Tag: delores and jermaine

The 10 pilots that didn’t make it but were worth it!

None of the pilots I was really really rooting for were passed on (except the first three I’m gonna talk to you about in a minute but I knew they were hard sells so I expected it). Quantico, my favorite script of the year, a no-brainer for ABC, was picked up (and the trailer didn’t disappoint). Same goes with Original Sin, now called The Family, Blindspot, Oil (aka Boom), Game Of Silence, Life In Pieces, The Catch, The Grinder, The Player & Lucifer. My top 10. But among my worst 5, Rush Hour, Rosewood & Hearbreaker were ordered (and I predict them a dark future). Thank God, Unveiled & Warrior didn’t make it at NBC!

 

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1. THE BROAD SQUAD (ABC)

In 1978, the graduating class of Boston’s first female patrol officers was dubbed “The Broad Squad” by the local press. Eileen, Molly, Joanne & Lisa arrived at a tumultuous time in Boston’s history, marked by corruption within the police force and a heightened organized crime presence in the city. Navigating rival neighborhoods as well as the conflicting attitudes toward them from everyone, they find themselves tested both on and off duty.

A period drama is always a hard sell on a network and ABC surely remembers Pan Am failed not so long ago. The Broad Squad had the advantage to take place in a precinct, and when police is involved on a TV project, it always helps. But it’s not your straight crime-solving procedural, it’s a female character-driven drama, heavy serialized, that is both entertaining and intelligent and tells a lot about how things evolved since then. The cast was great (Lauren Ambrose, Rutina Wesley, Charlotte Spencer, Cody Horn). It was that close to be ordered (Runner was also very much in contention until the very end). ABC is allegedly considering a redevelopment for next season. Let’s hope so!  There’s a little work to do to make the male characters more interesting and the female ones maybe more appealing to the masses.

 

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2. LFE (CBS)

Joe, Ryan, Chelsi, Trevor Mae & Anj are New York City’s wildest, brilliant and most promising doctors. As they start their second year of residency in the city’s most prestigious hospital, they attempt to balance their god complexes with their humanity. Julie, their den mother, give them guidance in their lives and share with them the relationship she wishes she had with her own children…

The medical drama battle at CBS couldn’t have ended differently. I knew from the get-go, even before reading the scripts, that Code Black would always have the hedge over LFE. Not because Code Black seemed better -and it turns out it was not on the page- but because it was a better fit with the network. LFE was more cable-y, more ambitious, more modern, more stylized and would have appealed to a younger audience. Code Black has a respectable chance to become something. LFE was too much of a wild card for CBS. They hesitated a lot but ultimately a miracle didn’t happen. Since it was produced by CBS Television Studios (that doesn’t sell outside CBS & The CW) it was deadly dead when it didn’t get picked up.

 

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3. DELORES & JERMAINE (ABC)

Jermaine is a millennial with big ideas, but very little drive. When he has no other choice but to move in with his estranged grandmother Delores, a strict, football-loving, former DC cop, he brings his youthful enthusiasm into her life as much as she helps him grow up thanks to her old-school parenting methods. Soon enough they’ll become inseparable…

Loved this script because I laughed out loud while reading it and having the great Whoopi Goldberg in the cast was certainly a big advantage. I wanted to believe it was possible ABC gave it a try but the truth is, with so little place to offer for multicamera comedies, and with Last Man Standing as the only companion, Dolores & Jermaine was not the most natural fit. Dr Ken was and it’s the one which was ordered in the end (and it looks pretty good too). ABC Studios tries to sell it elsewhere but I don’t really see where it could land. Plus this is not a good year for comedies. No other network is looking for more.

 

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4. STUDIO CITY (FOX)

After her alcoholic mother totally lost it, Catalina Evans, 17, is sent to L.A to live with her songwriter father and her stepfamily. What she thought would be an easier life doesn’t turn out exactly the way it should when she discovers her dad is a drug dealer to the stars and haven’t sell a single song for years. With her own dreams of stardom in mind, she starts her new life full of hope and songs to give…

The OC meets Shameless US is the most surprising no-go of this pilot season! Studio City was more than a strong contender, it was red-hot and it looked like a sure thing until the end, especially since its musical component would have fit well with phenomenon Empire. Why FOX didn’t give it the thumb up? It’s safe to assume they wanted to order only one Warner Bros. pilot Vs. all the 20th Century FOX Television they had. So it was either Lucifer or Studio City. I’m a big fan of the first one so I can’t blame them to have made that choice. But still, it’s hard to understand and it’s a missed opportunity. But maybe not for so long. FOX insists that the show is still in contention for midseason (but they already said that for Cabot College and Sober Companion last year… and we’re still waiting). We’ll see…

 

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5. STRANGE CALLS (NBC)

An affable but down on his luck young police officer is transferred to a rural town where — with the help of a peculiar, elderly night watchman — he starts to realize the town has a bizarre supernatural underbelly.

