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Pilot Pick-Up Review (FOX) – 2011-2012 Season

Development season is right now, and with the scripts picked to pilot about to be shot, the next best thing besides watching the finished product is reading them. As well as reviewing them. I’ll also venture a guess as to whether I think they’ll go to series or not (all of which is announced as usual at the Upfronts). So here goes.

Let’s now switch over to FOX, the young male-skewing network.
They’re still going strong on the genre/action dramas while cashing in on the successes of some of their own, and their competition’s, series. With a newfound success in live-action comedies, they’re also trying this season to develop further more their comedy brand.

Dramas (One-hour)
Exit Strategy (David Guggenheim)
Logline: A dramatic series with action elements centering on the CIA operatives who get involved when the mission has been compromised and make sure that innocent people aren’t harmed. Episodes would take place in countries around the world.
With: Megan Dodds, Lina Esco, Elyes Gabel, Ethan Hawke, Tom Sizemore, Lily Rabe
My thoughts:
Although far from groundbreaking, Exit Strategy is still an engaging action-thriller.
The end hints at a serialized storytelling (a la Alias), which I much prefer to a “mission of the week” format. And with Ethan Hawke as the lead, you can’t complain.
Probably one of, if not the main show FOX pushes next season (with Alcatraz and Locke & Key).
Going to series? Yes. FOX is definitely trying to fill in for 24 and with the strong cast and crew behind the project, this one is a shoe-in replacement.

Locke & Key (Josh Friedman)
Logline: A dramatic series based on the graphic novel series by Joe Hill. The series tells the stories of three young people who move with their mother following their father’s murder to the family estate of Keyhouse, located in Lovecraft, Massachusetts. The mansion contains keys hidden inside its walls that offer magical powers and help protect the family from a supernatural entity that will stop at nothing to destroy them.
With: Sarah Bolger, Skylar Gaertner, Jesse McCartney, Miranda Otto, Nick Stahl, Harrison Thomas
My thoughts:
Not to insult FOX’s core viewership, but Locke & Key might be a little too high brow for the network, especially story-wise.
I’m excited about the show though, and not only because of Josh Friedman’s involvement.
Going to series? Probably. Although still a genre show, it is still a risky show to pick for FOX. Let’s not forget how The Sarah Connor Chronicles fared a couple of years ago.

Touch (Tim Kring)
Logline: A dramatic series centering on a young boy with autism whose condition gives him a unique ability to recognize patterns. These patterns allow him to predict events.
With: Kiefer Sutherland
My thoughts:
It’s bad. Really.
I don’t even know where to start.
How about one of the side stories centering on an Iraqi teenager whose family desperately needs a new oven, so he decides to become a suicide-bomber so his parents can inherit cash from the terrorist organization.
Wait, what?
The kicker being that he is brought back to reason thanks to a conversation he has with a total stranger calling him over the bomb trigger (which also doubles as cellphone).
The “everyone is connected” motto has been beaten over the head already, but Touch brings it to an all-time low (or is it all-time ridiculousness?). ‘Condescending serendipity’ doesn’t even describe half of it.
Notice how I haven’t even touched upon the kid’s storyline, supposedly the main thread of the show (but really isn’t).
Why is Kiefer remotely interested in this project, I have no idea.
Going to series? I hope not, but most likely yes (for a later than usual premiere date probably).

