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Series: Drop the Pilot

The last couple of weeks have been a TV nerd’s wet dream. Television networks have finally woken up to the notion that they can create buzz by letting copies of the pilots of their new season shows find their way onto the net so that people just like me, make posts just like this.

I refuse to use the term ‘leak’ in reference to how so many new shows have found their way into the clutches of eager beavers such as myself, because ‘leak’ suggests that the people behind the ‘distribution’ of these pilot episodes weren’t intent on creating buzz. Whatever term you use though, one thing is for sure: Sci-Fi nerds have a bumper crop heading our way:

The Sarah Connor Chronicles – FOX

Begins airing: January 1, 2008
I wont go into too much detail about any of these shows, because most of them are best served by viewing them with as minimal knowledge of their content as possible. In the case of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, however, you’d have to have been raised in a windowless bucket by the Amish to not have at least have an idea of what this show is about.

For you bucket dwellers; the show, which stars Lena Headey, Thomas Dekker and Summer Glau, chronicles (hence the name) the exploits of Sarah Connor and her son, John, and is set between the events of Terminator 2 and Terminator 3. Sadly the Govenator doesn’t make an appearance in the surprisingly strong pilot. But we are treated to some unexpected plot twits and casting choices, and given one hell of an introduction to what looks like being one of the best new Sci-Fi series of the new season.

Reaper – The CW

Begins airing: September 25, 2007
Being a huge Kevin Smith fan, and knowing that he directed this pilot, I really wanted to love this. Unfortunately I only ‘really liked’ it – but that could be put down to my unrealistic expectations.

Sam is a 20 year old slacker whose parents have never pushed him to make anything of himself and on his 21st birthday he discovers why. Before he was born the Devil tricked his parents into selling him the soul of their first born… And now Sam must hunt down escaped souls and return them to hell, where they belong.

Reaper has its fun moments, and it would probably be the stand-out show of any other season, but this time around it’s in the shadows of some of the shows that seem stronger out of the gate. Reaper deserves a look though, and perhaps the characters and pacing will settle in as the show progresses.

Pushing Daisies – ABC

Begins airing: October 3, 2007
It’s not often that a show is too quirky for me, but Pushing Daisies *almost* gets there.

Written by the genius behind Dead Like Me, Brian Fuller, and directed by Men In Black II and Get Shorty director, Barry Sonnenfeld, the Pushing Daisies pilot has the unenviable task of explaining its whacky premise to the viewer while still introducing us to some instantly likeable characters, setting up the series and entertaining us along the way.

If this show doesn’t grab you right off the bat, then it probably isn’t going to grow on you – but with the creative team like the one behind Pushing Daisies, there’s a very good chance that this smart, quirky show could be a break away hit.

Chuck – NBC

Begins airing: September 24, 2007
Chuck is probably Reapers biggest competition in the new line up. It too is an off beat comedy whose premise, of the unsuspecting slacker who is suddenly given extraordinary powers and thrown into an extraordinary situation, sell the actual show a little short.

Chuck made me laugh… out loud… Yeah, I totally LOLed. The show is extremely well-paced, the characters stamp themselves instantly onto their place in the show’s universe and you’re completely aware that there is more to see from these characters at the end of the pilot. It does exactly what a good pilot should do – it makes you feel like you already know the people in it and leaves you wanting… And I’m absolutely looking forward to more Chuck and his goofy mate Morgan.

The Bionic Woman – NBC

Begins airing: September 26, 2007

In much the same way that I held very low expectations for the ‘re-imagining’ of Battlestar Gallactica and was proven completely and utterly wrong by the resulting show, The Bionic Woman has turned my expectations on their ear. This show comes out of the gate swinging – it’s beautifully shot, without being overly stylised. It creates robust characters without feeling laboured or forced (from either a writing or performance perspective). And while it does give a nod to the original series, indeed both The Bionic Woman and The 6 Million Dollar man, it stands on it’s own as a completely independent work.

As we approach the end of BSG and finally come to terms with the fact that Stargate SG-1 isn’t coming back, sci-fi nerds can take comfort in the knowledge that The Bionic Woman and Sarah Connor are going to be fighting it out for our attention.

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    Elroy dude I have watched Sarah Conner and Reaper. Some thoughts on SC Chronicles:
    1-As stunningly hot that Lena Headley is (her first outfit…the small dress…oh my) she doesnt have the hardness that Linda Hamilton had. I will no doubt get won over by her toughness eventually but for that first episode was hard to accept.
    2-Like point 1, it was hard to see a T-800 that wasnt the governator when the bullets start flying, but I will get used to it.
    3-The ***** **** was a complete surprise as a *****. Normally i reckon its lame, but this time, it worked. [edited by elroy]
    4-The premise has a lot going for it. The ending sets up a potentially complex and enthralling series.
    Thanks for the recommendation!

    The second one i watched was Reaper. I loved it. I like shows that follow the everyman – especially an everyman who works at a shitty retail store. *cough* The premise is simple, yet offers so many different possibilites, its almost a license to go crazy in the writing room. Look forward to more of it to come! Kevin Smith directed it? Im surprised cause some of the characters lacked the depth of coverage i would normally associate his work with.

    All in all a great couple of shows with a HUGE potential. I dont see them hitting it off in Australia though…dunno why but we dont take kindly to the quirky nor the blatant franchise extensions.

  • That was some nice spoiler posting there Morgs!

    I agree with your overall sentiments and will be interested to hear what you think of The Bionic Woman and Chuck (should you watch them too)…

  • Bionic Woman wasnt bad. Not as enjoyable as the other 2.

    will watch chuck and daises soon