When you look at what NBC ordered on the comedy department, there is on one side latina fueled Hot and Bothered and Superstore, and on the other side multicamera comedies People are talking and Crowded. Most of them will only debut at midseason and won’t get much of a chance to shine on a network that decided it was about time they find a drama hit. Strange Calls clearly was the odd man out. It’s really fun, but it’s a supernatural comedy, it’s quirky. What to pair it with? Maybe NBC found the right solution but a little too late: they’re working on making it a 42 minutes dramedy, and pairing it with Grimm would make a lot of sense. But I’m not sold on the idea honestly if it means adding a procedural element to the mix. It would lose what made it different.

 

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6. FOR JUSTICE (CBS)

Natalia Chappel, an FBI agent who works in the Criminal Section of the Department of Civil Rights Division investigating crimes based on civil rights violations across the country, finds herself caught between the radical family she was born into and the professional family she has chosen…

It was reportedly a CBS President Les Moonves’ favorite. But it was not enough to get the precious order to series so it seems. CBS passed on the opportunity to be relevant to the world we are living in, because that’s what this show was meant to be. It was smart and important. The cast was great (Anika Noni Rose! Please Shonda give her a show already!) and the pilot was directed by Selma‘s Ava DuVernay. They clearly made a mistake here, but to be fair it wasn’t right with their objectives this year: attract younger viewers with pop-corn fares. It’s just the opposite of that. But why ordering it in the first place then? Maybe Supergirl & Limitless were enough. They could have found a place for For Justice if they really wanted to…

 

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7.  SNEAKY PETE (CBS)

Marius, a thirty-something con man, upon leaving prison, takes cover from his past by assuming the identity of a cellmate. “Sneaky Pete” then hides out from his debtors while working for his new “family’s” bail bond business. There he uses his considerable charm and criminal prowess to take down bad guys far worse than himself, partnering with a female “cousin” who has her suspicions about his real motives

Not a pop-corn fare either. Not shiny and beautiful. Procedural but with no police involved. If ordered, I’m sure Sneaky Pete would have gotten the Battle Creek treatment: no promotion and a doomed timeslot. It’s a good thing CBS passed on it, in spite of a huge commitment. Now Sony Pictures Television can sell it to a cable channel where it would have a real chance to find the audience it deserves. They’re actively trying to find it a new home so let’s cross our fingers.

 

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8. CHEVY (ABC)

Two fun and relevant baby boomers are living a selfish retirement until their world is turned upside down when their eldest daughter die. They are suddendly left to raise their grandchildren. If as they say the golden years are starting when the fun begins, then their golden years and the greatest adventure of their life start right now…

Chevy not ordered, that’s another surprise of this pilot season. I really liked the script, that I found funny and sweet, and more importantly it seemed to be a perfect fit with the other comedies ABC already has on the air and distinctive enough not to be just The Middle 2.0 or something. Since ABC decided to keep its Wednesday intact and give The Muppets a try, there was simply not a place for it anywhere on the schedule. And I’m glad ABC chose The Real O’Neals over Chevy! But last year or the year before last year, I’m sure Chevy would have made it. It’s unfair.

 

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9. THE CURSE OF THE FUENTES WOMEN (NBC)

When Salvador, a magical and mysterious young man inexplicably emerges from the ocean during a violent storm, he breathes new passion into the lives of the Fuentes women who own a Cuban restaurant on Miami Beach: the beautiful but lonely Lola, who instantly falls in love with him, her mother Esperanza, who’s losing her mind since she’s been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer, and her troubled daughter Soledad, who’s secretly pregnant. The curse that ruined their lives for so long finally breaks…

Blindspot, The Player, Game Of Silence, Chicago Med, Shades Of Blue… NBC went with very serious dramas this year (but some are entertaining too) while the lighter series are represented by the outdated Heartbreaker. The Curse of the Fuentes Women from Ugly Betty‘s creator was ridiculously fun and hot and really worth a try. I think they made a mistake, but it seems they only do that now. Mistakes. And the same ones over and over again. Their loss! Warner Bros. is trying to sell it elsewhere. Not easy. ABC doesn’t need it and it’s the only place I can see it go.

