25 Years of Fox Pilots

Since the Fox network is celebrating its 25th anniversary on April 22, I thought I should write a blog post in honor of it. First I thought I’d pick a show that Fox prematurely cancelled, but that would be like shooting zombies in a barn.

Then I realized, I have already blogged about enough Fox shows to keep the inhabitants of Omicron Persei 8 entertained until someone decides to reboot Single Female Lawyer. So, here’s a list in roughly chronological order. Some selections fit squarely into the “cancelled too soon” category while others, deservedly or not, continue to air. I’m up for suggestions as to others I should cover — just leave a comment. Continue reading

Best Pilots of 2010?

I would love to make a list of the Best Pilots of 2010, but I didn’t really see enough of them to make a comprehensive analysis. Two definite contenders that I did see would be Raising Hope (pictured at right) and The Walking Dead. One that would definitely not make the cut is Hellcats. (How is that still on the air?)

What did YOU think were the best pilots of 2010? Let me know in the comments!

Raising Hope

This intent of this blog isn’t to give you reviews of all the latest shows, as there are many fine websites already doing just that. I like to look back at shows with the perspective of time, especially after they’ve been cancelled—it’s just more fun that way. That being said, with all the new shows premiering last week, only one stood out to me as not totally sucking so I figured the pilot deserved some discussion.

Anyone who has watched Fox in the past 6 weeks really didn’t need to watch this pilot for the premise, since the whole thing was spelled out in the previews. The “from the producers of My Name is Earl” angle was played up heavily and most of the great jokes were given away. So, this was one of those pilots you just want to get out of the way and start watching the show—because the show is freaking hilarious.

A quick rundown: a 25-year-old living with his parents and working a dead end job ends up solely responsible for his illegitimate daughter after the child’s mother gets the electric chair. Dark enough for you? Even without knowing about the “Earl” connection, the tone and look of the show give it away. It’s got this slightly dreary feeling, filled with objects so out of date, you can’t be sure of the time period at first. It could be 1980, or these people could just have really crappy furniture. It also has the loopiness that allows us not feel guilty as we watch a baby being flung around the backseat of a car. Yet, it retains a sweetness. It’s darker than, say, “Malcolm in the Middle,” but it’s not quite “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

There are some unexpected moments in the pilot. After the main character, Jimmy (Lucas Neff) dramatically tells off his boss and quits his job, he comes home, where we learn that said boss is also Jimmy’s dad (Garrett Dillahunt). The other thing not seen coming in the previews is the flashback idea. Flashbacks can sometimes be used for lazy storytelling, but these are very effective, endearing us to the mother and father characters, and adding depth. The scene toward the end of the (grand)parents singing to the baby is very sweet amid all the crudeness. Not that the crudeness is bad… puking on a baby at the sight of a dirty diaper… that is some funny shznit. It’s too bad it was revealed in the preview. Here’s hoping that subsequent episodes are just as funny, and these characters will become as loveable as the Hickeys.