Here is the first part of a look at some of the genre pilots currently in production for each of the major networks. (Thanks to Blastr for some of the background information!)
Stars: Terry O’Quinn (Lost), Donal Logue (Terriers), Jesse L. Martin (Law & Order) and Frances O’Connor
Log Line: The tiny town of Hallelujah, Tenn., is torn between the forces of good and evil. Del Roman (O’Quinn) is the town’s kingpin, and Rye Turner (Logue) is an honest family man and owner of the local diner who’s tired of Del’s rule. However, everything changes when a mysterious stranger comes to town and Rye and his wife welcome the man into their home. From writer Marc Cherry (Desperate Housewives) and director Michael Apted (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader).
While I’d like nothing more than to see Terry O’Quinn back on my screen every week, this seems awfully familiar. In fact, it feels like someone watched “American Gothic” and thought a reboot was in order. And I’m really not at all pleased with the thought of Marc Cherry being involved. Even if this gets picked up somehow, I don’t see it lasting very long.
THE LAST DAYS OF MAN
Stars: Tim Allen (Home Improvement)
Log Line: While we’re not sure that there’s any sci-fi to be had here, this half-hour comedy follows a married father of three (Allen) who tries to hold on to his manliness in a world increasingly dominated by women. From creator Jack Burditt (30 Rock) and pilot director John Pasquin (Home Improvement).
I really have no interest in all in this project. Sadly, it seems to me that this would be something a network would love, even though it’s bound to be deeply derivative (and not a little misogynistic). Probably a show that will be picked up that I will avoid like the plague.
ONCE UPON A TIME
Stars: Jennifer Morrison (Star Trek, House), Robert Carlyle (Stargate Universe), Ginnifer Goodwin (Robot Chicken) and Jamie Dornan
Log Line: A woman with a troubled past (Morrison) finds herself drawn to Storybrooke, a small Maine town where magic and fairy tales might just be real. From creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis (Lost), with Mark Mylod (Entourage) directing the pilot.
This show has a great production and cast pedigree, and the high concept is something that should be easy enough to exploit (comic books have been doing it forever, after all). It even feels like it might have a bit of “Twin Peaks” flavor to it, which always gets my attention. Hopefully this will at least get the 13-episode starter season to prove itself.
Stars: Chris Egan (Kings), Kevin McNally (Pirates of the Caribbean), Natalie Dormer (Captain America: The First Avenger) and Tabrett Bethell (Legend of the Seeker)
Log Line: Set in 1840s Boston, the story follows Edgar Allan Poe as the world’s first detective, who used unconventional methods to investigate dark mysteries. From creator Christopher Hollier (Kyle XY), director Alex Graves (Terra Nova, Journeyman) and executive producer/showrunner Brad Kern (Charmed, Human Target).
Good production pedigree and Natalie Dormer in period clothing. It certainly has potential. But this sounds more like the subject of a solid genre film or mini-series than a weekly network series, especially since period pieces tend to be expensive (and work better on cable).
Stars: Bruce Greenwood (Nowhere Man, Star Trek), Paul Blackthorne (The Dresden Files, The Gates), Joe Anderson (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn), Leslie Hope (24) and Eloise Mumford
Log Line: When a TV explorer (Greenwood) and his crew go missing in the Amazon, a group sets off to find them in a state-of-the-art research vessel. From creators Michael R. Perry and Michael Green (Kings) and director Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown), with Green, Zack Estrin (No Ordinary Family) and Oren Peli (Paranormal Activity) executive-producing.
The production staff gives me pause, “Kings” connection notwithstanding. While the cast has promise, the concept seems a bit too vague to be fully engaging. In fact, it makes me think of “Seaquest” stuck in a river, and that’s probably not what they are going for at all.