Archive for the ‘About Pilots’ Category
I did an earlier post of match-the-pilot title-to-the show, but here’s a fresh batch. Some are obvious, so are not. See if you can guess which shows’ pilots these are:
3. The Beginning
4. Boardwalk Empire
6. We Just Decided To
7. The Man Trap
8. Movin’ In
9. Death Has a Shadow
10. Help Wanted
Answers after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »
If you’re at all into science fiction, I don’t have to convince you that Isaac Asimov was an amazing guy. He wrote about a zillion books and imagined worlds and technology that laid the foundation for science fiction as we know it. He coined the term “robotics,” for frak’s sake. But did you know he was working on a television show when he died? He shot a pilot episode, and the footage has been collected into a four-part video called Visions of the Future.
I admit when I first heard this news, I was hoping the imagined show was a drama — something along the lines of I, Robot meets The X-Files. This is not that.
You wouldn’t think Christmas would be a particularly propitious time to set your pilot. Pilots usually air in the fall, or just after the holidays. And Christmas is the season for marathons of shows and movies you already know and love. But when you think about it, the holidays are rife with drama and emotion — often of the familial warfare variety. So there’s some material there.
There are a handful of pilots — that I’m aware of — that are set during the holiday season. Here’s a list. Are there others? Please leave comments if you know! Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve been trying to think of a good reason to write a post on this topic for a long time. The Mindy Project is as good a reason as any.
The Mindy Project has everything going for it, with Mindy Kaling having amused us for years as both an actress and writer on The Office. She plays a doctor; we haven’t had a good doctor comedy since Scrubs. As much as I hate the term “adorkable,” she is that, a point not unnoticed by executives who scheduled her show back-to-back with New Girl. She’s got B.J. Novak on board as a producer and a director (Charles McDougall) with The Office and Parks and Recreation cred.
The pilot was released a month early, along with those of some other Fox shows, on Hulu. Some people like it. I do not. Here’s why. It commits a number of sins that are sure to damn a pilot straight to hell. Read the rest of this entry »
Can you tell if a TV show is going to be any good based on its pilot? io9′s Charlie Jane Anders recently posted How to Tell from a Pilot if a TV Show is Going to be Any Good and offered some insightful tips on how to tell. She makes some great points, like how writing oneself into a hole or having a boring “thing of the week” is a recipe for failure. But quite simply, the answer to the question above is “no.” Read the rest of this entry »
Is it me, or has it gotten really trendy to use the device known as in media res (“in the middle of things”) in pilots? It can be a very effective way to tell a story, obviously, since it’s been around longer than dirt. But I can’t help but feel like it’s become a crutch of sorts. As television has brought us increasingly sophisticated shows like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and The Walking Dead, we expect more literary writing styles. So maybe certain devices get used for their own sake. Read the rest of this entry »
Inspired by i09′s Death Week* and more specifically, their re-posting of Charlie Jane Anders‘ Ten Coolest Death Scenes in Science Fiction History, I got to thinking about how many characters bite the big one in pilots. Death often marks a beginning — often for the survivor learning to carry on, but sometimes even for the dead getting on with the afterlife. So, going to the great DVR in the sky makes a good event for a first episode. Here are some of my favs, in no particular order.
Major spoilers after the jump.
The premiere episode of Glee, airing in February of 2009, was one of the great pilots. Which might leave you to ponder, upon the conclusion of the dramedy’s third season… WTF?
Glee wouldn’t be the first show to start off strong and then squander audience goodwill in a sea of contrivances and guest stars (Chuck, anyone?) And actually, it is still hugely popular and considered a success by many measures. The cast has sold more records than The Beatles. Maybe I’m the only one who hates it. Well, I can’t be the only one, as evidenced by this blog, Glee Sucks. Yes, you really have to compare the Glee of the pilot to — let’s call it post-Gwyneth Glee — to appreciate the magnitude of its decline.
The pilot was no less than groundbreaking. It aired after the Superbowl, months before the show would officially premiere. It was so wacky and in-your-face and, dare I say, life-affirming. I still have the New Directions rendition of “Don’t Stop Believing” on my iPod.
Here are the top 5 (but by no means only) ways that Glee has let us down since its pilot: Read the rest of this entry »
Let’s talk backdoor pilots for a moment, shall we?
When you think spinoff, you usually to think of a story that follows an existing character to a new setting (think Frasier, A Different World, or *shudder* Joey). Spinoffs that originate with backdoor pilots are generally just new shows from the existing show’s creators. The characters get introduced in an episode of original show — and episode that appears to have very little if anything to do with… well, anything. Read the rest of this entry »
Now, I consider myself far from qualified to determine what are the best pilots of all time because 1. Of all the pilots ever made, I have seen only a small fraction of them, and 2. All time is long a time, and implies that it encompasses the future, too, and I haven’t figured out time travel yet. (Where are you, Dr. Tom?) I previously made a list of My Five Favorite Pilots of All Time, which is probably due for an update, but for a broader view, I decided to comb the interwebs.
The following is a list of links to various sources, written over the past few years, listing the best of the best in pilots. Read the rest of this entry »