The Networks Went Crazy and Ordered a Ton of Pilots, and Here They Are


The BBC's Pulling, maybe coming to America via ABC.


Several television projects got their wings today as networks really started looking ahead to the 2013-2014 season and realized that they'd better have at least a couple shows that don't involve celebrities jumping from high places into pools of water. Pilot season is one of the most exciting times of the year because it reveals what trends are forming, which shows sound good on paper, and how stupid networks can be by showing interest in the next Work It.

Let's make this easy by just listing the pilots that were ordered today, along with my level of interest based on the vague loglines that announced:


At NBC...


DRAMA


The Blacklist

From John Eisendrath (Alias)

The premise: This follows a master criminal who turns himself in and agrees to give up all of his past connections, but only under the condition that he works with an FBI agent who he seemingly has no connection with.

Interest level: Ummm... an I-don't-really-care 5/10. That's about as non-committal as a person can be, right?


Untitled Rand Ravitch drama

From Rand Ravich (Life)

The premise: An untitled thriller about a secret service agent who gets involved in an international incident on his first day on the job. Expect lots of corruption and moral quandaries!

Interest level: 7/10 because THIS ONE GOES ALL THE WAY UP TO THE TOP!


The Sixth Gun

From Carlton Cuse (Lost)

The premise: Based on a graphic novel set in the Old West. When the most dangerous and powerful of a half-dozen mythical guns ends up in the hands of a girl, lots of bad people (some presumed dead) show up to try and get it.

Interest level: 7/10 because this is NBC and this is an interesting concept that the network will blow, right?



COMEDY


Untitled DJ Nash project, single-camera

From DJ Nash (Up All Night)

The premise: Try and follow this one: "A son idolizing his blind father and bemused by his mother’s newfound adolescence who watches his family come closer together post-divorce." It was originally set in the 1980s, but will now be set in the present day.

Interest level: Did you read that logline? How about 0/10?


Girlfriend in a Coma, single-camera

From Nurse Jackie co-creator Liz Brixius

The premise: This follows a 34-year old woman who wakes up from a coma to find out that she has a 17-year-old daughter from a pregnancy she didn't know she had.

Interest level: This sounds like it has enough plot for a five-minute sketch. 5/10.


Holding Patterns, multi-camera

From Justin Spitzer, producer of The Office

The premise: This ensemble comedy centers on a group of friends whose lives change after they all survive a plane crash.

Interest level: 3/10 because it's multi-cam and because what the hell do you do with this concept for more than half a season?


Untitled Victor Fresco project, multi-camera

From Victor Fresco, creator of Better Off Ted

The premise: Will and Grace's Sean Hayes stars as a man trying to be a father to his teenage daughter while simultaneously keeping his new mercurial boss happy.

Interest level: Gonna go out on a limb here and say this sounds boring. Three points for Hayes, so 3/10.



At Fox...


DRAMA


Rake

From Peter Duncan (creator of the Australian original) and Peter Tolan (Rescue Me)

The premise: Greg Kinnear stars as a mouthy criminal defense lawyer who is good at his job but has a hard time keeping his opinions to himself. He takes the cases no one else wants!

Interest level: 7/10, because of Kinnear, but really this is another lawyer show with a touch of House.


Sleepy Hollow

From Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci (Star Trek the movie)

The premise: A modern-day supernatural thriller based on the legendary town that follows Ichabod Crane as he partners with the local female sheriff to solves cases dealing with the battle of good and evil.

Interest level: 8/10, dropping a point or two with every episode just like every other recently aired crummy network supernatural thriller.


Delirium

From Karen Usher (Prison Break)

The premise: Based on the book series, this sci-fi show is set in a world where love is illegal and authorities can "remove" it with a special technique. So of course main character Lena Holoway falls in love just a few months before she's supposed to be de-loved.

Interest level: Sounds hokey. 4/10.


The List

From Paul Zbyszewski (Daybreak)

The premise: What happens when the identities of everyone in the Witness Protection Program get leaked to an unknown source? They all start dying! It's up to one Marshal to save them and hopefully give them bigger fake mustaches so they can stay hidden.

Interest level: How about 6/10? That sounds good.



