Pilot Season
April 30, 2004 7:31 PM   Subscribe

It's pilot season! Each May the networks announce their fall schedules. Here are the many, many shows battling for a prime time spot. (continued inside)
posted by braun_richard (42 comments total)
My favorites: "D.O.T.S", a drama about the inner life of meter maids; "Dr. Vegas," with Rob Lowe as a doctor at a casino (you can hear the pitch now: "It's 'ER' meets 'The World Poker Tour!'); "Father of the Pride," an animated series about Siegfried and Roy's animals (who, um, talk); "Silver Lake," about a record store owner who can speak w/the dead; and a remake of Mr. Ed, with Sherman Hemsley as the voice of the horse! Seriously.
posted by braun_richard at 7:32 PM on April 30, 2004

"Father of the Pride," an animated series about Siegfried and Roy's animals (who, um, talk);

Unlike, say, Roy.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 8:26 PM on April 30, 2004

To think that the WB canceled Angel, but is developing a Fran Drescher as a MILF sitcom, an untitled Jeff Foxworthy project and a show billed as a "Modern Laverne and Shirley." I must just not understand what makes a good television show.
posted by spartacusroosevelt at 8:37 PM on April 30, 2004

I could only get through ABC's retch worthy forgetmeplease pilots. They sound awful on paper (screen) and I'll bet that they are worse on the little screen.

More importantly, why do the networks keep bringing back known losers? People that have never been entertaining just seem to keep getting sitcoms and other crap shows to inflict more suffering upon the world through.

After looking at a few more, I'm starting to think I could write some of these stupid plot lines or get a part.

Spartacusroosevelt, what makes a good show is what sells advertising, beyond that, skin, sun and slow motion boob bouncing that's my recipe for success. It worked for Hasselhof and Baywatch and he's all but unwatchable.
posted by fenriq at 8:46 PM on April 30, 2004

Best blurb:

Commando Nanny (WB)
Premise: Ex-British commando becomes a nanny in Beverly Hills; based on producer Mark Burnett's life.
posted by infidelpants at 8:48 PM on April 30, 2004

I'm sorry, DOTS? Who thought anyone cared in the least about the secret world of meter maids?

Thank goodness I'll have my Tivo soon and will not have to suffer this awful garbage.

Hey, is Fox losing the Simpsons since the voices want a million per episode?
posted by fenriq at 8:52 PM on April 30, 2004

Some of these plotlines sounded like something the writers at the Onion would make up. The new shows all sound dreadful.

Thankfully there are 2323421345321 other channels to watch aside from the over-the-air networks.
posted by birdherder at 9:02 PM on April 30, 2004

Thank goodness I'll have my Tivo soon and will not have to suffer this awful garbage.

Fenriq, you could just turn the damn thing off...
posted by spacewrench at 9:03 PM on April 30, 2004

Once again, somehow the networks all managed to think differently and come to the same conclusion: why are there so many shows set in Hawaii? Why have they robbed the Daily Show of its best remaining talent* when Rocca, A. Whitney Brown, Brian Unger and Beth Littleford have all shown themselves to have no impact on prime-time television at all? Quoth SNL, "Who are the ad geniuses that came up with this one?"

Who thinks an animated series about Sigfried and Roy is a good idea? Why are they remaking The Office after the failure of Coupling?
Then again, how long has it been since anything on network TV worth watching besides The Simpsons and West Wing?

On preview: spacewrench, how would I procrastinate without it?
posted by thecaddy at 9:06 PM on April 30, 2004

Why didn't they roll some of those together and have Sherman Helmsley star as a horse who can speak with the dead?

For Baal's sake, how many of those damn "speak with the dead" shows are there on TV anyway? I miss the good old days when nobody cared about the supernatural and you had a choice of "Streets of San Francisco", "Hawaii 5-0", "Starsky and Hutch", "Baretta", "Charlie's Angels", "Kojak", "Cannon", "McCloud", "McMillan and Wife", and about four kajillion other cop shows that I forget (not to mention "Barney Miller").

If I wanted ghosts on my TV, I'd move back to the mountains and use bunny ears. Good times...good times.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:06 PM on April 30, 2004

Actually, I think that the US "Office" could be funnier than the original.

