Best Deaths in Pilots

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.

*Conveniently the week that saw the death of science fiction icon Ray Bradbury. Coincidence? io9’s tagline is “We come from the future.” Continue reading

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Best Pilots of 2011?

It seems when making “best pilots” lists, lots of writers like to make predictions. Many lists were made chronicling what could be the best pilots hitting TV in 2011. I cannot find a list describing how those predictions played out. What do you think were the best pilots of the year?

I am guessing many, many people would include Game of Thrones. The pilot effectively introduced a whole world and a slew of characters while keeping viewers on the edges of their seats right up to the final moment. I’d also like to suggest Wilfred, just for sheer originality, and Locke & Key, if we can count that even though it never aired. American Horror Story was way up there, again for the originality and hook of the pilot, even though the season may not have lived up to expectations.

Here is a list of the best new shows of 2011 from HitFix – a related subject, but not quite the same.

So, what were the best pilots of 2011? Please comment!

American Gothic

Okay, it’s compare-and-contrast time. American Horror Story fans, meet American Gothic. I’ve been thinking there is a resemblance there, beyond just the title, and the recent addition of enigmatic Sarah Paulson to the cast of the former prompted me to finally write this.

Let’s start with the subject matter. Subverting the archetype of the happy American family has been done in practically every genre of entertainment, but works especially well for horror. The idea of evil lurking beneath the facade of normalcy may be what scares us more than anything. Continue reading

American Horror Story

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a pilot that convinced me that the ensuing show was going to be something differentAmerican Horror Story employs a lot of conventions we’ve seen before, yet this episode completely held my attention. I can’t exactly say I loved it–it’s no The Walking Dead, the brilliance of which I will never shut up about–but it has that thing. I can’t help but compare it to Locke & Key, which was screened at Comic-Con this year but never actually made it TV. The powerful aesthetic of American Horror Story (on FX) further convinced me that Locke & Key failed only because it was shopped to the wrong network, but I digress… Continue reading