COMEDY


I Suck at Girls, single-camera

From author Justin Halpern (the source book), and produced by Bill Lawrence (Cougar Town)

The premise: Here's the logline that the trades are using: "The story of a boy becoming a man, and a man becoming a father, in a time before coming of age was something you could Google." Barf. The book is about a man revisiting his ideas of love and life when he tells his dad he's getting engaged.

Interest level: This is from the same guy who gave us S#*! My Dad Says, so what's lower than zero?


Friends and Family, single-camera

From Gavin & Stacey creators James Corden and Ruth Jones

The premise: This is an Americanized version of the U.K. show Gavin & Stacey, about a couple in a long-distance relationship.

Interest level: How many U.K. remakes have been successful on U.S. network TV? One? Let's say 2/10.


House Rules, single-camera

From Justin Hurwitz (The League)

The premise: This family comedy is set in Wisconsin, and the family in question is a group of "introverted, neurotic" people who don't mind telling you more than you want to know.

Interest level: This is so vague it's something like a 2/10 to an 8/10. Who knows.


To My Assistant, format TBA

From blogger Lydia Whitlock

The premise: Young assistants to overbearing bosses in New York City get stepped on and complain about the oppression.

Interest level: I have a no-blog tolerance policy but I'm feeling generous so 1/10.



At CBS...


DRAMA


Beverly Hills Cop

From Shawn Ryan (Last Resort, Terriers, The Shield)

The premise: Hey! I know this one. Ryan brings the film franchise to TV with a story about Axel Foley's son joining the Beverly Hills police force. Brandon T. Jackson stars as the son, and Eddie Murphy will reportedly reprise his role in the show's pilot, with the possibility for more banana-in-the-tailpipe action in later episodes.

Interest level: Plus 10 points for Ryan, minus 2 points for a remake, minus 1 point for CBS, so 7/10 if my math is correct.


Backstrom

From Hart Hanson (Bones)

The premise: Based on the Swedish crime books, Backstrom is described as House with a detective. You know, brilliant but cranky.

Interest level: Another detective procedural? How about a 3/10.



COMEDY


Friends with Better Lives, multi-camera

From Dana Klein

The premise: This takes the "group of 20-somethings" formula and changes it by making it about 30-somethings! And they all think their friends have better lives than they do.
Interest level: The last CBS sitcom I was excited about was The Bob Newhart Show, so let's say 2/10.



At ABC...


DRAMA


Betrayal

From David Zabel (ER)

The premise: Based on the Dutch show Overspel, this drama is about a woman who strays from her marriage with a lawyer by cheating with a different sexy lawyer. But when her new bed buddy is assigned a case defending a murder suspect against her prosecuting husband, all sorts of twists and turns unfurl. Serves you right, cheating hussy!

Interest level: Primetime soap, so I'll pass. 4/10.


Venice

From McG's Wonderland Studios

The premise: A Romeo and Juliet-type scenario set in California's beach city.

Interest level: McG? ZERO!


The Returned

From author Jason Mott

The premise: What happens when the dead come back and rejoin their old families like nothing ever happened? The Returned, that's what!

Interest level: Finally, a show that sounds a bit interesting! 8/10



COMEDY


Pulling, single-camera

From Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky (Bad Teachers)

The premise: Based on the British series, three 30-something women live the lives they want to live, societal norms be damned.

Interest level: I have to stick with the British adaptation rule here and say this will probably butcher the magic of the original. 5/10.



What, that's all? I'm not sure I'm excited for many of these pilots. Do any of them interest you? Notice any trends so far?



Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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I recently watched the two existing series of the original Australian "Rake" and it is not going to work in the US let alone on network tv. If you've seen the original series, you'll realize that the lawyer's cases are only about 1/3 of the important stuff happening. the Australian series has a great story arc about the guys life: divorced with a son who only sleeps with way older women, in love with a prostitute, currently dodging the tax collector and an abuser of drugs and alcohol with a gambling addiction to boot. Yeah, Greg House can take lessons from this guy....
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The Return sounds the most intriguing to me. Beverly Hills Cop, I'll look at reviews after 3 shows to decide whether to watch it. The Blacklist sounds like a White Collar rip-off, besides it'll be on NBC -- I won't start any new NBC show until the second season has started, because NBC's so fickle & drops new shows like hot potatoes.
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Sleepy Hollow sounds great. The Return sounds like it could be fun, I will try that one out too. Delirium is sci-fi so I'm likely to try it, but the plot sounds awful. The Sixth Gun sounds OK, might try it. The rest sound like the same old.
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Except for Sleepy Hollow and maybe one or two other ones there, nothing else seems interesting. I hope the next new series season isn't worse than the one that just passed because this one was the worse one yet!
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I know others have mentioned this before but a lot of new series work better as mini series so why don't they just do that? What wrong with a few really good mini series instead of trying to drag out ideas and working them to death?
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So looks like 3 for me. The Sixth Gun, Delirium, and Sleepy Hollow all managed to pique my interest. The Returned sounds like a show worth looking into, but it's those first three that I know I'll be watching for sure when they air.
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Tim, Tim, Tim. You need to expand your base of pop culture mediums - Girlfriend in a Coma is most likely based on the book of the same name by Douglas Coupland. If it's even 1/5 as good as the (unbelievably cancelled) jPod adaptation, it'll be gold. Dunno if Coupland is involved in the series, but I suggest you read the book and get back to us on that rating.
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The Returned sounds cool. It also sounds exactly like the French series "Les Revenants", which in turn was based on the 2004 film of the same name apparently...
Anyone know if the American version has any relation to the French show? I hope it does, because the French series is awesome!
Should it be a bad sign that the coolest thing on the list is likely a copy of something else?
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THE RETURNED sounds kind of awesome. I give the BEVERLY HILS COP show a month before it's cancelled because A) It's based on a classic movie series and star of said series will not feature prominently and B) It's made by Shawn Ryan - ever since THE SHIELD ended none of the shows he's been involved with have been extended beyond 1 season - Even LIE TO ME died upon his arrival.
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I dont understand the network executives They do sometime approve some great mini series why not make them a full series like The Lost Room or Fallen or better yet take some great video game and make it into a series like God of War
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Lost room, I miss that. Maybe they tried to get a full series and weren't able to, so they became mini-series... I think I read somewhere that The 4400's first season would've been a mini-series if they were cancelled. And then they weren't so yay for us. The Lost room gave us an opening for continuation at the end, but I think nobody ever picked it up... sadly... Fallen could've been transformed into a series, more than continued further after the mini-series, I think. Alas, no one seems to agree with us.:)
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Nope, sorry,,,nothing.
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Really I'm agreeing with you Tim, there really is nothing that sounds awesome like last years newbies...
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I hate almost anything CBS/TNT because they are so internet-unfriendly. Otherwise, some things sound like they might be worth a look but nothing really sticks out as original. Ho hum.
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The Retuned. Hmm, anybody else think Babylon Fields?

Beverly Hills Cop. With luck it'll crash and burn the way most movie to TV shows seem to do.

Friends and Family. How many times do the American networks have to fail at adapting british shows before they stop doing it?

All in, a pretty depressing list this. Glad am I that, being in Australia, with luck, most of this stuff won't see the light of a broadcast signal here.
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Babylon Fields? No, I thought of Les Revenants. But then I guess it depends on whether Returned will be drama or dark comedy.
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Just read Delirium and looking forward to a TV adaptation. Should be action packed.
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Any non Aussies out there need to source the original Rake. Such a brilliant show. While the log line of the US remake certainly makes it sound like a typical lawyer show with a touch of House, the original Aussie series is so much more. I believe it would have translated better on a cable network but alas, it seems the networks have got a hold of it. The edgy nature of the original is bound to be compromised but still I'll be interested in checking it out. Also,the Aussie version has great supporting cast members for the cases of the week... Many names familiar to international audience like Toni Collette, Rachel Griffiths, Sam Neil and Hugo Weaving (to name but four).