Certainly, "Three's Company" was infinitely funnier than "Man About the House", and I, for one, prefer "Sanford and Son" to "Steptoe and Son".
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:07 PM on April 30, 2004

Show: Method and Red
Premise: Rappers move to a wealthy suburb.
Show: Mister Ed
Premise: Update of the 1960s CBS sitcom about a talking horse.
Show: The Jury
Premise: Court cases seen through the eyes of jurors.

For this we lost Wonderfalls?
posted by gd779 at 9:23 PM on April 30, 2004

spacewrench, you bite your tongue, I just moved up to HDTV, more for sports than anything else (oh yeah and High Definition Playstation 2 games). Turn it off? Oh no, it never gets turned off now!

Nah, that's not true really. I'll just avoid this tripe for reruns of Futurama and wait for the live action Jonny Quest Adventures.
posted by fenriq at 9:28 PM on April 30, 2004

Well, I personally can't wait for the "Untitled Earthquake Project" to come on just cause of this:

"Stars: Earthquake"

I'm really hoping that refers to the natural disaster, and not some lame wrestler.
posted by Salmonberry at 9:30 PM on April 30, 2004

Actually, I think that the US "Office" could be funnier than the original.

It's not.
Steve Carell just doesn't work as David - he's way over the top and it just kills the whole feel of the show. Remember for every 'Three's Company' and 'Sanford and Son' there's a Coupling(Coupling), Cosby(One Foot In The Grave) or Payne(Faulty Towers)
posted by Tenuki at 9:35 PM on April 30, 2004

Whoa. At CBS -

"Vinyl Cafe
Premise: Animated series about an offbeat family that owns a record store; based on stories by Stuart McLean. "

That's some sacred ground there. They'd better be careful.
posted by Salmonberry at 9:36 PM on April 30, 2004

Kill your television.

/obligatory. Nice piece of text on that link. Check it out.

I guess I should explicate "Kill your television" above and beyond the usual known reasons.

I've got a grandma who does very little outside of watching network TV. She prefers to watch network news. A lot of it. And here in LA, you can find network news at almost any given hour.

As such, her worldview is... how shall we say it? Fearful, uncertain, and filled with doubt. She's terrified of the outside world and is convinced it is filled with nothing but murderers, theives, and rapists. Television as terrorism? You betcha.

She also doesn't seem to understand that shows like Extra, Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood aren't actually news shows. I've tried to explain about how awful network news is as well, but it doesn't help much.

She naps during the day in front of it as grandmas are known to do, but then she falls asleep at night with the TV on. There's nothing on in the middle of the night but paid commerial programming.

On one hand, I realize it is perhaps a comforting window on the world she used to easily inhabit. Granted.

She's a smart cookie, even still, even after the pretty major stroke she had 4 years back or so. Every once in a while we'll watch PBS stuff, but the reception isn't that reliable on UHF where we're at, and the interesting programming is sporadic. (Namely, science, history, and art programming.)

I keep trying to get her to subscribe to cable or digital satellite so she can watch Discovery and the History channel and maybe AMC or something, but all I get is "Oh, I don't need that.", not knowing what she's missing. (This is, of course, easily debateable. But I'd rather she watched something like the Discovery network than Fox broadcast news.)

And she sits. And sits. And sits. And I try to get her to paint, or play the piano, or use the shiny and still rather new eMac in the office.

And that hideous box just sits there in front of her, blinking at her and slowly stealing the remaining days of her life away.

And for that I can never forgive.

Kill your television. Kill it before it kills you.

posted by loquacious at 9:46 PM on April 30, 2004

loquacious, while I wholeheartedly sympathize with your situation, its not really the same. I do watch tv but I also read the newspaper, I read and check the news online, I go outside and play with my dog, I ride my bike, I engage the rest of the world (and I spend alot of time ont my computer).

As was discussed to death in the recent thread, tv isn't evil of itself. The inability to break away from it and engage in the real world is the evil.

Its incredibly sad that your grandmother won't explore other offerings on the box and that the news makes her live in fear. But not everyone who watches tv succumbs to anywhere near the same level.

PS, why don't you subscribe her to cable as a present or surprise or whatever?
posted by fenriq at 10:05 PM on April 30, 2004

Doomed versions of British hits and yet more shows about how wacky raising teenagers can be... No wonder nobody watches sitcoms anymore...

Yea, I can't wait for Jason Alexander as Tony Kornheiser or the Untitled John Stamos Project...
posted by crank at 10:18 PM on April 30, 2004

loquacious: If your grandma was sitting there all day reading books, would you tell people to kill their books? What if she was crocheting?

