Tag: strange calls

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.

 

STUDIOCITY

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…

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

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

BLINDS

DRAMAS

1. BLINDSPOT – Ordered to series

an high octane thriller with two kick-ass characters at the center of it, that will please those who like action scenes as much as those who are more into suspense and mysteries. It’s a no-brainer pick-upFull preview here

2. THE PLAYER – Ordered to series

it’s fast-paced, it’s dark, it’s twisted, it’s smart and it’s kind of fun. There is a mythology behind, a lot questions to be answered, a lot of characters whose motivations need to be explained and the promise of a thrilling ride.Full preview here

3. GAME OF SILENCE – Ordered to series

 “this one is probably the hardest to sell on this network. Not only because it’s the darkest, with less action and more psychology -which is definitely a good thing- but because it’s heavily serialized with just one little procedural element.” Full preview here

4. THE CURSE OF THE FUENTES WOMEN – Officially Dead

mostly ridiculous, with some crazy scenes (…)  but that’s exactly what makes the show attractive at the same time.Full preview here

5. SHADES OF BLUE – Ordered to series

It’s basically a female character driven procedural that tries to be a little bit more. Jennifer Lopez may have found the right vehicle to remind people she’s not just a singer and an American Idol judge.” Full preview here

6. LOVE IS A FOUR-LETTER WORD – Has a shot

the closest thing to Empire any network has to offer as of now. It is very different in many ways but NBC certainly has something to play with here. But they should not expect the same ratings.Full preview here

7. HEARTBREAKER – Ordered to series

as cheesy as it sounds. But I’m not saying it’s a total mess. In fact, it’s quite solid. But for a show developed during 2004/2005 pilot season (and I may be indulgent), not 2015/2016.Full preview here

8. WARRIOR – Has a shot

it’s not fun, most of the time. It’s not emotional (…) the perfect example of those projects not worth a pilot order that get it anyway for whatever mysterious reasons.Full a preview

9. UNVEILED – Looks dead

should never ever see the light of day. Not on a network. Not in 2015. Not in real life! Full preview here

 

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COMEDIES

1. STRANGE CALLS – Officially Dead

“Really different, really special, really funny. Loved it! Maybe not broad enough but definitely a keeper!”

2. SUPERSTORE – Ordered to series

NBC desperately needs a broad comedy that can please low and middle class America as much as well-educated viewers, young and old people, blacks and whites and latinos… Superstore can be this one.Full preview here

3. TELENOVELA – Ordered to series

“It’s not as good as Desperate Housewives was when it started and it’s different in many ways but it’s good enough to entertain us once a week and do the trick, but for how long?”  Full preview here

4. HOW WE LIVE – Has a shot

“Not as original as it wants to be, but pretty funny overall. Tries too hard to be the next Modern Family, but can’t blame them.”

5. UNTITLED SUZANNE MARTIN PROJECT – Ordered to series

“Isn’t it a waste of Carrie Preston’s huge talent? A multicamera comedy is not really where we want to see her, but she certainly can improve the material, which is not bad to begin with. Just déjà vu.”

6. TAKE IT FROM US – Looks dead

“Some sort of How I Met Your mother type of comedy, by one of How I Met Your Mother’s writer. Found the characters really cool. Wouldn’t mind watching it.

7. NOT SAFE FOR WORK – Looks dead

Most of the pilot is about embarrassing scenes with awkward people you’re slowly falling in love with. I’m not sure there’s really a show in there, it’s too much of a love triangle and not much of anything else, but it’s not bad at all. Just not what NBC needs right now.”

8. PEOPLE ARE TALKING – Ordered to series

“Too much. People are talking too much! This multicamera comedy has an interesting diversity cast element -blacks, asian, white- and some really funny lines but in the end, it’s not a show and characters I feel like I want to go back to.”

9. SHARING – Looks dead

Too geeky, definitely not broad enough. Might be cool. Might be fun. But won’t last long. That’s old NBC.”

10. PROBLEM CHILD – Has a shot

With Bishop, the famous Problem Child, talking directly to the camera all along the episode, you can’t keep thinking about Malcolm. The show has a hard time becoming its own thing. And the cast is not crazy attractive. It’s a pass for me.

11. CUCKOO (US) – Officially Dead

Have never watched the British show it’s based on, but pretty sure it’s as awful as this one. I mean, Cuckoo is a fucking pain in the ass, whatever the side of the Pond. I didn’t find him funny any second. Just wanted to slap him in the face. The saddest thing is the cast is pretty great (Cheryl Hines & Michael Chicklis, husband and wife!) But please don’t NBC.


What pilots are you rooting for?