As for the other pilots, none of the comedies sound at all appealing. As for the dramas, Beverly Hills Cop has to be the pick of the bunch based soley on Shawn Ryan involvement.
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Thanks for the tip. I just saw the first two episodes of the Australian original. It's GREAT. And I agree, it will probably become an ordinary US lawyer show. Anyway, a lot of Aussie-episodes left to look forward to...
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Glad you liked it. It was one of my favourite shows of 2010.
:-)
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Really the only one on there that kind of caught my attention was The Blacklist but only because it sounds incredibly similar to the, we-already-know-its-awesome, White Collar.
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I'd give a shot to The List and maybe (just maybe) to The Returned, but the rest? As Tim said.....not interested! I'm just tired of lawyer-shows. And the "comedy" ones? The last comedy show I've watched was Friends because it was realy good.....nothing better has become since that (maybe How I met your mother, but that's it). Stop making adaptations of old shows or movies. They're lame (like the one from McG, what a waste of time and money).
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Why all the British adaptions. They are all in English - Americans speak English right?
Do British accents enrage Americans so much they can't just watch the British (Better) versions.
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Maybe the tv companies don't make as much money from them if the don't do the remakes? haha
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The Returned sounds exactly the same as the French drama Les Revenants: "The lives of the residents of a small French town are changed when thousands of the recently dead inexplicably come back to life and try to integrate themselves into society that has changed for them" (from IMDB).
The premise sounds good but that film was boring as hell. I heard they made a version for French TV, but I haven't seen it yet. Hopefully, the American version is more interesting...
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I didn't see the film, but I really liked the tv show (up to the fourth episode, which is what I got to watch). Not a lot of action, though, so don't know if people would consider it boring.
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The List sounds good and The Returned; it reminds me of The 4400 and that's a good thing.
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They are all thefts. Not a single original idea as per the norm for network.
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The Returned sounds like the Elysian Fields pilot from several years back which I really liked.
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Babylon Fields rather, I see someone else mentioned it below. HAd the name mixed up in my head.
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WOW! Sounds like you don't like anything and certainly are not going to give anything a shot. The only thing we agree on, is that The Returned sounds promising. I happen to like Revolution, and agree with you that a long hiatus so that the writers can get their shit together, does not sound promising for the show. I was hoping to see the show grow as the actors and writers gel, but I don't think that is going to happen. I hope to see Supernatural hang in there, The Vampire Diaries is wonderful this year and I love the Emily Md show. The networks have killed so many wonderful shows in the past, what was that killing Jericho? People loved it. Oh well, we just soldier on, watch what crap they let us watch and fire up the dvr to revisit the shows we love that they took away, that we can't get on DVD. That DVR better not ever die, just saying.
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Hey Tim, just for the sake of it, any chance we could get an article that compares your initial opinion of new pilots based on loglines with their critical and commercial success over the past few years? Kind of like your own deadpool, but only first impressions and just you?
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Sleepy Hollow, The List and The Returned are the only ones I might check out. I completely skip over anything listed under the "comedy" category since there hasn't been a actual, genuinely funny sitcom on network tv in over a decade.
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Completely agree!! There is just no competing with the likes of "Cheers", "Seinfeld" and "Friends".

I will also pass on the comedies.
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Here's my take on the whole 'remake' issue:

The vast majority of the time, network execs underestimate the intelligence of the audience & overestimate the cultural differences.

If the networks just hurry & catch up with the inevitable and get in the habit of importing the good programs instead of remaking em, then eventually over time, the ratings for imports will improve as us 'mericans as a whole, acclimatize to those differences and accept a good program as it was intended to be seen.
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Can somebody explain why there is a need for a US 'remake' of Rake? The point being; why not just air the original series with Roxburgh? It seems superfluous to remake a show that is perfect as is AND still running. It just seems like a case of US television having too many people on contract and a lack of fresh idea's to work with so instead of taking a sensible path they choose the convoluted one.
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Great point. I was a latecomer to Rake but found it to be my favourite Aussie show since Summer Heights High. I just think that it may be too colloquial and intelligent (Two and a Half Men at ten seasons and counting, Arrested D done after three - case rested) for American audiences
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Lots of new cop shows, no new medical shows (yay!!!) and a bunch of horrifically bad and skip-worthy comedies. Yeah, next year looks a bit grim, doesn't it?
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I hope The Returned is like John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel Handling the Undead. That is something I would watch.
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The only one that caught my eye was Sleepy Hollow, and my first reaction was 'mmm, sounds a bit like Haven' which I love - will be hard to shed that preconception when the pilot finally airs...
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The Returned sounds pretty good; but that's about all. I agree about US takes on British shows - they *never* work. I don't know why, Americans have a good sense of humour - perhaps us Brits are just *too* quirky with our humour and it just doesn't translate?
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About 1 of these shows I might look at.
Rest is more of the same old...the crappy same old sadly.

