December 14, 2009

blog recommendation: the futon critic

I don't often write about television pilots and pilot projects, mostly because so many don't make it to air (think the number of college football players versus the number of guys who make it to the NFL). Every once in a while, I see some exciting casting or an interesting premise that I'll write about, but since most pilots are kept under lock and key among industry insiders until they're close to getting a pick up, it's hard to share too much detail with you all.

That's why it's great to have so many talented and thorough TV bloggers and critics out there. Today, I'm highlighting The Futon Critic, who just finished reviewing 30 pilots in 30 days, an ambitious feat that was completed this past weekend (click on the "Rant " entries labeled "First Look"). If you're interested in learning which pilots did NOT make the cut for the 2009-2010 television season, definitely check out this list. I find it really fascinating - considering some of the flops this fall season, it seems a shame that some if these will never see the light of day.

Here's how The Futon Critic describes the list:

So you've seen all of the new shows this fall - but what about the ones that didn't make the cut? For the next 30 days we're going to take a "first look" at a collection of 30 pilots that didn't land on the 2009-10 season schedule. Are there any gems that got passed over or are they all deservedly locked in the networks' vaults? Stay tuned.

A few of the passed-up pilots that most intrigued me:
  • House Rules (CBS) about a freshman class of elected representatives in DC. The cast included Zoe McLellan from Dirty Sexy Money and Anna Chulmsky from My Girl, and Debra Monk (O'Malley mom from Grey's) as Speaker of the House. I'm a sucker for a political drama, especially in my city, although it looks like this one didn't really make it in the "realistic" department.
  • Back (CBS) about a man who is believed dead after September 11th, but returns home after 8 years. Only he think it's still September 11, 2001 and hasn't aged a bit. This one starred Skeet Ulrich, his wife played by Sherry Stringfield (ER) and her new husband played by John C. McGinley (Scrubs). The premise is spooky - and maybe too sensitive for 9/11 victim families? - but I liked that it's different from your run-of-the-mill detective drama.
  • Inside the Box (ABC) about the behind-the-scenes of a fictional cable news network. This one just reminds me of Sports Night, so I'm inclined to be sad we didn't get a chance to see it. Also, the cast included Sarah Drew (Everwood), who's one of my favorite young actresses. Someone get this girl a steady job!
  • Limelight (ABC) about a freshman class and teachers at a performing arts school. This is the kind of show I would have liked even if it was bad.
Check it out if you have some time for fun reading over the holidays, and add some of your favorites in comments.

If you have even more time, here's an entire list of all "First Look" reviews by The Futon Critic through the years. This includes pilots that didn't make it as well as those that became successful series.

Also, somehow my list of links disappeared from the right column of the blog. Over the next couple of days, I'll be creating a new list, which includes some of my favorite TV blogs. Check back soon!


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