The CW’s 8 most exciting projects for 2018/2019 pilot season

 

The following article is based on descriptions mixed wih talents attached ONLY. None of the scripts have been read at this point.

 

For how long The CW will manage to survive? The situation is getting complicated, if you ask me. The 5th network is becoming less and less relevant these days by relying on too many DC Comics shows –Arrow is not the powerhouse it once was, Supergirl is doing so-so, Legends of Tomorrow is losing castmembers like crazy, only The Flash can still be labelled as a success- and on well-liked CBS-produced dramedies that attract a very tiny crowd of die-hard fans. I’m looking at you Jane The Virgin & Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Military drama Valor flopped, as everyone expected, except The CW president Mark Pedowitz; while Life Sentence, their most promising new entry, is still waiting for a spot on the schedule…

Is The CW being destroyed by Netflix? What looked like a fair exchange a few months ago is entering a dangerous territory now. The CW is simply becoming Netflix-dependent and that can’t be good in the long run. Many people think Riverdale is a Netflix original -they brand it like it is and the success over there apparently helped the CW ratings- and they even stole them the Sabrina spin-off, which is still a shocker to me. How did they let that happen? Black Lightning is a Netflix original overseas, as is Dynasty, which is the only reason why it was given a backorder since the ratings are truly terrible. And Netflix picked up a full season of The CW’s last pilot season’s dark dramedy Insatiable. So far, you can argue that Netflix needs The CW as much as The CW needs Netflix, but clearly the best projects are now going directly to Netflix, while The CW takes the leftovers. Between Warner Bros. selling shows to everyone (especially to FOX, which will soon lose its in-house studio in the Disney merger) and CBS Television having the CBS All Access platform now, I’m not sure The CW will still be there in a few years…

Anyway, they still have a pilot season to navigate: here are the 8 pilots that have potential. Yeah, 8 is not much…

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EPIPHANY (Warner Bros. Television)

What?  about a group of gifted strangers recruited to a Gilded Age mansion to solve a complex code that lies within the structure’s walls…

Why? Weird concept, the kind that never passes the script stage, let alone the pilot stage… but at least it sounds original and could work as a miniseries. But is The CW really looking for miniseries? They probably don’t. Don’t get attached to this one. It has like 10% chance to see the light of day.

 

FEMME (CBS Television Studios)

What? about four millennial women from different walks of life who become unlikely friends and fierce allies after meeting online in a secret feminist social media group…

Why? After Freeform’s The Bold Type and all that’s happening in the world right now, Femme, produced by Jane The Virgin‘s star Gina Rodriguez, looks perfectly relevant and exciting. And shows about female friendships have mostly disappeared (besides Younger), it’s time they come back stronger than ever!

 

ILLEGAL (CBS Television Studios)

What? about 16-year-old Rafael: He is a charming but bumbling high school student just trying to survive puberty. But when this all-American teenager discovers that he is not American at all, his perfect Honor Roll world is turned upside down

Why? Gina Rodriguez is also behind this project and at some point, CBS will have to do something with this overall deal they signed with her two years ago… Illegal is based on the life of series co-executive producer Rafael Agustin and certainly doesn’t seem to be that different from Jane The Virgin topically and tonally. Since Jane doesn’t have that much life left, it could takeover.

 

IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT (Warner Bros. Television)

What? when a prison spaceship carrying the universe’s most deadly aliens crashes in Southern California, two millennial women with bigger dreams than working at a kids’ pizza place in The Valley are recruited by a space cop to hunt down the escaped criminals, who have camouflaged themselves as eccentric Angelenos…

Why? Now we’re talking! How long can this premise sustain? I’m not sure. If there’s an ambitious mythology behind, not just a “monster of the week” situation, then maybe we have a winner here! The creators Justin Halpern & Patrick Schumacker have mostly worked on comedies before, meaning this could be a fun ride. Would be a great companion show for Supernatural and even a natural successor if the show gets cancelled one day but I feel like it’s the CW that will get cancelled first!

 

LADY IN THE MASK (CBS Television Studios)

What? set in a near future where people can back-up their minds like they back-up their computer. It centers on a woman who awakens in the hospital after a suspicious car accident and learns her memory was damaged and restored from a two-year-old “back-up.” As she tries to return to her seemingly loving husband, high-profile job in her family’s tech VC firm, and otherwise normal life, the details about her missing years begin to contradict one another, leading her to believe she’s being manipulated by someone close to her, that the accident was no accident and that she’s at the center of a much larger conspiracy — unless she’s just losing her mind.

Why? Among those 8 projects, it’s the one I’m the most conflicted about. It’s already too complicated for its own good and would probably work better as a 2-hour long Black Mirror episode. But if somehow they manage to make something believable and thrilling out of it then I’m in. Is it really what we’re waiting from The CW? Not really. But surprising their audience seems like the best way to go these days, as long as the product is solid. Let’s just hope it is! It reminds me of Ringer a bit though. Can’t be a good thing.