Most promising, The Returned and Sleepy Hollow.
Biggest facepalm potential would be Sixth Gun. Not as promising sounding as Revolution so the fall from grace will be shorter, but on the other hand it has Cuse...so yeah that one is doomed.
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Yeeaaah, something based on a Dutch show. Maybe I'm proud of that and maybe I shoudl see the original. Haven't seen it yet but if it's picked up in the US?
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None of these sound remotely interesting to me. And I am about done with TV. I canceled cable for a few years and didn't miss it. Got it back as part of a bundle. I'm canceling when the contract is up. I'm tired of good shows getting canceled (like Leverage), and the awful stream of reality shows, copycat cop shows, and bad comedies they keep throwing at us. I don't understand the decisions the networks are making. I'm done with them. I'll just stick with Hulu and DVDs.
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Couldn't agree with you more. TV is a wasteland and paying for it a waste of money.
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"How many U.K. remakes have been successful on U.S. network TV?"

Man of the House ran for around nine seasons, as I recall, including a lengthy run in the top ten. Of course, they had to Americanize the name of the show first.
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Oh, btw, I forgot. As Doc mentioned, 'Man About The House' was specifically 'Threes Company' stateside
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Successful? That's kinda subjective in my head. Here's a small non-comprehensive list that range from 'great' to 'doesn't suck' in no particular order:

UK- Steptoe & Son US- Sanford & Son
UK- Till Death Us Do Part US- All In The Family
UK- The Thick Of It US- Veep
UK- Being Human US- Being Human
UK- Keep It In The Family US- Too Close For Comfort
UK- The Office US- The Office
UK- Not The 9:00 News US- Not Necessarily the News
UK- Shameless US- Shameless
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The Gavin & Stacey clone will be a struggle - it's not just the distance, it's the different cultures - chavvy Essex boy meeting a smalltown Welsh girl, with all the weirdness of both those locations and their peculiar friends and families... maybe if it's set across the US/Canada border? The UK original is one of the best regarded sitcoms from over here in recent times, and both writers had major roles as best friends of the leads.

Like the sound of the Returned... shame there's no big new series of the stature of Spartacus or Game of Thrones to look forward to though.

The US makes great sitcoms in it's own right, they don't need to recreate British ones - better to be seen as they were intended... with the honourable exception of The Office.

Sad to hear of Ben & Kate's demise (it's just started airing in the UK), looks good fun so far, and also sad to read Leverage is done (we've not started Season 5 here yet). Some of the best US shows seem to get axed before their time - most notably the wonderful Jericho a few years back, but there are dozens of others! Frustrating to read that a show you just started getting into has already been cancelled in the US!
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Very little of the above got my pulse elevated. The crap that's on now (reality in its many form) is just.....stupid. TNT recently dropped a People's Choice Award show AFTER the show won the award. "Leverage" is a dearly beloved show after 5 years. It is a modern day "Robin Hood" type show. A team of criminals pool their resources to right the wrongs committed on John Public by the large corporations of the world. After 5 Seasons the show has they same cast, crew, writers, and all. "Leverage" is a huge success with 10,000s of fans "Grifters". If a network could bring that back, there would be good, unique TV again!
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Leverage was/is a great show. Will continue to watch it over and over on DVD. And the series finale was simply awesome.
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Who approve this crap !!!
Nothing seems that interesting except maybe the returned (sounds like another 4400)
I may watch the pilot of Beverly Hills Cop but that's for nostalgic reasons
NBC do yourself a favor cancel it all and bring back Awake
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Oh and Delirium sounds like a chick flick remake of Equilibrium
but without all the cool fighting which means it will be lame
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yeah..but only love is illegal!?... from all the emotions in the world, only love is dangerous? rage, hate, sef-loathing and other (self)destructive feelings are cool? So, it seems not only lame but also dumb... anyway, if we are lucky maybe she knows how to fight or shoot guns (maybe even at the same time....lol).
But IMO, above all the great fighting scenes, Equilibrium remained in my memory for the awesome concept of having a world where emotions don't ruin your life anymore (not that u are left with any real life to talk about), and from the description of the series, I think they missed this whole point which is sad
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Actually 98% of these seem like terrible excuses for entertainment, but there are a few I had specific issue with...
"the Blacklist" sounds an awful lot like White Collar with some details tweaked.
"the Sixth Gun" sounds a little like Firefly with the western aspect. But it's Carlton Cuse so it can't be all bad.
"Girlfriend in a Coma" seems like it would be better as a drama. I'm not sure how it would work as a comedy beyond the usual waking up from a coma cliches.
"Rake" seems like Harry's Law but with a male lead
"Venice" seems like it would be one suntanned cliche after another, just like most of the O.C. but it will probably do well on ABC.

