Are you ready for a bunch of really bad new TV shows? I know you are! It’s pilot pickup season, where the networks pick and choose their favorite ideas from the hundreds of concepts developed by Hollywood’s production studios. As you read through these show concepts, keep in mind: these are the best of the batch, according to the dudes in charge. Imagine what gets rejected. Buckle in, pals, this is gonna be a trip.
Gothica – No, not the Halle Berry movie Gothika. This one has a “C.” One of the biggest trends this season is, following the reasonable ratings success of Once Upon A Time and Grimm, everybody wants their own fairytale / public domain characters show. ABC’s is Gothica, described as “a sexy gothic soap set in present day that weaves together a mythology that incorporates the legends of Dracula, Jekyll and Hyde, Frankenstein and Dorian Gray.” Yuck.
Murder In Manhattan – Ryan Reynolds is executive producer on this hour-long dramedy about a mother-daugther detective team. Oh, they live in New York City in case the title didn’t tip you off. I’m sure glad I moved out of New York because it seems like people get murdered there just all the dang time.
Thunder Mountain – Based on a Disney theme park ride. Do I really have to write more about this? Okay, here goes. It’s a 19th century Western about a doctor who relocates his family to a frontier town during the Gold Rush. The town’s run by a powerful tycoon with less than salubrious intentions. I liked this better when it was called Deadwood and not based on a theme park ride.
Reckless – Don’t know much about this one yet. The official word is that it’s about “a resourceful problem solver who, when his wife is unjustly imprisoned during a political uprising overseas, resorts to entering a world of political intrigue, dangerous alliances and high emotional stakes in order to get her out.” Could have potential. One of the Mad Men producers is attached.
Spy – American remake of a British espionage comedy (it’s on Hulu Plus if you want to watch it) with Rob Corddry as the lead. That guy’s pretty funny, so let’s see if he’s ready for the big network grind.
She’s Got Balls / Safe At Home – Neither of those titles are final, thank God. Single-camera comedy about a multigenerational family (i.e. Modern Family) from the guys who wrote Cop Out. Not promising, but it’s looking like James Caan might get cast in the Al Bundy role which might be enough to save it.
Doubt – Drama about an ex-cop turned cheap lawyer who uses his knowledge of how the system works for his clients. It’s created by David Shore of House, who knows how to write memorable dirtbags. Could be fun.
Influence – New show from Kyle Killen, the creator of Awake, about two brothers who run a company that solves problems by manipulating people. Will probably be great and cancelled after one season, but that’s how the game is played!
Beverly Hills Cop – Brandon T. Jackson plays Axel Foley’s son, busting rich criminals. Eddie Murphy will be in at least the pilot episode. Whether that’s a plus or a minus is up to you. Expect lots of thinly-disguised Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan types.
Backstrom – An overweight, angry detective from Swedish crime novels (everybody loves those, right?) must get his self-destructive behavior under control. So it’s basically Jake And The Fat Man without Jake. Sounds great, guys.
Friends With Better Lives – A sitcom about friends. Who think they all have… better lives. Next!
Brenda Forever – Comedy about two periods of a woman’s life – her early teens and her early thirties. The Office‘s Ellie Kemper is apparently in talks to star, which is great as she’s very funny.
Alice In Wonderland – I wrote about this one a while back, but in case you forgot: three different Alice In Wonderland TV shows are in development right now, and NBC laid money down first. Set in modern times, Alice is now the evil queen of Wonderland and a teen girl named Clara must… ah, Hell. This is just Once Upon A Time again, again.
Sixth Gun – “The story of six mythical guns in the Old West. When the Sixth Gun, the most powerful and dangerous of the group, resurfaces in the hands of an innocent girl named Becky Montcrief, dark forces reawaken.” Sounds dumb as hell. From Carlton Cuse, one of the Lost guys.
Girlfriend In A Coma – Wow, that’s a horrible name for a TV show. It’s a horrible idea, too! A woman wakes up from a 17 year coma to discover that she has a teenage daughter! Because she was pregnant! “What’s an iPhone?” she asks… every single episode!
Holding Patterns – Sitcom about a group of friends who survive a plane crash and find their lives changed forever. Oh great, so it’s Lost with a laugh track. Good luck with that, guys.
Hatfields & McCoys – Jesus Christ, NBC, slow down! Charlize Theron-produced drama that takes the classic tale of the feuding hillbilly families and updates it for the modern day. Because if there’s one thing we need in the 21st century, it’s feuding hillbilly families.
Blacklist – The world’s most wanted criminal turns himself in to become an informant on everybody he’s ever worked with. Hmm gee gosh I wonder if he’s got some kind of cunning evil plan and this is all just a ruse oh gosh no that would never happen. Dumb!
DJ Nash Comedy – As yet untitled, this single-camera sitcom is loosely based on DJ Nash’s real life. Who the hell is DJ Nash? I keep picturing him as DJ Qualls wearing a Nash Bridges hat, or dressed up like Kevin Nash. Is that who he is?
Untitled Secret Service Drama – From Rand Ravich, who brought us the criminally underrated Life a few years back. Little is known about this hour-long drama at this point, only that it’s about a Secret Service agent who, in his first day on the job, is put right into the middle of an international crisis.
The List – Created by Ruben Fleischer (who would much rather you put Zombieland after his name and not Gangster Squad), it’s a drama about people in the Federal Witness Protection Program getting murdered – because somebody stole the list of who they were and where they were living! I told you guys not to put that thing up on the break room fridge!
Sleepy Hollow – “Ichabod Crane partners with Sleepy Hollow’s local female sheriff to solve the mysteries of a town ravaged by the battle between good and evil.” Oh shut up. Just shut the hell up. GRIMM IS ALREADY ON TV.
House Rules – Fox has a lot of sitcoms ordered, which means everything but New Girl is cancelled. They all look pretty bad, too. This is about a family in a small Midwestern town who are rude when the rest of the town is really nice. Okay, sure, Fargo, I saw that movie. Cool. Not actually cool.
Friends And Family – Based on a British TV series, it’s about a long-distance relationship that gets real when the two lovebirds meet the… friends and family! I really hope they say the title out loud at least once per episode.
To My Assistant – Workplace comedy about assistants at a huge New York City law firm. This could be pretty funny because those places are basically the worst places imaginable.
I Suck At Girls – The Sh*t My Dad Says guy wrote another book and got another TV show made out of that book. Uh, okay. Sure. Why not. We learn nothing. That’s just what we do.
Untitled Seth MacFarlane Comedy – Live-action sitcom from MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild (the trio behind Ted). Can’t fault them for sticking with what works. Doesn’t even have a title. Doesn’t even have a premise.
Rake – Americanized version of an Australian legal procedural starring Greg Kinnear as an out-of-control lawyer. This guy has no filter! He’ll say anything! Just like, oh, I dunno, almost every other TV lawyer ever? Just stop, guys.