Pilot Season is Almost Here

What options should the networks choose this pilot season?

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Pilot Predictions for 2017

We are rapidly approaching the network upfronts, where we will find out the TV schedules for next year!

Deadline has released their first buzz on the pilots likely to be picked up, as well as a look at shows on the bubble of renewal and cancellation. The reports here do need to be taken with a grain of salt.  As the comments in the spoiler TV links to these articles note, it is too early to draw any conclusions about the pilots, and eve the later buzz reports have historically predicted pick-ups for show that got passed over, and failed to mention pilots that would end up making the cut. The accuracy of the bubble show reports is also not exactly pristine.

Throwing out some of my own predictions, I expect ABC to go big on procedurals this year, picking up magician crime show Deception, medical show The Good Doctor, and Unit Zero, a show about unlikely spies. This won’t generate much excitement, but procedurals are still shows that can be consistent performers if they find an audience, and cruise to triple-digit episode counts.  And Season Zero has written up very positive reviews for all three of these potential shows.

I also expect ABC to give the green light to at least one of a few shows with family soap elements. Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry has a show about a small-town in America which becomes the sight of an apparent terrorist attack, while there is also a show called The Crossing about refugees arriving in America from a dystopian future, and a show about a man who comes into contact with a messenger from God.  The Marc Cherry pilot probably has the edge, though the review from a Marc Cherry fan at Season Zero notes that the investigation elements, never a strong point of Desperate Housewives, remain a weak point in the new show. This is a pretty big red flag for me, given that investigations seem set to be at the forefront of the show.  Personally I’m most interested in The Crossing out of these three, though Season Zero wasn’t particularly impressed.

CBS may only pickup a few new shows this year, with the most ambitious option being Mission Control from The Martian author Andy Weir. Other options that could catch my attention is The Get, a show about journalists that received a positive review from Season Zero, and Instinct a show headlined by Alan Cumming which seems to follow the basic formula of a man and a woman solving crimes together, except for the fact that the man is actually gay in this case. I expect the Cumming vehicle to go to series, as well as the law show starring former ER actor Noah Wyle.

The last three years has seen the CW follow three rules. First they pickup a superhero show, then they give the green light to a dramady, and third they pass on a show that could have served as a companion to The Never Ending Story… I mean, Supernatural.  The Supernatural spinoff was dead on arrival, anthology-esque Tales from the Darkside never saw the light, and last year Transylvania was passed over in spite of getting some solid buzz.  This year seems like it might follow the same patters, with Black Lightning and Life Sentence seeming set to get the green light, while The Searchers may miss the cut in spite of getting some good feedback.

One other thing to watch from The CW this year is that many seem to prefer their three WB pilots, Black Lightning, Life Sentence, and The Searchers, with the CBS options Dynasty, Valor and Insatiable getting less positive buzz. Could the network pick up all three WB options and completely pass over the CBS slate?  Probably not, since reports suggest the network is actually pretty high on Dynasty, though many others aren’t sure what it is that makes the net think the soap reboot while hit with their audience.  I’m pulling for the WB sweep, but sadly I’m predicting that the Supernatural companion show will once again get squeezed out, with Dynasty getting the nod instead.

Fox has only four drama pilots to choose from, with The Beast and Passage both being delayed until next year. Their m/marvel comics show seems all but a sure thing, while medical show The Resident, move reboot Behind Enemy Lines and a show about a rape accusation at a University have been getting less positive feedback.  As I noted in an earlier post, Fox passed on some intriguing options when choosing what pilots to make, something which could become a bigger problem with such a limited group of options to choose from. I expect the Marvel show and The Resident to go to series.