 

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10. NERD HERD (ABC)

Through a combination of genetics and dynamic home schooling, Kip and Mona Lisa Mitchell find themselves raising extraordinarily intelligent kids. When Kip returns home from the military to be a stay-at-home dad, he experiences firsthand the challenges of parenting kids who have genius IQs but limited life and social skills, especially in the Orange County, where looks is the only religion…

I don’t know what happened with this one. I was really high on it after reading the script and I was pretty sure it was a safe bet. As I already said about Chevy, there was just not enough space for it on the schedule but it seems like it was never considered as having a real shot. Maybe they didn’t find the right actors for the children and ultimately the result was bad because of that. Or it’s something else. That being said, I’m still annoyed by the fact FOX didn’t keep it for themselves (it was 20th Century FOX Television produced). How come they are not able to find one broad comedy for them while they produce Modern Family for ABC or now Life In Pieces for CBS? It doesn’t make sense.

 

BONUS : CHEERLEADER DEATH SQUAD (The CW)

A disgraced CIA agent-turned-teacher at an elite Washington D.C. prep school realizes that his students have high-level access through personal connections. So he trains a select few to be his eyes and ears into the world of international espionage and help him earn his way back into the agency.

The surprising order of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, originally set up at Showtime, is probably what doomed the Marc Cherry’s show in the end, whereas it seemed like a sure thing for a longtime. I haven’t read it so I won’t elaborate on it but among the DC Comics’ series it would have been a fun breath of fresh air…

ABC | 2015/2016 Pilot Season: The Best & Worst

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Before ABC reveals its new schedule next Tuesday, here’s the best & worst of their pilot season ! Just my humble opinion.

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DRAMAS

1. QUANTICO – Ordered to series

“an incredibly strong contender at ABC, not only because it’s a great pilot script that keeps you on the edge of your seat for the whole time but above all because it’s the promise of a show that will keep you on the edge of your seat EVERY WEEK for an ENTIRE SEASON -and hopefully more- alongside characters you can only care about, through a journey that’s relevant to the world we live in. It’s a bomb in the making that’s about to explode. The Clock is already ticking. Tick tock… Tick Tock…” Full preview here

2. THE FAMILY (aka ORIGINAL SIN) – Ordered to series

“a family drama, a very human one, more than a mystery or a detective show, or even a soap. (…) People can relate to this family and its members, they can feel for the detective, they can get excited by the investigation and the secrets that will be found along the way… And it won’t even feel like a sin to love it (…) Everything’s in place to make a great show out of the already great pilot.” Full preview here

3. THE BROAD SQUAD – Dead but could be redeveloped

” This pilot manages to be both entertaining and intelligent, even important I might add (…) The Broad Squad is not your usual cop show, not only because it’s a period drama but because it aims to be different, not a crime-solving straight procedural but a heavy serialized and character-driven one, with no strong emphasis on romantic storylines.” Full preview here

4. THE CATCH – Ordered to series

“it’s in the same vein as Scandal and entirely devoted to Alice Martin, a strong leading woman, brilliant at her job but who can also prove to be fragile when it comes to her messy personal life, in the same fashion as Meredith Grey, Addison Montgomery, Olivia Pope and Annalise Keating (…) The Catch comes off as a thrilling ride, but I can’t say it blew my mind… yet.” Full preview here

5. OIL (aka BOOM) – Ordered to series

“it is as ambitious as it looks, and as ambitious as the couple at the center of the show is. t has what it takes it to be a good entertaining TV series that doesn’t take its viewers for morons and which offers a little bit more than just fun. That being said, Boom may be a little too smart and intricate for its own good…” Full preview here

6. KINGMAKERS – Officially Dead

“Kingmakers is ABC wanting to recreate the magic they once had with Revenge. It’s not a spin-off, it’s not officially a reboot. It’s the same show but different. You know you’ve seen it before but you don’t really care as long as they keep it entertaining and fresh somehow. Let’s call it a spiritual spin-off!” Full preview here

7. MIX – Officially Dead

“Mix finds the right balance between the prime time family soap like Dallas and the more emotion-based family drama like Parenthood, the same way Brothers & Sisters did in fact. Let’s call it a family dramedy, with a lot of heart, a bit of laughs and the inevitable dirty little secrets we’re exposed to throughout the pilot (…) It’s almost too simple and too sweet to be really good.” Full preview here

8. RUNNER – Officially Dead

“ABC has better things to pick up, but it’s a solid pilot script that embarks us on a thrilling ride.” Full preview here

