Alright, alright. So the conclusions are definitely biased. I’m basically basing all of TV’s next pilot season on premise alone. But, I think the people involved with each show can also determine how good each will be (the keyword, of course, being can). My views are therefore somewhat senseless at this point, but I do think it will be interesting to note how much impact the teasers/trailers/promos will have once they air. Until then, let us judge on what’s available. Here’s what we can expect from pilots across the 5 network channels CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC, and The CW.
8Shows Will Be About a Person or a Group of People Getting a New Job Untitled Martin Lawrence project (CBS), “Applebaum” (CBS),”Vegas” (Untitled Ralph Lamb project) (CBS), “Trooper” (CBS), “Family Tools” (“Red Van Man”) (ABC), “The Smart One” (ABC), Untitled Lari Kizer project (ABC), and “Red Widow” (“Penoza”) (ABC) This would have been closer to the double digits had Fox’s “Living Loaded” hadn’t been canceled. Sad isn’t it? I know. As of now, Ralph Lamb’s project is the surest of these eight pilots to make it to Primetime in the fall. Let’s hope we seriously will not have seven other shows following this overused story template.
Martin Lawrence’s project is about a 46 year old widower who loses his job and then signs himself up to the police academy. This definitely sounds intriguing, especially considering it will be Martin Lawrence as the leading man. But, since “$#*! My Dad Says” writers are the ones helming this project, I can’t say I’m too excited. “$#*! My Dad Says” had so much potential, but the writing fell flat, which is crazy considering it’s based on the hilarious book by the same name. I’m rooting for Lawrence, nonetheless.
In “Applebaum” a bored ex-lawyer decides she wants to become a private investigator. Oh, it’s that simple. She’s bored, so she wants something to do. Pass.
3. Ralph Lamb’s project takes us back to Vegas in the 1960s, where ex-cowboy Ralph Lamb becomes the new sheriff in town—literally. Did I mention it’s going to be set in Las Vegas? It’ll be interesting to see a western on primetime, but this show is going to need more than just Dennis Quaid to get people to watch. I’m not sold, but I would watch the pilot promos.
“Trooper” is about a woman who becomes a state trooper. Mira Sorvino leads the cast here, but this premise couldn’t be any duller. Pass.
5. In “Family Tools,” a man must put his dreams on hold to run his family business. The premise runs a little differently than the others. Here, the main character isn’t happy with making the change. Regardless (and not surprisingly), it isn’t the only show following this structure. And what is up with this title? I may just watch the pilot to see what it all means.
Like “Family Tools,” in “The Smart One,” the main character is happy with the change. A “smart” woman isn’t happy to be working with her “cool” sister. First, this sounds like a high school student came up with the idea. Second, the title doesn’t help its case. I can bet I won’t end up watching this one.
Kari Lizer’s project deals with an ex-executive who must conform with being a stay-at-home mom to her teenage daughters. Why not make this about a woman in a powerful position? And since it’s a comedy, I can only imagine the tiresome teenage dramas the writers will play out. I honestly don’t even think this show will be ordered to series.
8. When I first read the premise to “Red Widow,” I thought it was a show I was definitely going to check out. It’s a crime drama about a woman who is forced to take over her dead husband’s crime organization in order to protect her family. The problem is that the writer, Melissa Rosenberg, also wrote “Twilight” and “Birds of Prey.” Though I used to watch “Birds of Prey,” it was a poorly written show. And well, I don’t need to go into the writing for the “Twilight” films. So while I’m a fan of the concept and genre, the writing style isn’t quite my taste. But, I will give it a shot and see what the promos have to offer.
7Shows Will Feature Doctors of Some Kind
The Mindy Project (“It’s Messy”) (FOX), “The Mob Doctor” (FOX), “First Cut” (The CW), “Animal Practice” (NBC),
“Table for Three” (NBC), “County” (NBC), “Do No Harm” (NBC) Not one or two, folks. Seven. And out of these seven, four have already been picked up (The Mindy Project, “The Mob Doctor,” “Animal Practice,” and “Do No Harm”).
Mindy Kaling’s untitled project finally got a name, and it’s messy. Okay, seriously, it’s titled “It’s Messy,” and this The Mindy project is definitely clean enough to get the green light and a spot on the FOX lineup. Mindy Kaling is a natural, but we’ll just have to wait and see if life in an OB-GYM office can be funny.