 

THE SHE WORD (CBS Television Studios)

What? about four driven female assistants who discover they have been victims of gender discrimination at their boys’ club of a company; they vow to work together to take over by whatever means necessary…

Why? The CW will have to decide between this one and Femme. They are probably vastly different but they tackle the same -important- subject. What’s interesting with The She Word it’s that it seems to be darker. That’s what’s implied in the “by whatever means necessary” of the pitch and a “How To Get Away With Murder“-style soap is an exciting perspective, as long as it’s not only about revenge but empowerment too.

 

THE VALIANT (Warner Bros. Television)

What? about a Celtic princess on the run from an arranged marriage and a sheltered life who is captured and forced into slavery under Julius Caesar; she ends up training among the first wave of female Gladiators to compete in the Colosseum for fame, fortune and, ultimately, her freedom…

Why? Personally, I would never watch this BUT I feel like there’s an audience for it as long it’s not just an excuse to show partially naked women fighting (not that it wouldn’t be a good selling point). Spartacus was very popular a few years ago; maybe there’s potential here and it would draw attention. The CW is desperately looking for attention. That being said it’d have to be really good and modern to survive, because period drama and this network just don’t fit well together. Even The Carrie Diaries couldn’t make it…

 

UNTITLED SPENCER PAYSINGER PROJECT (Warner Bros. Television)

What?  inspired by the life of pro football player Spencer Paysinger, a rising high school football player from South Central L.A.; when he is recruited to play for Beverly Hills High, the wins, losses and struggles of two families from vastly different worlds – Compton and Beverly Hills – begin to collide…

Why? Let’s just see it as Friday Night Lights meets The OC, produced by Greg Berlanti and his football player of a husband Robbie Rogers. It could attract both men and women and would depart from everything that is on the network right now. It represents a risk but it’s damn time to take one, a good, worthy one.

 

Meanwhile, The CW is still looking into a Charmed reboot but is also trying to revive Roswell, as well as spinning-off Supernatural with Wayward Sisters and The Originals with a show focusing on Hope Mikaelson, the tribrid daughter of Niklaus Mikaelson and Hayley Marshall-Kenner. Alyssa Milano’s Hacktivist is still on the map with a second script ordered and a one-hour horror anthology series Black Rose written and directed entirely by women and produced by Drew Barrymore is in development, though it would fit better on cable or streaming.

 

What projects are you interested in? Feel free to comment!

10 comments

  1. Max brown says:

    Looking at it, it seems there will probably only be 4 or 5 series getting picked up
    I hope the lost boys reboot get picked up and the Rosewell, I like the concept of illegal and the Spencer one. I’m not feeling anything else though,

  2. Domi says:

    Illegal,It’s The End of the World As We Know It,The Valiant,and the Spencer Paysinger Project seems the most interesting ones to me. (And the Roswell reboot too).

    • Yeah, I really don’t get losing Sabrina, especially based on what we’ve heard in the past about the Charmed reboot, which some sources say the CW brass were higher on. And I don’t think that many Supernatural fans really want to follow a group of new hunters, so I don’t have high hopes for Wayward Girls. Transylvania or Searchers would’ve been a better option for a Supernatural companion show.

      With Lady in the Mask, why wouldn’t there be a more recent update than two years ago? Though that could be explained in the show.

      End of the World seems like a companion show for iZombie, but does that show really do well enough to justify going for another similar one?

  3. Michaela says:

    The She Word, Bestseller, Lady in the Mask and It’s the End of the World as We Know It sound the most interesting to me, though I agree the last two could become way too convoluted if they don’t find a way to manage their 22-episode orders well. I’ve been waiting for another great sci-fi comedy like Men in Black for years and It’s the End of the World sounds like it could be one if it’s written and cast well.

    I’m also a sucker for soaps and dramedies. I hope that Life Sentence does well enough that the CW will be able to justify picking up another scandalous dramedy or soap, though they haven’t had too much luck with shows like that in the past few seasons. Prohibited (the Southern Heist soap) sounds like it could be fun for a season, but considering how much trouble Animal Kingdom has had with trying to make the episodes between heists interesting, it’d probably work better as a movie or a miniseries than a show. It’s interesting how many con artist/heist-related shows there’ve been in the past few seasons.

  4. Mal93 says:

    From all these projects : Black Rose, Hackvist, Epiphany, and it’s the end of the world as we know it are the ones i would check out.

    Since Pedowitz wants more female lead series, the she word or one of the two Gina Rodriguez projects have potential to land a pilot order.

    And since the loss of Sabrina (still a bit shocked about that one too), the cw will probably go for another reboot. The Charmed one could work, as long as there is some connection to the previous show.

    • Max brown says:

      Find it funny how all the CW shows have a female lead except for flash and arrow, in reality they should have more male leading shows haha. Got nothing against women I swear just pointing the obvious. Originals don’t count now that it’s cancelled

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