The 2013 Fall Pilots Look Halfway Decent

Categories: Film and TV

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Every year around this time the networks pin all of their monetary aspirations on several pilots that they hope will eventually be the next Friends. The 2013 pilots have been released and several trends have floated to the top.

1. Single-camera Comedies
With the critical success of comedies like The Office and Parks and Recreation, multi-camera comedies look trite and Cosby-esque. The single-camera show is cleaner looking, gives more opportunity for actor reaction and looks less robotic. While multi-camera comedies are still plentiful, of the new shows being released most of them are hopping on the single-camera bus.

2. 30-something All Over Again
It's not surprising that with the 20-something market tapped out someone might have the grand idea that another cohort needed some TV love. The influx of new middle age (oh lord) focused shows remind us that 30-year olds are just as lost and mixed up as those a decade younger. Twenty-somethings shouldn't have all the unprotected sex, should they?

3. Old Standbys
We've got new shows from trusted producer/creators Shane Brennan (NCIS), Lorne Michaels (SNL), Chuck Lorre (Two and a Half Men), Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, other things awesome), Mike Schur and Dan Goor (Parks and Recreation), J.J. Abrams (Lost) and Jason Katims (Parenthood), among others. There are also quite a few famous names that the networks are banking on - Rebecca Romijn, Andy Samberg, Ken Marino (yes!) Allison Janney and many other household names.

So what's coming out to look forward to and what is going to sink really quickly? Here's my predications - and note that I was totally wrong about Revolution, which I still say is a terrible show.

I give you the 2013 comedies


How the Hell Am I Normal? (previously How the F Am I Normal)
Logline: A dysfunctional Wonder Years set in the simpler times of the 1980s, inspired by Adam F. Goldberg's childhood.
Cast: Wendi McLendon-Covey
Team: W/EP Adam F. Goldberg (Breaking In); EP Doug Robinson, EP/D Seth Gordon
Studio: Sony Pictures Television, Happy Madison
Format: Single-camera
Location: Los Angeles
Thumbs Up! I don't know why, but this sounds like it could be OK.

Logline: A high-concept single-camera comedy from the writers behind The Hangover set in the world of a sexy Manhattan bar chronicling the exploits of singles in search of love -- all over the course of one night.
Team: W/EP Jon Lucas, Scott Moore (The Hangover)
Studio: ABC Studios
Format: Single-camera
Thumbs way, way down. This will be canceled immediately.

Logline: The story of three dysfunctional women in their 30s living their lives the way they want, even if society tells them they should have it all figured out by this point.
Team: W/EP Lee Eisenberg, Gene Stupnitsky (Bad Teacher); EP Aaron Kaplan, Sharon Horgan, Dennis Kelly
Studio: ABC Studios, Kaplan Entertainment
Format: Single-camera
Sorry ladies, unless you get Lizzy Caplan to star I ain't watching.

Logline: Based on the British series of the same name, a well-intentioned father of a highly intelligent and verbal son, who also happens to be his complete opposite, inadvertently takes a job at the secret service in order to prove himself a worthy father.
Team: W/EP Simeon Goulden; EP Jimmy Mulville, Helen Williams
Studio: ABC Studios, Hat Trick Productions
Format: Single-camera
Thumbs down. This sounds like a bad conglomeration between Spy Kids and True Lies.

Super Fun Night (rolled from CBS last year)
Logline: Revolves around three nerdy female friends, including Pitch Perfect's Rebel Wilson, on a "funcomfortable" quest to have "super fun" every Friday night.
Cast: Rebel Wilson, Kelen Coleman, Kevin Bishop, Lauren Ash, Liza Lapira
Team: W/Co-EP Rebel Wilson; EP Conan O'Brien, David Kissinger, Jeff Ross, EP/D John Riggi
Studio: Warner Bros. Television, Conaco Productions
Format: Single-camera
Location: Los Angeles
Yes! Anything Rebel Wilson does is brilliant.

Trophy Wife
Logline: A reformed party girl finds herself with an instant family when she falls in love with a man who has three manipulative children and two judgmental ex-wives.
Cast: Bradley Whitford, Malin Akerman, Marcia Gay Harden, Michaela Watkins, Natalie Morales, Ryan Lee
Team: W/EP Emily Halpern (Private Practice), Sarah Haskins; EP Gene Stupnitsky, Lee Eisenberg; D Jason Moore
Studio: ABC Studios
Format: Single-camera
Location: Los Angeles
No way, thumbs way down. Wait, is that Natalie Morales of the Today Show?

The untitled Cullens project
Logline: When Terry Gannon, a recently divorced, single mother, temporarily moves in with her estranged father (James Caan), a beer swilling former baseball player, she reluctantly starts coaching her son's underdog little league team and is drawn back into the world of sports she vowed to leave behind.
Cast: James Caan
Team: W/EP Mark Cullen, Robb Cullen (Las Vegas); EP Aaron Kaplan
Studio: 20th Television, Kaplan Entertainment
Format: Single-camera
James Caan as a divorced drunk? I'll take it!


Bad Teacher

Logline: Based on the film, a sexy, foul-mouthed divorcee becomes a teacher to find her next husband.
Team: W/EP Hilary Winston (Community); EP Lee Eisenberg, Gene Stupinsky (the original Bad Teacher screenwriters), Sam Hansen, Jimmy Miller
Studio: Sony Pictures Television, Mosiac
Format: Single-camera
Bad Teacher was a bad movie. Now Bad Santa, I'll watch that every week.

Logline: A young guy (Chris Smith) who finds camaraderie living among the more experienced guys he meets in a short-term rental complex.
Cast: Chris Smith, Kal Penn, Jerry O'Connell, Tony Shalhoub, Rebecca Brooks
Team: W/EP/D Rob Greenberg (How I Met Your Mother); EP Eric and Kim Tannenbaum
Studio: CBS Television, Tannenbaum Co.
Format: Single-camera
Location: Los Angeles

Friends With Better Lives
Logline: A group of thirtysomething friends who each think the other has it better.
Team: W/EP Dana Klein (Friends); EP Aaron Kaplan
Studio: 20th Television, Kapital Entertainment
Format: Multicamera
And what do you suppose these thirtysomethings will find out? Hmm... I wonder. Thumbs down!

Logline: Revolves around a newly sober single mom (Scary Movie's Anna Faris) who tries to pull her life together in Napa Valley.
Cast: Anna Faris, Allison Janney
Team: W/EP Chuck Lorre, Eddie Gorodetsky, Gemma Baker (Two and a Half Men)
Studio: Warner Bros. Television, Chuck Lorre Productions
Format: Multicamera
Location: Los Angeles
Anna Faris can walk around and moo like a cow for 30 minutes and I will watch that.

The McCarthys
Logline: A family comedy about a loud, sports-crazed Boston clan.
Team: W/co-EP Brian Gallivan (Are You There, Chelsea?); EP Will Gluck
Studio: Sony Pictures Television, Olive Bridge
Format: Single-camera
Location: Los Angeles

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What a parade of horribles.  My money is on the British remakes.  They have bested Hollywood in the writing department for decades now.

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