Friday, June 10, 2011

TV Pilots and Current TV Shows

Here are my thoughts on the TV pilots that were optioned this past pilot season.  My comments are listed in bold below the episode description.  

Ringer (Eric Carmelo and Nicole Snyder). About a troubled young woman on the run who hides out by living the life of her wealthy twin sister, until she learns her sibling’s life has a bounty on it as well. It stars Sarah Michelle Gellar (drama, pilot).
This has potential, a modern day Prince and the Pauper. I saw an advertisement for this show on the CW, it didn’t look like it made any sense.  The only reason I am checking it out is because Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the best TV show ever made and Sarah can use the work. 

Rookies (Robert DeNiro, Richard Price, Jane Rosenthal) NYPD cops balance their personal lives with learning the mean streets of Manhattan (drama, pilot).
The only selling factor is DeNiro if he isn’t in it, it will flop. 

Untitled Susannah Grant project. Focuses on an ultra-competitive surgeon whose life is changed forever when his ex-wife dies and begins teaching him about life from the hereafter (drama, pilot).
They made this show already it was called Everwood, it last 4 seasons on the WB.

Desperado (Kyle Ward, Anthony Zuiker). A modern-day western crime drama set in Texas (drama, script).
If it’s based on the movie Desperardo directed by Robert Rodriguez and staring Antonio Bandares it will could be awesome otherwise it they should just have it star Chuck Norris and call it Walker Texas Ranger 2.

Treadstone (John Glenn, Anthony Zuiker). Based on Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne series of novels about a group of spies working for the Treadstone Corp. (drama, script)
This has promise, if it’s similar it tone to the Bourne Trilogy this could be good.  What made the Bourne Identity so good was how you could relate to the character.  What if you woke up and had super spy skills but no memory.  If they go that route it could be awesome.  If it’s just a mission impossible show it might not be as awesome.  The other item that made the Bourne movies so great was his practical thinking to gain the upper hand in situations.  Like fighting a dude with a huge knife of with a freaking pen, or causing mayhem in the American embasy and using his brain skills to book without getting caught. 

Poe (Chris Hollier). Crime procedural following Edgar Allan Poe as the world’s very first detective, using unconventional methods to investigate dark mysteries in 1840s Boston (drama, pilot).
How are they going to address the fact that Poe married his 9 year old cousin?  The dude was weird.

Pan Am (Jack Orman, Nancy Ganis, Sid Ganis, Tommy Schlamme). A sexy soap set against the jet age, focusing on the stewardesses and pilots and their glamorous world full of adventures (drama, pilot).
It will be Panned by critics and viewers.

Partners (Ed Bernero). Centers on two female police detectives who are fiercely loyal to one another since they’re also secretly sisters (drama, pilot).
This might beat the cape as the funniest new show.  I think my mom will love this show. If it gets picked up it will last 4 seasons before people catch on to how lame it is.

Grace (Krista Vernoff, Carrie Ann Inaba). Focuses on a dysfunctional family set in the world of professional dance (drama, pilot)
The Black Swan 2
Lost and Found (Marisa Coughlan). A narcissistic New York City bartender and party girl has her life turned upside down when the conservative 18-year-old son she gave up for adoption shows up on her doorstep (comedy, pilot). 
This is a show is already on the CW and it’s called Life Unexpected.  They just threw a family ties element into the mix to shake things up.  Flop!

Work it (Andrew Reich, Ted Cohen). Two out-of-work salesmen realize that it is now a woman’s world and decide that in order to find work and succeed, they are going to have to dress as women to get jobs as pharmaceutical reps (comedy, pilot).
Cult following, will last 20 episodes. Kind of like that show Boosum Buddies with Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari.

Romeo & Juliet (Andrea Berloff). A look at the love story of Romeo and Juliet, as well as the events occurring during the Renaissance (drama, script).
Good idea, wrong network.  This is a CW show, make it a teen drama and you’ll get every teenager watching it. 

True Lies (René Echevarria). Based on the 1994 feature film, True Lies, directed by James Cameron (drama, script).
Awesome idea.  The movie was excellent; all they have to do for the first season is follow the plot of the movie.  Have him do spy stuff for the first few episodes then have him suspect she is cheating focus on that for a few episodes, end out the season with the climactic battle It could really be awesome.  It could also easily be lame. 

Carlos Mencia project (Mitchel Katlin, Nat Bernstein). Show based on Mencia’s large immigrant family (comedy, script).
This was already made, it was called The George Lopez Show.