Kill your crochet needles before they kill you!
posted by malphigian at 10:26 PM on April 30, 2004

Well, I for one will not--I say, must not--rest until every city in the United States has its own CSI series.

God bless us, one and all.
posted by arto at 10:34 PM on April 30, 2004

Is ANYONE watching Arrested Development? Funniest show on television, and it's gonna be shot like a dog at the fucking kennels.
posted by jonson at 11:47 PM on April 30, 2004

I am so not watching any television this fall, except for season 4 of 24, and whatever Seth McFarlane's next program is, and maybe I'll check out "Dark Shadows". Aside from that nada.
posted by bobo123 at 1:20 AM on May 1, 2004

I'M watching Arrested Development, you little pug lover.

*pours a 40 on the ground for the demise of Home Movies, shakes fist at network executives*
posted by Salmonberry at 1:25 AM on May 1, 2004

All I watch these days are Angel, Jake 2.0 and Tru Calling. Wonderfalls was great and should be brought back! Tripping the Rift is fun and Kingdom Hospital has potential. I was very taken with a couple of shows that seem to have died before their time - Miracles and Veritas - but then, I do like supernatural adventure yarns.
posted by tabbycat at 1:39 AM on May 1, 2004

Fox's Point Pleasant is the one I'm interested in. Described as 'Peyton Place meets The Omen'. There's some more information about it at FilmJerk.com and TV Tome.
posted by prolific at 3:07 AM on May 1, 2004

Angel got cancelled, TV is shit again.
posted by Orange Goblin at 4:19 AM on May 1, 2004

Has anyone given Tom Green a new show yet?
posted by tapeguy at 4:23 AM on May 1, 2004

Anybody still want to argue that PBS is shit?
posted by briank at 4:44 AM on May 1, 2004

It starts in June, but don't forget Andy Richter's new series...

Oh, and I heart Arrested Development... my only quibble with it being that it's only a half-hour long.
posted by cratchit at 6:23 AM on May 1, 2004

As It Happens had Stewart on a couple of few weeks ago talking about the adaptation of The Vinyl Cafe. Apparently Saul Rubinek has been trying to develop this for years, but McLean had never liked the concepts prior to the current version. The animation was what sold him.

He seemed quite bemused by it all, but was rather positive. Well, as positive as McLean can be about anything, I suppose. He's doing a voice-over part with actors playing Dave, Morley and the kids. It wasn't clear how much of the writing would be his.
posted by bonehead at 7:51 AM on May 1, 2004

The Simpsons did a parody of Law And Order: Elevator Patrol. How long before there really is one?

Or CSI: Walla Walla?

Anyone for 60 Minutes XXXIV?
posted by tommasz at 8:06 AM on May 1, 2004

That "Hot Mom" show on ABC looks suspiciously like "AbFab"...
posted by elf_baby at 9:04 AM on May 1, 2004

The reality show I want to see would be called "Dear Lord Please Grant Us Some Imagination And The Wisdom To Hire Back our Writers" and would show network execs trying to figure out how to generate interest in their nearly totally reality-show lineup. The show would be only 37 minutes per scheduled hour to allow for promos for "Joey".
posted by Stoatfarm at 10:26 AM on May 1, 2004

Or CSI: Walla Walla?

I'd much rather have seen CSI: Louisville or CSI: Portland or CSI: St. Louis than see one set in New York.

Gary Sinise in the Peterson role? Cool (or at least better than David "Lab Rat" Caruso). Another cop drama set in New York? Observate how my finger approaches my throat, so as to make me vomit.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:26 AM on May 1, 2004

loquacious: If your grandma was sitting there all day reading books, would you tell people to kill their books? What if she was crocheting?

Kill your crochet needles before they kill you!
posted by malphigian at 10:26 PM PST on April 30

Hell no. I'd be pleased. And if you ever compare literature to broadcast commercial television again I hope you get struck by lightning while getting stuffed full of angry bees.

Post-stroke she's not really able to read for pleasure, nor is her manual dexterity such that she could knit or crochet. (I've been wanting to try that out, actually. Seems like a good way to quit smoking, besides just being useful and cool.)

I've shown her that audio books are available online for free, and that there are web radio stations, and all kinds of other internet goodness out there, but none of them are "passive" enough, if that makes any sense.

Fenriq: I've considered it. I can't really afford it. She would probably get a little upset, though. She's uberparanoid about her personal info and that sort of thing, so would probably get upset that someone was "messing with her business."

