Two shows I’ve been binging lately — and enjoying tremendously — open with the trope of the protagonist quitting mental health medication. Both United States of Tara and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend feature strong lead female characters struggling with their mental health. Both shows are noteworthy for their darkly comic, complex, honest presentations of mental illness. But they both lean on the shorthand device of the main character quitting medication.
“Going off your meds” could be called a sub-trope of the popular pilot plot line I call “First day of the rest your life.” I can’t say I’ve seen it a lot, but it appears in movies like Garden State. (If you have other examples, please tweet them to me @meek_the_geek.) It was subverted in the pilot of Wilfred, where Ryan decides to take all the meds. Continue reading
Wilfred is one of those high concept shows that was so bizarre when it was new, it was hard to imagine it could last. If you’ve hung with it over its four seasons, reflect on how weird it seemed then and how weird it seems now. A pilot can “teach” us to accept a show’s premise and then *bang* we’re on board.
Go back and re-watch the pilot. I forgot how funny it is. It might actually be funnier now, since I’m not wasting mental energy trying to figure it out. Is Ryan dreaming? Is he dead? Is he high? Can he possibly keep it secret that his neighbor’s dog is coercing him to commit petty crimes? It doesn’t matter. Continue reading
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!