Grant Gustin as Barry Allen a.k.a. The Flash, the titular lead character of The CW's Flash pilot.
You've already perused our picks for the 15 pilots we hope get picked up to series for 2014 (right? If you haven't, get to it!). Well, while digging through the pile o' pilots looking for good ones, we also happened upon a few "not-so-good" offerings. So naturally we had to compile a companion list, of 10 pilots we hope DON'T get picked up to series.
What makes a pilot unappealing on paper? This year it's recycled ideas, spin-offs no one asked for, trends that've passed their expiration date, and plain old stupidity. Sure, what's on paper may not be reflective of the finished product, and any one of the 10 pilots listed below could go one to be the next Arrested Development or Breaking Bad. But they'll more likely be the next Work It or FlashForward.
Genre: Glee and Once Upon a Time had a baby musical-dramedy
Starring: Timothy Omundson (Psych), Joshua Sasse (The Neighbors, Rogue), Vinnie Jones (the lizard guy from The Cape), Karen David (Castle's Sara), Mallory Jansen. From The Neighbors' Dan Fogelman
What it's about in one sentence: It's a fairy-tale musical—do I need to continue?—about a prince who tries to rescue his true love from an evil king.
Why we don't want to see it: Did you read that "fairy-tale musical" part? This is the kind of mash-up that's tolerable for the span of a 90-minute movie, but a full television series? After two episodes, we might find ourselves wanting to pull the singers' leotards over their heads and send them to Never Never Land.
Potential saving graces: It's a concept that's so crazy it might just work, and if it works as a parody, it could be like a really long Mel Brooks movie.
How I Met Your Dad (CBS)
Genre: The multi-cam sitcom spin-off no one wanted
Starring: Greta Gerwig (the indie darling who headlined Frances Ha), Drew Tarver (UCB comedy troupe), Tiya Sircar (The Crazy Ones' Allie), Nick D'Agosto (Masters of Sex, Forrest MacNeil's lackey in Review), Andrew Santino (that guys who plays that horrible character from Mixology), the voice of Meg Ryan
What it's about in one sentence: A woman tells her children how she met their dad, what else did you think it was going to be?
Why we don't want to see it: For as good as How I Met Your Mother was in its glory years, did it really warrant a spin-off that simply reverses the gender roles? HIMYM got lucky with its excellent cast, but the chances of that happening twice are about as likely as a HIMYM series finale do-over. And any show that comes pre-saddled with the burden of being compared to another cherished show is just asking for it. Good luck with that, Lady Ted!
Potential saving graces: If How I Met Your Dad learns from the mistakes of its mothership and promises to tell a tighter, more compact story that doesn't drag on for nine seasons, it could work. And Emily Spivey (Up All Night before it was dismantled and reassembled by NBC) is booked to run the show, so there's a good boss on board.
CSI Cyber Crimes Spin-off (CBS)
Genre: Ancient franchise gets modern-day-makeover procedural
Starring: Patricia Arquette (Medium, but first and foremost True Romance), Gil Bellows (Vegas). Either this is a small team, or there's still plenty of casting to go!
What it's about in one sentence: This potential new arm of the venerable CBS franchise investigates the cyber crimes that the CSI guys in Vegas, Miami, and New York need a little help with.
Why we don't want to see it: Television doesn't need another branch of the CSI franchise, especially one about laptop screens filling up with fatal error pop-ups that plays on the hacker stereotype. Arquette's return to our screens in the backdoor pilot was a welcome sight, but the episode itself was the saaaaaaaame ol' sh*t, and failed to convince us that it deserves its own series.
Potential saving graces: OR it could be an evolutionary adaptation of the franchise, bringing CSI to the forefront of next-gen procedurals by telling compelling and relevant stories about identity theft, hackers, penis pills, and Nigerian princes.
Untitled Kevin Williamson stalking drama (CBS)
Genre: "Has anyone done a procedural about stalking? No? Okay, let's do a procedural about stalking" drama
Starring: Maggie Q (Nikita, owner of legs for dayyyys), Dylan McDermott (Crisis, Enlightened, and My Best Friend's Weddi—no wait, Hostages, American Horror Story, and The Practice), Mariana Klaveno (Devious Maids). Created by Kevin Williamson (The Following, Dawson's Creek)
What it's about in one sentence: A couple cops crack down on stalkers as part of the Threat Management Unit of the LAPD.
Why we don't want to see it: Stalkers? Hmmm. So like, creepy guys who climb trees and touch themselves while looking in windows? People who have cut-outs of celebrities taped to their walls? Kevin Williamson just doesn't make good television anymore, and the last thing we need is another show like The Following hollowing our brains out.
Potential saving graces: Maggie Q!
NCIS: New Orleans (CBS)
Genre: Big, easy Big Easy procedural
Starring: Scot Bakula (Men of a Certain Age, Quantum Leap), Zoe McLellan (Dirty Sexy Money), CCH Pounder (The Shield, Sons of Anarchy), Lucas Black (Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, the best of the F&F movies)
What it's about in one sentence: Imagine CBS's ridiculously popular NCIS... but in New Orleans!