Side note: NBC needs all the help it can get, but they should put their thinking caps back on and come up with something else.

Now to the 2% that sound good...
"Sleepy Hollow" seems like it's going to be a copy of Elementary but with a different classic story as its source. But seeing as through Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow movie from 1999 is one of my favorites, I'll give this show a shot. The FOX angle makes me cautious.
"the Returned" sounds interesting. There's a lot of potential ideas to be explored there. Hopefully ABC doesn't find a way to muck this up like they have done recently with every drama that isn't soapy.
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"the Sixth Gun" sounds a little like Firefly with the western aspect. But it's Carlton Cuse so it can't be all bad."
I was gona say the opposite. It had a Firefly sound to it, but then they have a Lost writer and a mythological theme...it will be all bad. :)
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I didn't say I was going to watch it, I just said it wouldn't be all bad :)
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Wow.... ONE show I might be interested in... Sleepy Hollow... jeez... this is getting ridiculously good for my work's sake...
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Pulling was awful. There is no "magic of the original" for this remake to butcher.
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Zzzz--huhwhat? Is it 2014 yet?
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Sleepy Hollow as a show sounds like it would turn out to be something like Haven.
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Which means it will be awesome!
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That's a pretty impressive list of new shows, but I'd rather have Leverage back! I still think that any network that will be smart enough to pick up Leverage won't regret it! All the fans are waiting for it!
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POSSIBLY 'Returned' but apart from that. No way! c'mon networks, pull your fingers out! I recently lost Fringe and I NEED another GOOD Sci-fi show to replace it!!
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I have to be honest, None of the new pilots are of interest to me. I would rather read a book then watch these tv shows unless a network picks up Leverage. It was a unique show and just won the PEOPLES CHOICE AWARD for best cable. If a network picks up Leverage they will also get a large fan base. As others have said...this show is a Winner.
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None of the new shows coming out on any network look good to me much prefer my LEVERAGE.. ! If there is a network looking for a show for their lineup that will be a winner.!! they need to pick up LEVERAGE who comes with a fanbase of KANIACS and GRIFTERS and they also won LEVERAGE a PEOPLES CHOICE AWARD for best cable drama!!
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I looked at the potential scripts for pilots and i had a few favorites. Only 2 were picked up so far of the many of course

I'd check out the sixth gun and the returned because they sound like they could be good if done right
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Instead of ordering pilots that will probably justifiably sink without a whimper, why not bring "Leverage" back. There is an established fan base, terrific writers, scripts, and cast. Make sense? Probably why they don't do it.
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Anyone suspect those last four were the same person?
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Haha. It does seem that way. Four posts close to each other talking about bringing Leverage.
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ABC: You called it on Betrayal, total nonsense primetime soap clunk, pass.

Venice, holy crap are you going to faceplant, what has McG done right lately? I would love to have been at the pitch meeting for that turd: "you know how Shakespeare set Romeo & Juliet in Verona, Italy and Italy has another famous city named with a V called Venice, and Los Angeles has a beach community also named Venice? Yeahhhhhh."

The Returned, yeah, that does sound interesting. If it's zombie junk I'm out, but if it's a more thoughtful take on the idea then color me intrigued.

Pulling, sounds like another American sitcom remake that'll flop on its face (see AbFab). Why cancel Don't Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23 for this?
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Alright, I'm putting this here.

McG executive produced Chuck, Supernatural, Human Target and The O.C.

The guy is a lousy director, but his company puts together really cool TV more often than not.

I'll give you a pass for that one, because who keeps tracks of executive producers on TV in the age of the showrunner being the star, right? But Tim doesn't get a pass. I knew this off the top of my head, and I don't make a living as a TV critic.
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