2013 Pilot Watch: NBC Dramas

So last time we covered some of the new comedy pilots NBC has ordered this year but let’s take a moment and look at their dramas. Surprisingly their drama line-up isn’t nearly as dismal as their comedy. Granted that’s because there’s not much of a line-up in the first place thanks to The Biggest Loser and The Voice filling up a lot of air time, but they have had success with last year’s newbie Grimm and of course, Parenthood.  Add to that this year’s rookies, Chicago Fire and Revolution, both of which are likely to be renewed and there aren’t a lot of slots needing to be filled.

There is the spot left vacant by the “two episodes and done” Do No Harm and it’s possible that Law and Order: SVU might finally be on its way out so perhaps some of these new pilots will find a new home on the peacock? Time will only tell.

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Can lightening strike twice with J.J. Abrams on NBC? I imagine they certainly hope it can. After the success of this year’s Revolution, NBC is pairing up with Abrams again for Believe. This time instead of a prepper’s NBC Pilotdream world, Believe is about a “gifted young girl” who teams up with an ex-convict who is supposed to protect her from evil forces who are after her power.

I can easily seeing this one making to series, not only because of Abrams name but they’ve got quite a few other nice names attached. The pilot was created and will be directed by Alfonso Cuarón who has written and directed some great movies in recent years such as Y Tu Mamá También and Love in the Time of Hysteria. He also directed Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It appears as if he has done a television show before, but not here in the US. I’m looking forward to seeing how he writes for American television.

The cast is also intriguing with the extremely under-utilized Delroy Lindo, and the mayor of Portlandia himself, Kyle Machlaclan who is set to play a “mysterious billionaire”. In my head I’m imagining his Captain character from How I Met Your Mother with a serious side.

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NBC Pilot

This pilot has perhaps the most in-depth logline ever that makes me envision a graphic novel version of Romeo and Juliet based on the set of Desperate Housewives.

[quote]The Kill Bill-esque stylized drama follows an orphaned girl named Bird Benson who’s caught between two families of murderers and mercenaries. In order to eventually have a normal life, Bird learns, she must defeat her mother via mortal combat.[/quote]

If it doesn’t get a series order, I’m really hoping they at least let us see the pilot because something like that needs to be seen by the masses. In addition to a great premise, it has some great actors involved. With Breaking Bad ending their run, Jonathan Banks has signed on to be a “villainous patriarch” (EW). I’m of the opinion that both he and his Bloodline co-star, Tom Everett Scott can’t be on my television enough. Add in Skyler Samuels from the ABC Family one season, The Lives of Chloe King and it looks to be promising.

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Although NBC already has a fairy-tale based show in Grimm, they are looking to perhaps tap more into ABC’s Once Upon A Time audience with this pilot based on Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. ActuallyNBC Pilot ABC first had the rights but then released it due to it being too similar to Once Upon a Time as well as it apparently being rather costly to produce. So costly as a matter of fact, that it has been pushed a bit back to a mid-season review.

Does that move show that NBC is intending to bring it to air? Well they did the same sort of thing with the Munsters relaunch and of course the Wonder Woman show so there’s really no telling. All I know is I enjoy Once Upon a Time and would be okay with watching a show based in Wonderland.

There hasn’t been any casting announced yet but the show, created by Anthony Zuiker who brought us CSI and its countless offshoots, is set in modern time with a mystery that can only be solved in Wonderland which is ruled by a queen who we once knew as a young girl named Alice.

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[tab title=”Rand Ravitch”]

The premise of the untitled Rand Ravitch project seems vanilla at best, yet another political conspiracy show, much like ABC’s Scandal and Netflix’s House of Cards. I’d be willing to guess that NBC is hoping (praying, and wishing) that they can capture some of the success those two shows have had.

NBC Pilot

While the idea of the this pilot doesn’t blow my skirt up, the casting so far certainly does. Gillian Anderson is coming back to TV. Granted this isn’t news as she was already making a return on NBC’s Hannibal, but that is just as a guest appearance. This project makes it to series and it’ll be like the 90’s again, Gillian Anderson on the small screen every week. Joining her are Rachel Taylor from the short lived 666 Park Avenue and the incredibly easy on the eyes, Lance Gross from House of Payne.

Of course, if this does make it to series and it is good, then we will have to start lighting candles in the hopes it doesn’t end up on the chopping block like Ravitch’s last series, Life. That one still stings.

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[tab title=”The Sixth Gun”]

NBC Pilot

This show, based on the graphic novel of the same name, is probably one I’m looking forward to most. Outside of maybe Bloodline, it seems to be the most “different” projects contending on a prime time slot. Has there been a western on network television in the last ten years? I don’t think so. Justified over on FX is NBC PilotWesternesque and then of course HBO’s Deadwood, but I don’t know that we’ve seen a western on a big 5 channel since the ill-fated Firefly. That alone is enough to check it out.

Another reason? W. Earl Brown. The man is just the embodiment of what an actor in a Western should be so it makes sense that he’s done time on both Deadwood and Justified. He’s been cast as General Oleander Hume who we all know found the six guns. There hasn’t been an announcement yet as to who will play Drake Sinclair or Hume’s wife but Silas Hedgepeth will be played by Graham McTavish (who has a voice anyone who has played a video game in the last five years will recognize) and Aldis Hodge (Leverage) will also be on the hunt for the guns as Agent Mercer.

The Sixth Gun had already been a “thing” at SyFy a couple of years ago before they dropped it, so here’s hoping it has more success on NBC.

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[tab title=”Hatfields and McCoys”]

In a surprise to no one, there is a TV series of the infamous feud between the Hatfields and McCoys in the works. After the raging success of History Channel’s miniseries, it really was only a matter of time. Honestly,NBC Pilot given the built-in drama of the families, it lends itself to good TV.

However, this show? Will not be good. I would place good money that it will just suck. First off, they are taking the two families out of Kentucky and West Virginia and putting them in modern day Philadelphia. I can only imagine that the pig that started it all will probably be something stupid like a real estate deal for a new condo development. This will likely be a typical crappy nighttime soap in the tradition of Dallas or the new Dallas.

I really wish Virginia Madsen had not been cast in this because I really like her. Oh well, if history tells us anything, this will probably be extremely popular and Madsen will have a nice run. Good for her.

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So there we go – potential NBC dramas! Some good, some really bad. Not a bad looking group of shows though for a network that is looking to crawl their way out of the ratings basement. We’ll just have to tune in come September to see if any of them give NBC the boost they so desperately need.

Next up… ABC!

Update: As series orders roll in, see how I did across the board!
NBC Comedies
ABC
CBS
FOX and The CW

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