Why we don't want to see it: First it's Los Angeles, then it's New Orleans, then it's the entire country. We are getting closer to the United States of NCIS and we must stop it before it's out of control! Plus, this is another backdoor pilot that already aired, and it was a total failure. If the boring two-part "Crescent City" is what we have to look forward to if CBS greenlights this spin-off, it's instantly on our Do Not Watch list. Poor Bakula.
Potential saving graces: Bakula, for one. His comeback career is complete if this gets picked up. And if NCIS is going to jazz itself up, New Orleans is a fantastic place to do it. Maybe Bakula will run into Klaus!
Babylon Fields (NBC)
Genre: Risen-from-the-dead rise-from-the-dead drama
Starring: Meagan Good (Deception), Skeet Ulrich (Jericho), Virginia Madsen (Witches of East End)
What it's about in one sentence: The dead come back to life in Babylon, New York, and they're getting stronger and stronger—but they don't want to eat people.
Why we don't want to see it: This was actually in development at CBS back in 2007, but the network passed on it. NBC apparently couldn't resist having its own zombie show, and dove through CBS's dumpster to get it. The problem is the undead-coming-back-to-life-but-not-as-flesh-eating-monsters genre is pretty crowded at the moment, thanks to SundanceTV's excellent French import The Returned, ABC's Resurrection, and A&E's upcoming The Returned adaptation. This was a great idea back in 2007 and the CBS pilot was good, but enough with the dead people already.
Potential saving graces: Not many people have seen the original The Returned, the best of the genre, and Babylon Fields has an opportunity to tell a story that's just different enough to be a worthwhile addition.
Identity (The CW)
Genre: Complicated CW drama, say what?
Starring: Ahna O'Reily (The Help), Matt Barr (Hellcats), Stephen Hagan (the land known as Ireland)
What it's about in one sentence: Okay try to follow along: A young woman in need of an organ transplant discovers she's related to a powerful family and that the family's son is her only shot at a viable donor, but then the CIA asks her to secretly investigate the family for their involvement in domestic terrorism, forcing her to turn on the family that saved her life.
Why we don't want to see it: We may not want all CW shows to be superheroes and vampires, but we also don't want it to be this unnecessarily complicated drama that sounds like a shaky combination of Revenge (or more accurately, Deception) and Homeland. Does The CW really have the chops to pull off a show like this? Rhetorical question.
Potential saving graces: Then again, maybe a show like this signals that The CW is ready to grow up a bit? (Honestly, the chances of Identity getting picked up are slim to none, given the network's current portfolio.)
Supernatural: Bloodlines (The CW)
Genre: The Supernatural drama minus Sam and Dean that's kind of like The Originals
Starring: Lucien Laviscount (who cares, his name is awesome!), Nathaniel Buzolic (The Vampire Diaries), Sean Faris (Pretty Little Liars), Melissa Roxburgh (Supernatural, Arrow) and every other young actor that the network can reuse
What it's about in one sentence: Set in same universe as Supernatural, Bloodlines follows five monster families (werewolf, vampire, shapeshifter, djinn, and ghouls) that run Chicago and the wannabe cop who wants revenge for the death of his girlfriend who was killed when she was pushed into a store shutter door.
Why we don't want to see it: Just like with CSI: Cyber Crimes and NCIS: New Orleans, the backdoor pilot already aired as a Supernatural episode, so we have a decent idea of what Supernatural: Bloodlines will look like. And it's not good. The idea has very little connection to its source material outside of the Supernatural title, and its not-so-impressive ensemble cast of not-so-compelling characters hasn't left us wanting more. The crappy Photoshop job above would actually make a better show.
Potential saving graces: Ummm... occasional visits from Sam and Dean to hang out with 20-somethings and be the old dudes in the room?
Flash (The CW)
Genre: Another superhero show on The CW because there can never be enough superheroes apparently!
Starring: Grant Gustin (Arrow as a set-up for this pilot, Glee, 90210), Jesse L. Martin (Law & Order), Tom Cavanagh (Ed), Candice Patton (The Craigslist Killer)
What it's about in one sentence: It's the origin story of that superhero who is totally fast, Barry Allen, a.k.a. The Flash.
Why we don't want to see it: Look, this does not reflect the opinion of the entire TV.com staff, just me: I'm sick of superheroes. They're everywhere. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm an idiot blah blah blah. But superpowered people in costumes is a played-out concept for me, so I just can't get excited for another superhero show. Flash will make Arrow fans happy, and that's fine. Send your complaints, as always, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Maybe this is the beginning of my origin story as a supervillain?
Potential saving graces: Gustin already made a positive impression on Arrow as the speedy fella, and let's be honest: We all need to root for The Flash, he's like the Aquaman of the land.
The McCarthys (Fox)
Genre: Bawston blue-collah multi-cam cawmedy
Starring: Jack McGee (The Fighter), Joey McIntyre (YES that Joey McIntyre of New Kids on the Block), Laurie Metcalf (Getting On)
What it's about in one sentence: A loud-mouthed, sports-crazy Boston family.
Why we don't want to see it: Boston sports fans are intolerable enough in the real world; imagine hearing a canned laugh track every time one of these characters makes a crack about Eli Manning's four interceptions or puts on a fake Mike Napoli beard. NO THANKS.
Potential saving graces: It should play well in the Boston market!
Which of these pilots sounds the worst to you? And will anyone else speak up against Flash or will Tim be left to fend for himself?