Supermom comedy (Laura House, Stu Bloomberg, Barry Sonnenfeld). A frazzled mom finds a suit that gives her superpowers (comedy, script).
This was already made, it was called The Greatest American Hero. Maybe we’ll get another cool TV theme out of it.

Damon Wayans project (Don Reo). A model father on TV is very different at home (comedy, script).
AKA Damon Wayans is broke and needs cash so he is remaking My Wife and Kids. 

Alcatraz (J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Liz Sarnoff). Revolves around Alcatraz Island and notorious criminals housed there (drama, pilot).
HBOs Oz without all the prison rape.  

Touch (Tim Kring, Peter Chernin, Katherine Pope). A man  discovers his mute, autistic son can predict the future (drama, pilot).
This is the TV version of the movie Knowing staring Nicholas Cage. That movie sucked so will this.

Will Smith crime drama (James Lassiter, Will Smith, Eva Jin). A female college student fights crimes in China (drama, script).
We can blame the success of the Karate Kid remake for this one.

Hitch (Pete Chiarelli). Adaptation of the feature film that starred Will Smith (drama, script)
Has potential. Would work better as a dramity.

Smokers (Brian Vaughan). A documentary crew follows a group of heroes who eliminate alien threats in space (drama, script).
Sounds similar in filming style to District 9 but with a more Battlestar Galactica element to it.

17th Precinct (Ron Moore). World ruled by magic, not science (drama, pilot).
NBC is getting desperate, it’s a shame they don’t know what a good show is.  It’s not gimmicks, it’s good story telling.  This is just a gimmick.

Playboy (Chad Hodge). Set in the 1960s, the drama takes a look at the lives of Playboy bunnies (drama, pilot).

Smash (Steven Spielberg, Neil Meron, Craig Zadan, Darryl Frank, Justin Falvey, Theresa Rebeck). Follows a cross section of characters who come together for the exhilarating ride of putting on a Broadway musical (drama, pilot).
Sounds like the movie Crash but with broadway as the backdrop instead on racism.  Just because Glee is a success does not mean this will be.  Fame sucked so with this. Flop!

Wonder Woman (David E. Kelley). A reboot of the superhero tale that’s a serious, non-campy take on the DC Comics character (drama, pilot).
It’ll end up just like he bionic woman remake.

Special Investiations L.A. (Stephen Gaghan, Peter Chernin, Katherine Pope). In the style of Traffic, the drama is set in the world of crime, law enforcement, and politics in modern-day L.A. (drama, pilot).
Law and Order Meter Maids!

I Hate that I Love You (Jhoni Marchinko). Focuses on a straight couple that introduces two of its lesbian friends to one another – which results in instant attraction and a pregnancy (comedy, pilot).
I am not even gay and am insulted by this. 

Are you there, Vodka? It’s me, Chelsea (Chelsea Handler, Tom Werner, Dottie Dartland Zicklin, Julie Larsen). Based on Handler’s best-selling memoir (comedy, pilot).
Only women will watch this.

Ghost Angeles (Henry Alonzo Myers, Josh Schwartz) A young woman speaks to dead people who help her (comedy, pilot).
This show was on CBS It was called Ghost Whisperer!

Echelon (Michael Gordon). About a team called GHOST (Global Hierarchical Observation Strategy Taskforce) that investigates the paranormal (drama, script).
The ten year old in me thinks this might be a fun show.  The rest of me is skeptical.

S.A.N.D. (Craig Titley). A squad called the Sleep and Nightmare division enter peoples’ dreams to tackle their nightmares (drama, script).
This is the movie Inception.

Emerald City (Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins). Re-imagining of the The Wizard of Oz, set in Gotham (comedy, script).
The Wizard of Oz is the most overrated movie ever.  This will be the most overrated TV show that is canceled after 2 seasons.

Guardians (Carlos Jacott, Ajay Sahgal) Guardian angels disguised as Starbucks baristas help customers (comedy, script).
Maybe good maybe bad. 

The Prickly Spheres (Rich Frank, Jeff Kwatinetz, Matt Goldman). Extremely talented teen forgoes classical music scholarship to Julliard and joins a new indie alternative rock band in Minneapolis (drama, script).
Could be good if it had a better name.