9. KINGS AND PROPHETS – Ordered to series

“Game of Thrones is a soap opera in its bones. The Bible is too, in a way. Kings and Prophets even more. It’s about lies, treasons, revenge… Death is everywhere all the time.  I wouldn’t have bet on it before reading the script, now I’m intrigued though not totally convinced. It could crash, it could work, it could even be a hit. Everything’s possible.” Full preview here

10. WICKED CITY (aka LA CRIME) – Ordered to series

“Dark and twisty. It takes a dangerous road for a network show because of the way the serial killer called Clark Gallagher operates (…) But I’m not sure in this crowded television landscape, already full of serial killers, this show has something more to offer…” Full preview here

11. THE ADVOCATE – Officially Dead

“An interesting way of spinning your gold ol’ medical drama, but not distinctive enough to make a splash and be a game changer. It’s nice, it’s a good vehicle for Kim Raver, but it’s boring most of time. The medical part is okay, but the soapy part is just too generic”. 

12. THE ADVERSARIES – Officially Dead

“not something new, not something bad, not something we’d be willing to really give a chance (…) trying to distinguish itself through the family drama perspective, but even that has already been made and it doesn’t make that much of a difference in the end (…) It will skew old and it doesn’t really fit with the schedule. It’s efficient and pleasant but a little outdated.” Full preview here

Not reviewed: UNTITLED AGENTS OF SHIELD PROJECT – Officially Dead

 

Martha Plimpton as Virginia Chance, Jimmy's mother.

COMEDIES

1. THE REAL O’NEALS – Ordered to series

“it fits perfectly with ABC’s brand, alongside Modern Family, The Goldbergs and all the others (…) The fact that the narrator is a teenage boy makes it sound like Fresh Off the Boat too, which can’t be a bad thing. Honestly, I’m already in love with these people (…)”  Full preview here

2. NERD HERD – Officially Dead

“I laughed out loud while reading it, which doesn’t happen very often to me (…) Just picture all of the smart ass kids of TV -like Manny from Modern Family or the adorable Brick from The Middle– and make them brothers and sisters, living in the same house.Full preview here

3. DELORES & JERMAINE – Officially Dead

“This shit is good. Better than expected, better than you think and even better than it should have been. I mean: a young man living with his grandma, it’s quite exciting on paper I think -I love grandmas on TV- but it’s paper thin at the same time. Somehow, the magic happens and at the end of the pilot, nothing about it seems thin anymore.” Full preview here

4. CHEVY – Officially Dead

“it’s in the vein of The Middle. They share the same kind of sweetness and warmness, and they aim at the same sort of truth of what a family really is, or should be, based on everyday life (…) It would fit perfectly in ABC’s line-up”  Full preview here

5. FORTUNE FAMILY – Officially Dead

“TV definitely needs a lesbian heroin, even more if she’s not the pretty kind. That’s diversity too, guys! Outside of the coming-out part, which is dealt with really well, the sitcom is probably less original than The Real O’Neals for many reasons, especially the mother & father dynamic that we have already witnessed countless times, but it works” Full preview here

6. ALL STARS – Officially Dead

“Better than expected, really funny at times, with an extravaganza you don’t find on the other ABC projects. But it’s more niche and the sports part lost me a bit. Not the best choice.” 

7. THE 46 PERCENTERS – Officially Dead

“Liked this one way more than expected and I can totally picture it lasting for years. But too many farts jokes for my taste, probably.” 

8. DR KEN – Ordered to series

“Liked this one way more than expected (again) and I can totally picture it paired with Last Man Standing. Good for diversity, good for laughs, but not especially great regarding originality” 

9. THE KING OF 7B – Officially Dead

“Quite daring, totally original and crazy, but a bit of a mess, with a feeling that it can’t last very long with such a pitch. Would better fit on Netflix or something!”

10. UNCLE BUCK – Ordered to series

“Not impressed. But it has some potential somehow…” 

11. KNOXVILLE – Officially dead

“A family comedy about rednecks? Already done by Greg Garcia with Earl and then Raising Hope. We don’t need this one even if it’s fine.”

12. WARRIORS – Officially Dead

“Don’t understand the attractiveness of this project. But apparently it has one. Maybe not being remotely interested in basket ball didn’t help. I have faith in producer Dan Fogelman -and ABC too since they can’t keep ordering his shows- but I don’t think it belongs to ABC, even if they broadcast NBA…”

Not reviewed: THE MUPPETS -Ordered to series

 

What pilots are you rooting for ?