Seven highlights of the 2013 pilot season
Pilot season is almost over in the USA - the time of year when the big American networks request pilot episodes to be made for a swag of new shows that they hope will form the backbone of the next television season; Amy Chozick's article The Math of Hit TV Shows explains the process pretty well.
For TV fans like us, though, we can start to get excited (or dumbfounded) by some of the ideas that have started filming. Last week, The Age's Scott Ellis ran through a few terrible-sounding pilots that made him scratch his head and say "they're doing what?!" But what of the good ideas, the shows that sound as though they might actually end up as decent series?
Here are seven pilots that I hope make it to the 2013-2014 television season ...
S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC, drama)
Described as: "Based on Marvel Comics' secret intelligence organisation 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."
I reckon: C'mon, who isn't interested in this one? With Joss and Jed Whedon, and Maurissa Tancharoen, involved on the creative side, and Clark Gregg - the underrated scene-stealer of every Marvel movie so far - set to star, this should, at the very least, be entertaining as hell, if not the best comic-based show ever made.
Super Clyde (CBS, comedy)
Described as: "Centres on a meek, unassuming fast food worker (Harry Potter's Rupert Grint) who decides to become a super hero."
I reckon: Rupert Grint did a great job in those wizard movies, and proved he has some expressive comedy chops in Ed Sheeran's Lego House music video. Plus, this is written by Greg Garcia - the genius behind My Name Is Earl and Raising Hope. It sounds a bit like Raising Hope crossed with Kick-Ass. I'm in.
Lucky 7 (ABC, drama)
Described as: "An adaptation of British drama The Syndicate, the drama revolves around seven employees of a service station in Queens whose lives are changed in unexpected ways when they win a lottery jackpot."
I reckon: The first season of The Syndicate finished on UKTV a week or so ago ... and it was fantastic. I know US remakes are usually no good, but this one has some creative talent behind it: Steven Spielberg is attached as producer, David Zabel (ER) is listed as writer, and Paul McGuigan (Sherlock, Monroe) is attached to direct. I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt.
Untitled Michael J. Fox comedy (NBC, comedy)
Described as: "Inspired by the former Family Ties actor's life, Fox stars as a husband and father of three from New York City dealing with family, career and challenges - including Parkinson's disease - as he goes back to work as a news anchor."
I reckon: This is the one show on this list that I'm not totally sure about - it could go either way, good or bad. But with a cast including Michael J Fox, Betsy Brandt (Breaking Bad) and Wendell 'Bunk' Pierce (Treme, The Wire), and Cougar Town producer Sam Laybourne listed as writer, as well as the fact that it was ordered straight to series (meaning that it didn't need to go through the pilot process), I'm betting it'll be a hit.
Crazy Ones (CBS, comedy)
Described as: "A father-daughter workplace comedy set in the world of advertising."
I reckon: Okay, this one is vague and doesn't actually sound too interesting ("oh, great, its 2 Broke Girls meets Mad Men"), but I'm kind of excited because Robin Williams is attached to star, and David E Kelley (Boston Legal) is the creative talent who came up with the idea. Vague though it might be, it should be better than it sounds from that one-liner.
Beverly Hills Cop (CBS, drama)
Described as: "Continuation of the movie franchise, centred around Axel Foley's police officer son, who takes down the criminal elements of the rich and famous in Beverly Hills."
I reckon: You know what, Beverly Hills Cop is one of the best cop movies of the 1980s, and this "continuation" has Shawn Ryan (The Shield) attached, with Eddie Murphy attached to star (along with Brandon T Jackson to play Murphy's fictional son), and Barry Sonnenfeld set to direct. If it gets made, I will be watching the hell out of this show.
Untitled Dan Goor/Mike Schur comedy (Fox, comedy)
Described as: "Revolves around a diverse group of detectives at a New York precinct."
I reckon: "Diverse" is the right word for it - the cast includes Andy Samberg (The Lonely Island, SNL), Andre Braugher (Homicide: Life on the Street), Terry Crews and comedian Chelsea Peretti. But I'm mostly excited because of one man: Mike Schur, listed here as writer/producer, making this a police comedy from the creator of Parks & Recreation. KEEN.
Do any of these ideas grab your attention? You can also take a look through the full list of pilots ordered for the coming TV season, over at The Hollywood Reporter - anything else take your fancy?