Raven (Diego Gutierrez). Based upon the DC Comics character, the daughter of a human and a devil with abilities to read emotions and divine secrets, Raven fights crime — as well as the darkness in her own soul (drama, script).
This character is only good as being part of the Teen Titans she is not a good stand alone character. 

My Current TV Roster Choices
I liked No Ordinary Family, but after one season ABC cancelled it.   I guess The Incredibles as a live action premises doesn’t sit will with viewers.   Granted the show needed some tweaking with the writing.  It was a bit annoying with the dad insisting on fighting crime.  It was very family friendly and I thought much better than the 3 and 1/2 seasons of Smallville (seasons 6,8,10, most of 9, the last half of 5).  
Speaking of Smallville, a rather anti climatic ending that seems to be getting good reviews.  IDK how, it was boring, lame and we didn’t even see a full shot of him in the costume.  I didn’t even like the Lex scenes that people really seemed to praise.  They really mishandled that character.  The memory loss bit also wiped away all the character development they spend the first 7 yrs working on.  Makes Lex’s whole character development in the series a complete waste of time! 

V another fun show was canceled.   I will say the network mishandled the how to broadcast the episode but also the show it drifted too much from the original content.  They never consistently aired the episodes.  It had a strong opening then went on a 13 week hiatus.  Why not just wait till after the Olympics (which didn’t even air on ABC) to air V.  Or just pay the damn episodes.   It’s also something to note that when V the Original Miniseries aired in Europe it beat the 1984 Olympics when it aired.  Story wise they took too long to have the Aliens take over.  Let’s be happy the show went out with some awesomeness by killing all the annoying characters.  Odds are they would have brought them all back to life if there was a 3rd season.  Let’s keep an eye out for Falling Skies on TNT.  That has a lot of potential and probably more in tune to how V should have been.  

The best show on TV is Supernatural, completely Sci-Fi and the 2 hour finale was cool.  I think they need to end the show next season though.  It would be its 7th and I do feel it’s running out of story.  

I also like The Walking Dead on AMC.  That’s there Zombie show, very cool show.  

True Blood is a fun show.  

Game of Thrones on HBO is great, nothing to do with sci-fi, just a fictional world where they can have a mid-evil setting without having to worry about the continuity of real history. So it’s Lord of the Rings without the magic element.  The midget on the show is the best character.  He speaks his mind and uses his brain to get out of any situation.  I find myself rooting for him in every episode.  And who doesn’t love Sean Bean (006, Boromir) as the hero of the show Ned Stark.  

Boardwalk Empire is also an awesome show.  Way better in one season than The Sopranos ever was. 

Tera Nova looks awesome too.  You can’t go wrong with dinosaurs and time travel.  

Animated Shows
The Looney Tunes Show on Cartoon Network is hysterical.  It’s about Bugs and Daffy living together and getting into typical sitcom format situations.  What makes it so funny is they can push it to that slight degree of cartoon absurdity that live action shows cannot.  Throw in some animated shorts between act breaks and you have some animation gold.  Let’s hope it finds an audience. 

Avengers United on Disney XD is a good action show.  I get wary with Marvel cartoon shows, they usually only make a few episodes to correspond with whatever Marvel movie is coming out.  In this case The Avengers in 2012.  Because of that you end up with short running and bad Marvel shows like The Fantastic Four and Wolverine and the X-Men.  I was also bummed out when they canceled Spectacular Spider-Man.  That show was actually awesome.  It was done by Greg Weisman the dude that did Disney’s Gargoyles, another great animated series that is now faded from memory.  

My vote for best animated show currently on the air is Cartoon Network’s Young Justice, created Greg Weisman (number 2 to cartoon awesomeness, number 1 is Bruce Timm who I hear is producing).  It’s got action and all the cool younger/sidekick super heroes you like to see.  They even have an awesome version of Aqua-Lad.  How the hell do you make Aquaman let alone is protégé seem cool?  Let’s hope Conan O’Brien’s superhero persona the Flaming C gets to make a cameo.  

Cartoon Network’s Batman the Brave and the Bold is a fun show; they camp up the character, but not to the point of absurdity.  It can actually stumble onto some sentiment here and there.  Also it was ambitious to make a musical episode for an action cartoon.  And it worked. Beware the Music Meister!

“As is tradition” let’s wrap this up by saying you can never go wrong with The Simpsons, South Park, or Family Guy. 

Okay I am stopping here because I can go on for a few hours about this!

Written by
Joseph Ammendolea
“I Like To Play With Toys” Productions®