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    Greatest TV Pilots: Life on Mars

    Nothing about Life on Mars should have worked. Its premise sounded ridiculous- an English cop gets hit by a car and ends up in the 1970s trying to figure out if he’s crazy or if he really did travel through time. But with “Episode 1”, its pilot, the series hit the ground running, with immediately defined characters, an enthralling plot, witty dialogue, and an intriguing mix of sci-fi and character study. More

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    Dracula, Ep.1.01, “Pilot”: Out of the darkness

    Dracula is one of literature’s most enduring and adapted characters. What often sets each production apart is their ability to put a new (and believable) twist on the classic character. Expectations may be low going into any new version but the most surprising aspect of NBC’s take on Dracula is that it’s actually very good. More

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    Masters of Sex, Ep 1.01: “Pilot” an imperfect but accomplished introduction to a fascinating new series

    Masters of Sex, Season 1, Episode 1: “Pilot” Written by Michelle Ashford Directed by John Madden Airs Sundays at 10pm ET on Showtime The most immediately striking element of Masters of Sex, Showtime’s new hourlong drama based on the lives and work of Dr. William Masters (Michael Sheen) and his assistant Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan), […] More

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    Thursday Comedy Roundup: TBBT 7.01 & 7.02, Crazy Ones 1.01, Parks and Rec 6.01 & 6.02, MJF Show 1.01 & 1.02

    After a fairly unimaginative season finale, the premiere for season seven explores how the characters have adapted without Leonard once again. Despite the slight decline in comedy throughout season six, last season wrapped up well enough. The only problem was the repetition of a familiar storyline: Leonard going away. This time round a number of things have changed for the characters, making for a highly anticipated season seven premiere. Unfortunately the two parter is a little disappointing. The first episode is the better of the two, as we see what the characters have been up to since Leonard’s departure. More

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    Fall 2013 Network TV Preview: ABC’s new comedies are a white-washed, mostly uninspired trio of shows

    Each of ABC’s three new fall comedies have similar problems: they all rely on a gimmicky “hook” to justify their existence; all three of them have bleach-white casts and suffer from “upper middle-class problems” disease; and most of all, all three of them go through the 22-minute exercise of a comedy pilot without ever finding […] More

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    SDCC 2013 Wrapup- Part 1: Preview Night

    San Diego Comic Con International 2013 kicked off on Wednesday with Preview Night. The events started up at 6pm, though people had been lined up, sometimes necessarily, sometimes inexplicably, all afternoon. For those so inclined, the exhibit floor was delightfully open and upstairs in Ballroom 20, Warner Bros. once again screened a handful of their […] More

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    Greatest TV Pilots: Pushing Diasies’ “Pie-lette” is a whimsical, ghoulish delight

    The facts are these: a series about death, loneliness, romance, PIs, and pie shouldn’t work. Especially on network television. And yet for two seasons, it did. Bryan Fuller’s Pushing Daisies premiered in the fall of 2007 as the highest rated new series, with 13 million viewers tuning in for the pilot, “Pie-lette”. It would eventually drop in the ratings, squeaking out a renewal due to uncertainty over the writers strike before being cancelled the next season, but those who tuned in for that first episode were treated to a delightful, whimsical flight of fancy the likes of which are rarely seen on American television. More

  • The cast of Lone Star

    Greatest TV Pilots: Lone Star’s fantastic pilot a victim of bad timing

    Before everyone got to know James Wolk as the intriguing Bob Benson of Mad Men, he was the lead of the short-lived FOX series Lone Star. Notoriously short-lived, in fact- the series was cancelled after only two episodes, despite receiving rave reviews from critics. Lone Star was created by the then untested Kyle Killen, whose script for The Beaver was admired around Hollywood but, at that time, had yet to be produced. Along with Wolk, the series starred Adrianne Palicki, Eloise Mumford, David Keith, and Jon Voight, along with a supporting ensemble. More

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    Greatest TV Pilots: Cheers ‘Give Me A Ring Sometime’ – the definitive sitcom pilot

    Every time I watch the Cheers pilot, I’m always amazed at just how low-key it is. ‘Give Me a Ring Sometime’ doesn’t try to get anybody’s attention with flashy characters or some convoluted premise: as the cold open suggests, this is just another day at a bar in Boston, where an ex-baseball player serves his friends and lends his ear to the working man. It’s suck a quiet, unassuming scene, it’s no surprise that it didn’t draw in a huge audience for the second episode (or the entire first season, really). As Sam prepares the bar for work, a clearly underage kid comes in and tries to order a beer with a military ID. Sam can see the it coming a mile away, and after the kid calls his Vietnam experience “gross”, sends his on his way. More

  • Friday Night Lights title card

    Greatest TV Pilots: Friday Night Lights’ pilot spotlights middle America with specificity and grace

    The opening images in a pilot are usually incredibly specific ones. They’ve been chosen as the very first thing viewers will see, what will introduce them to this series and help them decide whether to tune in or flip to something else. In Alias, it’s Sydney Bristow’s face, her head held under water. In Battlestar Galactica, it’s a ticking clock. In Justified it’s a man in a cowboy hat and boots, heading to a duel at high noon. In Friday Night Lights, it’s Texas. More

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