Five Ways to Ruin Your Pilot

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. Continue reading

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Falling Skies


Falling Skies returns for its second season in a couple of weeks so it’s a good time to revisit how the TNT series began. When it debuted in the summer of 2011, carrying an Executive Producer credit from Steven Spielberg, I — and probably many others — had high hopes. (Remember, this was before the harsh lesson that was Terra Nova.) I couldn’t help but compare it to The Walking Dead, which had left us hungry for more six months earlier. Each centers on a band of survivors toughing it out after an apocalyptic event, and each story centers on a family man assuming a role of responsibility within the group. That’s where the similarities end. If you’re going to compare the two, Falling Skies will inevitably lose. So, yeah. Don’t do that. Continue reading