I pay close attention to pilot season, and often get intrigued by new pilots involving writers or actors I love. Last year, there were a handful of series I picked up from the get-go, almost all of which were cancelled (R.I.P., Last Resort. You never had a chance, Awake.) It’s just part of the deal, the recognizing that the cream doesn’t always rise to the top.
Consider how many pilot scripts get submitted…then what tiny percentage of those get bought by a network, cast and filmed…then what tiny percentage of those actually make it to air…then what even tinier percentage of those survive a full season and come back. It’s a wonder anything good ever gets made.
That said, here are four new shows (two dramas, two comedies) debuting this Fall that I really hope are good, and don’t get cancelled.
BROOKLYN NINE-NINE (FOX)
Premieres: Tuesday, September 17th at 7:30pm
What it’s about: Andy Samberg (SNL) stars as a laid-back, immature (but talented) cop in the NYPD, whose routine is shaken up with the arrival of his new boss (Andre Braugher, who I’d watch in literally anything). Purportedly, hijinks ensue.
Why I’m Interested: Obviously Braugher, but one name in particular stands out: producer and writer Michael Schur. The showrunner for Parks & Recreation (who you might know better as Cousin Mose from The Office) developed this series with fellow Parks staffer Dan Goor, and these guys know how to craft a sitcom. Goor will be on Brooklyn full time, while Schur pulls double-duty. I’m excited to see how this one develops.
MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC)
Premieres: Tuesday, September 24th at 7:00pm
What it’s about: It’s the hotly-anticipated spinoff series from the universe of The Avengers, about the regular mortals who play with gadgets and stuff while investigating strange phenomena and stopping bad guys. Clark Gregg returns from the dead to lead a cast of unknowns.
Why I’m Interested: I mean, do you have to ask? With Joss Whedon’s involvement, you can expect a quirky, exciting series with well-developed characters. That it’s a Marvel production is just the icing on the cake. You have to realize, however, that we’re not going to be seeing the big guys (Thor, Tony Stark, etc.)–the focus is on the desk jockeys. Hopefully, it’ll still be awesome.
THE MICHAEL J. FOX SHOW (NBC)
Premieres: Thursday, September 26th at 8:00pm (will regularly air at 8:30)
What it’s about: Michael J. Fox! Returning to television! No, seriously, that’s what it’s about. He plays a respected news anchor who, after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s and retiring to focus on his health, feels ready to return to the field. It’s NBC’s dream come true!
Why I’m Interested: Obviously Fox is a huge draw, but his supporting cast is TV-nerd catnip: Wendell Pierce (the legendary Bunk Moreland on The Wire) plays Fox’s close friend, and Betsy Brandt–fresh off of Breaking Bad–is Fox’s wife. The scripts would have to be really, really bad for that group to fail, but fortunately early reports are positive.
ALMOST HUMAN (FOX)
Premieres: Monday, November 4th at 7:00pm
What it’s about: The newest series from the absurdly busy J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot, it’s a sci-fi cop drama set 35 years in the future. Human LAPD officers are being paired up with android partners, and one ‘bot-hating cop (Karl Urban–Star Trek and Lord of the Rings, to name a few) gets assigned a new model (Michael Ealy), capable of emotional feelings. Purportedly, hijinks ensue.
Why I’m Interested: I love Karl Urban, and anything Bad Robot churns out is always worth at least a glance (though they’ve been more miss than hit lately). Could this fill the Fringe-sized hole in my heart, or will it become tiresome as a straight procedural?