Thursday, 7 April 2011

US PILOTS 2011: ABC

ABC has been good to me in the past (Lost) and it's been very cruel to me in the past (My Generation - seriously, two episodes? I'm still gutted). This year there are some very good things to get excited about - it's the network with the most on offer as far as I'm concerned. Here's why:

Pan Am
Tell me now: drama set in the 1960s centred around the stewardesses who worked on the once famous and glamorous Pan Am airline in America.
And who's in it: Christina Ricci for one! She headlines the cast which also includes culturemouse fave Kelli Garner (Going The Distance, My Generation), Annabelle Wallis, Michael Mosley, Jonah Lotan
Should I care?: wellll... it's got some very good actresses in it, and if it's going to be focusing on the females rather than the males than that's a plus (although may narrow its audience). It's clearly drawing on the success of Mad Men, and it's not the only pilot to be commissioned this year which focuses on a 'vintage' business and the drama that surrounds it. I'm definitely going to give it a go - whether it becomes an excellent drama or descends into soapiness we'll have to wait and see.


The River
Tell me now: after a well-known explorer goes missing on a trip up the Amazon river, his friends and family journey out there on a mission to find him. AND THINGS BECOME TERRIFYING.
And who's in it: Bruce Greenwood, Leslie Hope, Paul Blackthorne, Jeff Galfer
Should I care?: Yes, if you like your horror. Along with Locke and Key this is the other spookylicious series to keep an eye on this autumn. If the story doesn't sound so scary (Bruce Parry meets Mean Creek?) then consider it's been thought up by Oren Peli, the creepiness behind Paranormal Activity. If it's half as affecting as the film then it's going to be some disturbing watching!



Hallelujah
Tell me now: a mysterious stranger comes to the town of Hallelujah in order to restore peace and justice, after the townspeople are ravaged by the forces of good and evil.
And who's in it: John Locke!, aka, Terry O'Quinn; Arielle Kebbel, Frances O'Connor, Brett Cullen
Should I care?: well, there have been plenty of series about messed up towns and eccentric, enigmatic strangers riding in to save the day - or create further chaos. Can this one stand out from the rest? Well for one thing it's the brainchild of Marc Cherry (Desperate Housewives) and it's going to be a musical drama, of sorts: a gospel choir acting as a Greek Chorus at the close of every episode, anyway. Sounds a bit pretentious even for moi... and I love Greek Tragedy.


Once Upon A Time
Tell me now: a young woman moves to a new town called Storybrook, where fairy tales and folklore such as Snow White and Rumpelstiltskin may or may not be actually occuring.
And who's in it: well this may rival best ensemble cast of 2011/2: Jennifer Morrison (House) plays the lead role, along side Ginnifer Goodwin as Snow White, Lana Parilla as the Evil Queen, Josh Dallas as Prince Charming and Robert Carlyle as Rumpelstiltskin. Oh, and lil Bobby Draper (Jared Gilmore) is also going to be in it.
Should I care?: well I certainly do! I desperately want this to do well, as it sounds right up my alley. In fact, it sounds dangerously similar to a development project I've been championing for years: Fables, which is also under option for ABC. Does the commission of Once Upon A Time - from the writers of Lost - mean that Fables is now a goner? I hope not. I'll be tuning in to see how dark things get.


Poe
Tell me now: Boston, 1840s: the world's first detective Edgar Allen Poe has some mysteries to solve.
And who's in it: Christopher Egan is playing hark, the raven himself, with Natalie Dormer, Kevin McNally and Leslie Odom Jnr co-starring.
Should I care?: well, he is one of literature's greatest Gothic figures, and I'd imagine he'd be an arresting presence on the screen - a great character to play. And the premise certainly spins a new twist on the detective/police genre that America so loves and I'm snoozy about. I can't get images of From Hell out of my mind, even though it's a completely different tale. I'll watch the pilot and take it from there.


Suburgatory
Tell me now: a girl from New York moves into the suburbs and discovers her neighbourhood to be a lot more 'frightening' than she'd imagined.
And who's in it: another decent cast: Alan Tudyk (anything Joss Whedon), Jeremy Sisto (Six Feet Under), Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Ana Gasteyer (SNL)

Should I care?: wellllll - heads up first, it's a comedy. I don't normally preview comedies in pilot season because US comedy is so very hit and miss, and is usually discovered a good year or so later when enough people with good taste recommend it. But I've mentioned this as it sounds like it could be The 'Burbs elongated into a TV series, with able cast, and well, it's a brilliant name isn't it? Suburgatory. It comes from Emily Kapnek whose other successes have included Hung and Parks and Recreation - two shows I have never seen. Let's throw the boat out and give this one a go.

**EDIT**

I forgot one!

Georgetown
Tell Me Now: focusing on the personal and professional lives of a group of 20-somethings in Washington DC who are aiming to make it big in the political world.
And who's in it: ONLY KATIE CASSIDY! For some reason this show had completely slipped off my radar and I had forgotten to include it, but now it's definitely back on thanks to the lovely lady. Others attached include: Jimmy Wolk, Kevin Zegers (Gossip Girl's Damien), Tiya Sircar, Joseph Mazzello (Tim who gets electrocuted on the safety fence off of Jurassic Park!)
Should I care?: Oh God, yes. The project comes from Josh Schwarz, angsty melodrama king who gave us The O.C. and Gossip Girl, so it's bound to be a full dollop of guilty pleasure giddiness. But the added spark of having the characters lobbying up the steps to the White House gives it a fresh faced The West Wing vibe - if this is actually a prominent part in the lives of the beautiful people and not some weighty backdrop to occasionally prop things up. I'm excited though, especially with Will Fetters (Remember Me) and Mark Piznarski (My So Called Life, Veronica Mars, 90210, Gossip Girl) directing the pilot. My only qualm is that Katie Cassidy shows never seem to last very long...


Later tonight it's the turn of high quality HBO.

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