I expected.
Likelihood to watch?: VERY LIKELY. I like the concept, the trailer looks pretty good, and the format seems like something interesting. I’m excited to see about this show.
Resurrected: What happens when the people you have mourned and buried suddenly appear on your doorstep as if not a day’s gone by? The lives of the people of Aurora are forever changed when their deceased loved ones, RETURN… Based on a novel by Jason Mott.
Thoughts: Sounds pretty intriguing. If they avoid the zombie route (I haven’t read the novel), this could be pretty unique. While my “dead people come back” TV series is definitely Pushing Daisies, I welcome new things. While Pushing Daisies was light and fun despite being a show about death, I really hope that this turns out to be fairly dark. Which I assume it most likely will be. It’s an interesting concept, and I’m intrigued to check out the pilot, at least.
Not quite what I expected, but I like what I see so far! It’s focusing on one family and one kid, though I’m assuming from the logline that multiple people come back from the dead. There’s a definite religious implication here (not so much zombies!), but that can be done well on TV without being too preachy or anything. I know I loved Joan of Arcadia
when it was on, so I don’t see why this show couldn’t deal with these issues as well (it’s even set in a town called Arcadia!).
Likelihood to watch?: 50/50. I’m definitely intrigued, but I’ll want to see the pilot first.
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland : Told through the point of view of Alice (Sophie Lowe), she has a generous heart but carries the scars of a hard life. She’s joined by Cyrus (Peter Gadiot), Alice’s love interest, and the Knave of Hearts (Michael Socha), a sardonic adventurer.
Thoughts: I’m way too fond of Once Upon a Time. Cheesy? absolutely. Occasionally uneven in quality? definitely. However, it’s a lot of fun to watch and follow, and I am definitely interested in season 3. My biggest concern with this spin off is that I don’t want things to get too stale or for the creative forces behind OUAT to get stretched too thin. One hour of OUAT is great, but will two hours be overkill? Will this affect the original show in any way? Ultimately we’ll have to wait and see. I really hope this feels less like “Once Upon a Time is a successful program and therefore we need MORE” and more organic, like this is a show that needed to be its own thing.
Oh, and hopefully the effects and scenery will be a bit better; for some reason the CGI I hated the most this past season was the stuff set in Wonderland.
The effects are…eh. I’m not even sure WHY these bother me so much, but something about Wonderland feels so artificial, even compared to the rest of OUAT. However, the rest looks pretty nice. Victorian England is a good setting and I hope they use it as much as they can. Really, only the first few effects bothered me, but it started to feel better further in. I know the relationship of Alice and Cyrus is going to be fairly forced, but I’m actually intrigued in the two of them already. This seems a lot more interesting than I initially expected, honestly, and hopefully the show will do enough in differentiating itself.
Likelihood to watch?: VERY LIKELY. Looks like a solid spin-off of a show I already enjoy.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Based on Marvel Comics’ secret intelligence organization that has appeared in countless titles including Iron Man, Captain America and The Ultimates since being introduced in the 1960s. The military law-enforcement agency’s moniker stands for Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistic Directorate, which also has evolved over time in the comics.
Thoughts: I’m a fan of Joss Whedon (particularly Firefly). I’m a fan of Marvel comics and the current cinematic universe. Of course I’m pumped. Honestly, though, this idea really has me excited. One of the things I find most intriguing for superhero stories are the non-super characters; characters that have to deal with a world of supervillains and heroes in one way or another. Some of my favorite characters happen to be the side characters. This is an entire show about that. I’m ecstatic.
Yep still pumped. This is the show I’m most excited for this year. I cannot wait. I’m on board.
Likelihood to Watch?: In case you couldn’t tell I’m going to watch this.
Overall: ABC has been doing fairly well on the drama front, with the success of Scandal, Once Upon a Time, Revenge, Castle, etc. There are some definite possibilities here.
Of the shows listed, I can see myself continuing on with Trophy Wife, Super Fun Night, Lucky 7, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, with a few other shows interesting me. Of these shows, I say that Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, S.H.I.E.L.D and Super Fun Night are the three shows that are most likely to get multiple seasons and be relatively successful.