There's another issue I have with TV that's technologically related in a Meta-Marshall-McLuhan-esque sense, but I'll save most of it for another thread. I'll need to refresh my research and grab some links, and I've threadjacked plenty for this one. (Don your tinfoil hats, if you'd like.)

The basic concept is that brainwave entrainment may occur due to the 29.9-30 Hertz flash in the framerate of NTSC displays, which within range for this sort of thing. In that sense, even watching the snow (crashing) on a dead channel might be mind altering and perhaps even addictive. (I don't have any issues at all with willful and informed mind alteration, but not many people have heard about this it seems. Willful and informed are the keywords here.)

IF this is true, TV as a medium could be hypnotic in itself, which makes the suggestions possible by commercials and media potentially very dangerous. Psychic TV indeed.

To inject some relevance in my threadjacking: I'd like several channels dedicated to simply displaying static or dynamic camera views on the world. You could have the sunset channel that just follows sunsets around the world. Or the aquarium channel. (This was done in Germany, I believe, and was quite popular.) Or how about the Monkey Channel? All monkeys all the time! I bet that would be entertaining, especially if they were Bonobo chimps. ;)
posted by loquacious at 11:35 AM on May 1, 2004

I must be the mack daddy of adult TV watching, especially since I got a TiVo 2.5 years ago. I heart Arrested Development, curse the network morons every year for cancelling the good and renewing the tragically bad (how is it that JAG is finishing its eigth season but John Doe and Firefly got slaughtered so young?). But I love FoxSportsWorld for all the soccer and Aussie Rules Football!
posted by billsaysthis at 12:18 PM on May 1, 2004

This is going to be either really great or really bad:
"FRANKENSTEIN": the series is expected to take place in present-day Seattle with both Dr. Frankenstein and his monster surviving the past two centuries thanks to genetic engineering on both subjects. The two are then discovered by a female cop and her partner through a routine homicide investigation. Over the course of the pilot, Frankenstein's monster joins forces with the cops and will combat Dr. Frankenstein and his other creations in successive weeks. From Martin Scorsese and author Dean Koontz.
According to this list it's being developed for USA.
posted by kindall at 2:37 PM on May 1, 2004

loquacious: Like The Puppy Channel, which never really got off the ground (see this This American Life show).
posted by abcde at 2:52 PM on May 1, 2004

I'd like several channels dedicated to simply displaying static or dynamic camera views on the world.

Do you get the NASA channel? Used to be, most of the time they'd just show views of the earth from space, interrupted by the odd documentary or coverage of an actual shuttle mission. Made a great TV screensaver.
posted by arto at 10:19 PM on May 1, 2004

Arto: I was meaning more metaphorically - cameras around the world pointed at stuff, not the whole planet. :)

I don't have cable so I don't get NASA TV, but I'll watch in on the web now and then.

A few years ago I remember my work had been a test bed for Orinoco WiFi, and I was walking around outside with a smoke in one hand and a laptop in the other, and on the screen was realtime video of Mission Control, Edwards AFB and a Java Applet showing the orbital positing of the ISS and Space Shuttle. That was highly entertaining, and made it possible to know when to listen for the faint sonic boom as the Shuttle passed overhead. If I had seen all that tech and info as a kid in 1984 or so - wireless laptop or not - I probably would have wet my pants in sheer joy and wonder.

And praise be, they finally offer something besides RealMedia for streams. I wrote them once to gripe about that. I doubt I was the only nerd to complain, and thankfully they listened.
posted by loquacious at 2:08 AM on May 2, 2004

I don't have a lot in the way of Hollywood connections, but I did get a scoop from a moderately well-informed person regarding the U.S. version of The Office. The view was that the project was essentially a brazen robbery, committed by all of the talent and creatives against the U.S. money people. The English knew it couldn't be successfully adapted to an American setting, cast and vernacular, and so did all the American producers, writers and actors. Everyone is getting themselves a surprisingly nice payday, and was already making plans for their next gig after the inevitable cancellation.

Strictly in my opinion, casting Steve Carrell, whose business is smug obliviousness, in the role of David, is a giveaway that they aren't really trying. David's game is the mix of arrogance, heedlessness, and self-loathing. There are dozens of actors who could have done a very nice American version of that, and they didn't bother with even one.
posted by MattD at 7:15 AM on May 2, 2004

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