Finally, we come to NBC, which has a military show in For God and Country, as well as a hospital in crisis option with Shelter. Other options include the Glee-esque Rise and the Charlene Harris adaptation Redliners, as well as Good girls, about ordinary women who turn to crime and Reverie, a crime show in a world where virtual reality has become part of daily life.  Deadline notes that Rise is getting some strong early buzz, and Season Zero gave it a very good review.  Season Zero gave a mixed review to Good Girls, as well as Reverie. For God and Country got a more positive report, While Redliners earned one of the more negative reviews so far this year. I expect Rise, Reverie and For God and Country to hit the airwaves next season, which is pretty much what I’m hoping for, though I’d put Good Girls in place of For God and Country.



NBC Drama Pilots

The last stop for our look at the drama pilots of 2017 is NBC!

The network has given the green light to For God and Country, a show focusing on a group of military heroes. They are also working on a show based on the fiction of Charlene Harris, much like Midnight Texas from last season, which has yet to premiere, Redliners follows a pair of former spies who get pulled back into the field while trying to keep up their normal lives.

The net also has Reverie, about a detective in a future world where an advanced virtual reality program has been launched. Meanwhile, Good Girls follows a group of everyday women who must turn to crime in order to reclaim the power in their lives.

NBC also has Rise, formerly known as Drama High, which follows a drama teacher and his students, as well as a project about the staff at a hospital who must deal with a hurricane in the surrounding area.

The projects NBC passed on include two shows about the end of the world. One of them would have followed an engineer building an ark to escape the planet, and the other about a cop who tries to maintain law and order as the world prepares for the end.  There was also a futuristic cop show and a show from the people behind Grimm that would have followed a group of grad students uncovering a mystery spanning back decades.

ABC Drama Pilots

The networks have all but set their drama pilots for this season, and I have mixed feelings. Let’s take a look, starting with ABC.

ABC has set two limited series, Ten Days in the Valley and Inhumans. Ten Days in the Valley stars Kyra Sedgwick as a television producer whose daughter goes missing in a way that seems to mirror the fictional show she oversees.  Inhumans is the latest Marvel comics’ series to hit the airwaves.

As for pilots, Spoiler TV has been keeping me up to date on the latest pickups. ABC is looking to get back in business with Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry, picking up his untitled project about a small town Sherriff and an FBI agent who come together to investigate an apparent act of terrorism and uncover the surprising secrets of the Sherriff’s hometown. The network has also picked up a new Shondaland project, this one focusing on a group of lawyer who work on opposite sides of a courtroom in New York.

ABC has also been looking to replace former hit Castle, which followed a writer who worked with the police to solve crimes. To that end the net has picked up Deception, which follows a magician who works with the police to solve crimes. A seemingly ridiculous idea, and not a project I was hoping to see picked up, but perhaps with the right actor in the lead, it could find an audience.

The net has also picked up The Crossing, a timely project about refugees seeking a new home in America. The twist here is that the refugees are also from America, albeit an America of the distant future.  An intriguing concept, but one that may be better suited to a movie or miniseries than a long-term show.  The same could perhaps be said for another ABC pickup, Doomsday. This show follows a group who had worked together to come up with disaster scenarios and their possible solutions, who come back together when the disasters they brainstormed begin to come true.

The ABC project I have the least amount of interest in is The Good Doctor, a new show from House creator David Shore. It pretty much seems to be a new version of House, which get a meh from me, but with a solid cast, who knows what will happen?  A close second (second last) is The Gospel of Kevin, about a man who is tasked by God with saving the world. Another pilot I have little interest in is Las Reinas, about a detective who grew up in a crime family. So like Gang Related from a few years ago, except with a female lead.

ABC’s last two pickups, at least as of this writing, are Unit Zero and Salamander.   Unit Zero follows a group of unlikely spies, while Salamander tells the story of the agents tracking a bank robber who steals safety deposit boxes belonging to the rich and powerful, setting in motion a conspiracy.

My main disappointment is that Hyperion, said to be built on Disney Park mythology, has apparently been passed over, though the same creators are behind The Gospel of Kevin. Personally, I was more interested in Hyperion.