We've received an unofficial list of the TV pilots the broadcast networks have ordered for next season. Boldly Going Nowhere and Mitch Hurwitz's project sound promising; David E. Kelley can't make anything but legal dramas.
The list we got, compiled by an agency and then forwarded to basically everyone in Hollywood, is long. So we picked the most interesting shows. Most pilots that a network orders won't lead to a series order, and those that get that far are typically cancelled after only a couple episodes. So there's no guarantee you'll ever see any of these shows.
Happy Town, ABC
Logline: "In the wake of a small town's first crime in seven years, some dark truths are revealed about some familiar faces. They say every town has its secrets... that doesn't even begin to describe Happy Town."
Why Yay: Could be mysterious, creepy fun. Twin Peaks (yay!) meets Desperate Housewives (boo). If cast right, there could be an unending panorama of interesting characters.
Why Nay: If cast, and written, badly, it could be an overly-quirked disaster.
Logline: "Supernatural tale based on the feature film centering around a small town where strange things begin to occur when a mysterious man begins pursuing three witches."
Why Yay: Um... witches?
Why Nay: Um... witches? Also, poor John Updike.
I, Claudia, ABC
Logline: "Follows a young attorney who is destined to be a contender for the presidency but today she just can’t find the right guy."
Why Yay: The title is cute.
Why Nay: Um, everything else. First off, a lady president??? Hahahaha. And it's not even really about politics, it's about boys. Also, the "going to be president" thing didn't work for Jack & Bobby. Like, it didn't work hard.
Inside the Box, ABC
Logline: "Set in a Washington network news bureau, an ambitious female news producer and her colleagues pursue "the story" at all costs, juggling their personal animosities and crises of conscience against the daily deadlines of a nightly news show."
Why Yay: Could be Sorkin-y (good Sorkin) inside dish.
Why Nay: It's from Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes' production company, Shondaland. That does not bode well.
Logline: "Revolves around prodigious students and faculty at an innovative performing-arts school in New York, where young men and women explore the combustible blend of contemporary music and dance while balancing their dreams, hopes and struggles."
Why Yay: Read that description again.
Why Nay: Read that description again.
Logline: "Remake of the famed mini-series, centering around a Homeland Security agent and her personal and professional struggles after aliens arrive."
Why Yay: The original miniseries was interesting and scary in parts.
Why Nay: Probably going to be just a cheap Battlestar Galactica knock-off.
Legally Mad, NBC
Logline: "Legal drama centering on a high-end Chicago law firm and the legal and social drama that surrounds the founding partners and their associates."
Why Yay: Kenny Ortega, of High School Musical and Newsies fame, is directing the pilot. Fascinating.
Why Nay: Everything else. Terrible title, terrible, boring premise. It's from David E. Kelley who is just... annoying.
Logline: "A man, who supposedly died in 9/11, returns home after having been missing for 7 years, without having aged a day."
Why Yay: Sounds mysterious. We like the idea of fantasy mixing with very real, tangible things.
Why Nay: Sounds a little one-note. Could easily devolve into conspiracy-laden dullness. Also, too soon?
Eva Adams, Fox
Logline: "A self-absorbed, sexist, successful sports agent receives a wake-up call when he wakes up one morning to discover that he's somehow been changed into a woman."
Why Yay: Puns!
Why Nay: Women trapped inside men (or men trapped inside women) are rarely funny.
Cougar Town, ABC
Logline: "Newly single 40-year-old and her 17-year-old son hang out. Single Cam."
Why Yay: Courteney Cox may be involved. She can be funny! Sometimes. Right?
Why Nay: The term "cougar" was horrible when it was first coined. Now, years later, it's insufferable.
The Middle, ABC
Logline: "Explores the life of an extended lower middle-class family in the Midwest through the eyes of the mother. ROSEANNE meets LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE. Single cam."
Why Yay: Refreshingly it is not about rich people.
Why Nay: This is actually just one of the myriad shows about the "middle class" that are on the list. They'll probably just be pandering annoyances.
At Last, CBS
Logline: "Story about people getting married a little later in life. Multi Cam."
Why Yay: Haha, CBS and old people! Like peanut butter and jelly! Someone get Henry Winkler!
Why Nay: See above.
Untitled Mitch Hurwitz Project, CBS
Logline: "Dysfunctional family comedy revolving around adult siblings and their parent who are over-involved in one another’s lives. Hybrid."
Why Yay: Hurwitz (Arrested Development) is funny.
Why Nay: Also in the description: "Jason Biggs to star."
Boldly Going Nowhere, Fox
Logline: "Centering on the crew of a spaceship, which is led by a rogue captain. The stories explore what happens between the adventures and how the crew members take care of daily routine things on the spaceship. Single Cam."
Why Yay: This is from the people behind It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, a show that is always funny. So that's promising.
Why Nay: If this is, in fact, to be on Fox and not on their sister cable net FX, the crew probably can't get away with the same R-rated stuff they do on Sunny. Also, they probably can't star on both shows, right? Sigh.
Also on the list is the requisite dozen or so lawyer and doctor shows. One about nurses, Mercy, could be interesting. Though it might get quality-eclipsed by the upcoming Showtime series Nurse Jackie, which stars the indefatigable Edie Falco. There are also about four Washington-set programs, which must be due, in part, to the nation's renewed, hopeful interest in politics. Thanks, Obama!