2. “The Mob Doctor,” previously Josh Berman’s and Robert Wright’s untitled project, focuses on a woman who works as a surgeon and also for the mafia. Anything crime and mafia intrigues me, but producers worked for “Drop Dead Diva.” The fear is that if the same writers are on board, that type of style will be used for this premise, and that would completely kill this for me. But for Jordana Spiro, I will give this show a chance.
3. “First Cut,” if ordered, fits right into The CW. A girl sees similarities at the hospital where she interns with her old high school. And since “Hope and Faith” writers are writing this, I can safely say I’ll pass on this.
4. Previously “Animal Kingdom,” “Animal Practice” is being described as the new “House, M.D.” Don’t you just love how execs are pushing a show that sounds like another show that once did well? This must be a shoe-in then, right? This follows a vet who isn’t fond of owners of the pets he takes care of, and if Hugh Laurie could play the part, then of course everyone will tune in, right? Come on! I really hope the writers (from “Community,” so there’s hope) do not follow Dr. House’s character arc or even his traits. Originality, please! More on this show once teasers start airing.
In “Table for Three” a doctor comes back from her Doctor’s Without Borders tour and finds out that her dad has married her high school nemesis. This is a pretty ridiculous concept, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this gets canned by next week.
“County” sounds too much like (I forget which) season’s story arc of “ER.” It details the lives of those who work at the underfunded and crumbling L.A. County Hospital. At least, I’m hoping that it’s Michael B. Jordan leading the cast and not Jason Ritter. I’m not too hopeful, but I’ll see the teasers for the pilot and decide then.
7. “Do No Harm” is an extremely character driven show. It deals with a doctor who must gain control of his alter ego before it sabotages his personal and professional life. It’s the type of show that needs good writing to last AND good acting. I’m happy to see Steven Pasquale as the lead, but we’ll just have to wait and see.
6Shows Will Be About a Person or a Group of People Moving to a New (or Their Old) City or State
“Friend Me” (CBS),
“American Judy” (ABC), “Malibu Country” (ABC), “Down to Earth” (ABC), “Family Trap” (ABC), “666 Park Avenue” (ABC)
Give me a break (especially you, ABC). And there would have been more if a few hadn’t been canceled already. Let’s review, shall we?
1. “666 Park Avenue” tells the story of a young mid-western couple hired to manage a historic New York building and learn about its supernatural forces. It isn’t quite clear if they move or if they’ve lived here for a while, but since it is based on the novel of the same name, I’m assuming it’ll pick up from the couple moving into New York City. I’ve read several reviews online of the book and many readers can’t put their finger on what type of genre it lends itself to. They deem it a young adult-supernatural-no-man-would-read-this type of book. Let’s hope the adaptation broadens that gap. I don’t think I’ll end up caring for this one.
In “American Judy,” a woman moves from suburbia to the city. Just think of it as “Suburgatory” but with Judy Greer dealing with step kids, a mother-in-law, and her husband’s ex-wife. Though I’m happy to see Judy Greer in a leading role, I will probably not watch this.
3. “Down to Earth” is one of those shows that writing, talent, and production must all come together to make this work. It’s a comedy about aliens living in New Jersey. A couple moves there and learns about their strange neighbors. Funny, right? This could be pretty damn good. But this could also be oh, so bad. If it gets picked up, I will definitely write about this show once teasers start rolling around.
In “Family Trap” a woman moves back to her hometown with her husband to open up a restaurant business. Unfortunately, she finds herself more involved with her family than in her career. So yes, this is ABC’s 5th comedy of characters moving away. Pass.
5. In “Friend Me,” we have two friends moving from Indiana to Los Angeles to work at the company GroupOn. I stand by my reasons for not wanting to see this show. 1. I’m tired of the formula. B. It’s a definite marketing ploy. C. Why not make it in the city where the company is actually based—6 hours from Los Angeles?
6. “Malibu Country” is what I fear will be Reba’s continuation of “Reba” or a look into what “Reba” could have been had Reba moved far from her ex-husband. Need I say more? I’ll give this a chance, though.
It’s literally just going to be this…
Check out the next post for Part 2 of my breakdown on TV pilots for the next season! Thoughts so far?