FOX is an interesting beast, and I’m curious why a network that only airs two hours of programming a night, filling at least 3 to 4 of those hours with “The X-Factor” and “American Idol,” needs 19 pilots. I know that the network isn’t exactly blazing trails with its scripted programming these days, but where do they think they’re going to find the room? Even Saturdays are committed to sports programming, and Fridays are all but television dead zones anymore. Ah well, here’s the list, broken out by dramas and comedies. Please note that two of the pilots are reality, and as you’ll very well know by the time I’ve been through all these networks, I don’t give a damn about reality.
All information about these pilots comes from the most incredible, most valuable The Futon Critic.
There are 8 dramas on the slate, and none of them excite me to the point where I will most definitely watch no matter what. I’ll break these out by most promising and least promising.
- Gang Related – Just like I did with ABC’s Gothica, if it’s set in San Francisco, you have my attention. Plus, the potential for some very gripping drama is here. Yeah, it’s another cop show with a twist, and until roles are cast we won’t truly know the potential, but for now it sounds a lot better than most of these pilot. “Drama about a gang member who is sent in to infiltrate the San Francisco Police Department and rises through its ranks but must balance his obligations to his crime family with an increasing sense of loyalty to his new ‘family’”.
- Rake – Judging by the very long winded description of this series, plus the fact that they’ve already scored Greg Kinnear as the lead, I would say this show sounds already like a sure thing. I’ll attach the synopsis, but this sounds like “House” with lawyers. I’m also wondering if this is more of a dramedy than a drama. “Academy Award nominee and Emmy Award winner Greg Kinnear (“Little Miss Sunshine,” “The Kennedys”) has been cast in the lead role of KEEGAN JOYE, a brilliant, but self-destructive criminal defense lawyer. Kinnear also will co-executive-produce. Based on the Australian AACTA nominee for Best Television Drama Series, RAKE follows the chaotic and comedic life of criminal defense lawyer KEEGAN JOYE (Kinnear). Brilliant, frustratingly charming, and with zero filter, Keegan is one of life’s great addicts. His staggering lack of discretion and inability to self-censor land him the cases that nobody else wants, but behind that lies a resolute optimism and belief in justice that fuel his dogged determination to defend those who seem beyond redemption. In addition to Keegan’s cases within the justice system, the show follows his personal trials and tribulations, including his ongoing battle against the IRS, his mounting debt to his bookie, overlapping affairs and liaisons with women, a hormonal son, an exhausted ex-wife and the evolving relationship between his two married best friends, Ben and Scarlett.
- Wild Blue – I’m just giving this show credit because it’s not about cops or lawyers. The idea has potential, but execution is everything. We’ll put this in the “we’ll see” column. “Drama set on a navy aircraft carrier with a touch of “upstairs downstairs” to the storytelling technique.”
- Boomerang – This may have worked as a comedy in the “Spy Kids” type realm. Although, they just signed Felicity Huffman today, so that will likely be an attention grabber. “Drama about a family who serve as assassins for the federal government.”
- Delirum – WTH? I like sci-fi, but this not my thing at all. “Drama set in a world in which the government requires that all teenagers be cured of love, a.k.a. deliria, to keep society safe.”
- The List – Another unoriginal, overdone idea. Honestly, is cable grabbing all the original stuff? “Drama about Deputy U.S. Marshal Dan Shaker who, when members of the Federal Witness Security Program begin getting killed, leads the hunt for the person who stole the file with the secret identities of every member of the program.”
- Sleepy Hollow – I don’t care if this is Kurtzman and Orci with another high profile project. A lot of their projects are cliché (okay, not Star Trek) and this could easily be a flop. They lost me with “sheriff” and “mysteries.” Enough cops already! “Modern-day take on “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” which follows Ichabod Crane as he partners with Sleepy Hollow’s local female sheriff to solve the mysteries of a town ravaged by the battle between good and evil.”
- Untitled JH Wyman Project – As I said with my ABC analysis, anything “untitled” doesn’t score well with me. I’m all for a good sci-fi premise, but I need more than this. Having met JH Wyman before though (I interviewed him for Fringe once) he’s a good showrunner and a good guy. I hope this project takes off for him, or at least future projects. “Drama set in the near future, when all LAPD officers are partnered with highly evolved human-like androids
I’m more impressed with the list of comedies from FOX. They’ve always been very strong in single camera and look like they’re trying to carry on in that vein. There are some here I might actually watch!
- Dads – All they had to say was Seth MacFarlane to assure something unique. There aren’t a lot of great “guy” comedies out there (one by my count) and they picked the right man to do one. The premise is gold, but there’s no cast yet. That’s the one thing that I see could derail this project. “Multi-camera comedy about two successful guys in their 30s who have their lives turned upside down when their nightmare dads unexpectedly move in with them.”
- The Gabriels– “Hart of Dixie” set in the Midwest perhaps? I’m only giving this show the benefit of the doubt because I live in the Midwest and there is a lot of ripe material for humor about our simple living. Remember “WKRP in Cincinnati?” Plus, they’ve case Rob Riggle, who I see to be perfect for this kind of role. “Single-camera comedy about a neurotic family with contempt for all things normal that tries their best to fit into their small Midwest town where everyone knows each other and politeness reigns.”
- I Suck at Girls– This time, I’m giving benefit of the doubt because of the name associated with this project. I adore Bill Lawrence. “Single-camera comedy billed as 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.”
- Enlisted– I’m not going to say this show has failure written all over it, but I know if I read this description in the TV Guide while picking my programming for the night, I wouldn’t select this one to watch. There aren’t any big names associated by this, but it’s an in house project for FOX, which always gives a show a competitive advantage. Plus again, there are no cops or lawyers. “Comedy which follows three very different brothers working together in the Army at a small base in Florida.”
- Friends and Family– British adaptations of comedies tend to sink more than swim at US networks. “Single-camera comedy based on the U.K. series “Gavin & Stacey” about new lovers who try to maintain their relationship while combining their polarizing families’ lives.”
- Lifestyle Lemonaid – I give FOX credit for kickstarting the whole single camera comedy thing, but this doesn’t sound like anything along that fine tradition at all. Blogs don’t make good comedy shows on networks. “Single-camera comedy based on nikki joel’s tell-all blog about her marriage to top WME talent agent brandt joel of the same name.”
- To My Assistant – They lost me at law firm. “Single-camera comedy about the assistants at a big New York law firm who band together as a family to help each other cope with the obnoxious, overbearing bosses who test their sanity on a daily basis.
- Two Wrongs – I think the title shares the prospect of this show quite nicely. “Comedy about a couple whose friends and family don’t think they are right for each other.”
- Untitled Goor and Schur Project – Aside from this being “untitled”, are they trying to remake Barney Miller? “Single-camera comedy about a diverse group of detectives in a precinct at the very edge of New York City.”
And that’s all for FOX. Any of these hold your interest? Coming up next, the always interesting NBC.