They’re doing what?! – Pilot Season in the U.S – SMH – 14 Feb.2013

From shameless remakes to nuclear armed class dramas, it’s all happening this TV pilot season, but will these out-there ideas fly?

Every year, Hollywood offers up the latest television concepts that may or may not be the Next Big Thing.

Dozens of comedies, dramas, reality series and more are piloted with the best of intentions – some immediately grabbing attention and others disappearing without a trace.

An Upstairs, Downstairs look” at life on a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. “Jeeves! Man the torpedoes!”

Most are fairly standard ideas – a family drama, a group of friends in a comedy, anything with cops in it – but some are just so out there you wonder which studio executive was brave enough to sign the cheque that put them into production.

And this year nothing has changed.

After the success of Homeland (based on the Israeli Prisoners Of War), at least two more Israeli series are being copied, while The Tomorrow PeopleIronsideBeverley Hills Cop and even Australia’s Rake are also being remade.

There are a couple of new vampire series in the works, two shows where the main characters are either in or just out of a coma, and one where a young girl with super combat training has to fight her mother to the death to stop a war.

And they are not even the strangest.

Here is our top 10 “They’re doing what?” pilots from the US networks.

Actually, let’s make it 11, as one will probably be rejected before you’ve finished reading the list. And no, we’re not making these up; they are all are real pilots, with real budgets, reported as “in production” by The Hollywood Reporter.

Intelligence: A super agent in the newly created US Cyber Command has a chip embedded in his brain (micro, not potato) so he can access Facebook 24/7. And other useful databases.

NCIS: Red: Another NCIS spin-off, this time following a team of nomadic agents who travel about saving lives. Like The Littlest Hobo, but with guns.

Boomerang: The ups and downs of running a family business, except – wait for it – the family are all hitmen. Or women. Oh, you wacky homicidal maniacs!

The Hundred: It’s the future. The earth is suitably post-apocalyptic and scorched. One hundred teenage petty criminals are sent in from space to see if it’s time to reinhabit the planet. No, it’s not a cartoon.

The Selection: It’s a drama about a reality show in the future where women compete to win the hand of a real “Royal Prince”. Think The Bachelor, if they could only get Prince Harry on board.

Gothica: A gothic drama weaving sexy (as yet unnamed) stars into the “real story” behind such classic horror stories as Dracula and Frankenstein. Because, you know, Dracula was real.

The Returned: The dead start reappearing in the lives of those who have been mourning them. Not as zombies or ghosts, they just show up “Hi, I’m back. Mum! Stop screaming!” style.

Beverly Hills CopThe Series: Exactly what it says in the title. It even stars Eddie “OK, Let’s Wring Some More Blood From This Stone” Murphy.

Blink: After a horrendous car crash, a man is left in a coma-like state where all he can do is watch those around him without responding. Hilarity ensues. No really, this is supposed to be a “dramedy”.

Untitled: Star Wars saviour J.J. Abrams’ latest effort – a buddy cop drama about police who are partnered with androids. Yep, androids.

Wild Blue: Possibly the best of the lot, this is described as “an Upstairs, Downstairs look” at life on a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. “Jeeves! Man the torpedoes!”


One comment

  1. Well, as a budding Aussie actor, I’d give my left nut for the opportunity to be cast in pretty much any of these pilots – who cares if most of these do not get picked up – all this work is pretty much of a higher standard and volume than what we can expect here in Australia, and I do hope our hard working agents and CD’s send a good cross section of Aussie talent to California.
    Me too, I hope.

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