Weekends at Bellevue (Lisa Zwerling)
Logline: A dramatic series based on the memoir of the same name by Dr. Julie Holland. The book is about her times as a doctor on the night shift at New York City’s Bellevue hospital, a name that has become synonymous with insanity. She met a bewildering assortment of drunks, sociopaths, schizophrenics and homeless people malingering in hope of a warm place to crash. As the physician in charge of the psychiatric emergency room, she acted as gatekeeper, deciding who would be sent upstairs to the psych ward, to Central Booking or back to the streets.
With: Xzibit, David Alpay, Lauren Ambrose, Janet McTeer, Amber Stevens, Eric Winter, Aaron Yoo
My thoughts:
Yes, Xzibit is in this. No, I didn’t know it at the time I read the pilot; which is probably for the best or else I would have had a strong prejudice against the show (But Lauren Ambrose’s involvement brings me back into the fold).
I’m not a big fan of medical procedurals, although this show is at the very least interesting, if not fresh. The cuckoo house aspect is sadly not as edgy as one might have hoped, but then again this is a broadcast world.
One thing that bothered me was the total lack of conclusion in regards to two of the main cases/patients in the pilot. Are we to assume they’re recurring characters that we’ll see next episode?
Another big question-mark is the total lack of information about what the hell the main character does the rest of the week. Yes, she spends her weekends at Bellevue (thank you informative title), but what about Mon-Fri?
Going to series? Probably. The medical aspect and its atypical protagonist makes this a perfect companion to House.

Multi-camera Comedies (Half-hour)
I Hate My Teenage Daughter (Sherry Bilsing/Ellen Kreamer)
Logline:A multi-camera comedy series centering on two divorced women who are best friends and were nerds in high school. To protect their daughters from being tortured by “mean girls” in high school like they were, they gave them all of the cool clothes and gear they never had. Now, they find their teen daughters are just like their tormentors and they have created monsters.
With: Chad L Coleman, Aisha Dee, Katie Finneran, Kristi Lauren, Jaime Pressly, Kevin Rahm, Eric Sheffer Steven
My thoughts:
They might hate their teenage daughters but i hated this script.
The dynamic between the two mothers might be somewhat funny for some people, but the teenage daughters are really unlikeable. As in: ‘I want to punch them in the face repeatedly’ unlikeable.
Going to series? Please no?

Single-camera Comedies (Half-hour)
The Council of Dads (Peter Tolan)
Logline: A single camera comedy series loosely based on the memoir of the same name by Bruce Feiler. The book centers on Feiler, who has received a serious cancer diagnosis and worries about his daughters growing up without a father. He asks his six close male friends to help carry out his wishes and fill the gap that he would leave in his children’s lives.
With: Kyle Bornheimer, Patrick Breen, Diane Farr, Rick Gomez, Ken Howard, Richard T. Jones
My thoughts:
Maybe it was due to the talent involved in this, but I felt kind of letdown by the pilot.
Since each “dad” is a different section/aspect/type, categorizes them meaning two-dimensional.
I “liked” the fact that the show starts after the father’s death, which at least avoids the “will he/won’t he die” aspect that could have been dragged on for years. With that said, I did struggle with the way the show pretty much omits entirely any kind of grieving process. “Oh well he’s dead now, let’s get the new dads in.”
Going to series? Probably. Although not as edgy as Raising Hope, the family aspect from Council of Dads begs to be paired with the FOX hit.

Family Album (Joe Port/Joe Wiseman)
Logline: A single camera comedy series centering on a family with a dad who is determined that his family spends quality time together. In each episode, the family shares the highlights from the week via a video chat with an out of town relative. With this framing device, the events and memories unfold in flashback and chronicle the family’s life.
With: Isabella Cramp, Damaris Diaz, Rachael Harris, Rob Huebel, Mike O’Malley, Joy Osmanski, Ted Sutherland
My thoughts
Did someone say Modern Family copycat?
Oh, I did.
Yup, Family Album is the obligatory “let’s do our version of another network’s successful show.” Right down to the closing voice-over/moral of the story/reflections on the adventures of the episode.
I should probably also mention that the pilot felt pretty much like a 30-minute iPad ad. Bonus negative points.
Going to series? Let’s hope not.

Iceland (Andy Bobrow)
Logline: A single camera comedy series centering on a group of friends who are reunited and nurture each other after the death of one of their own.
With: Kerry Bishe, John Boyd, Zach Gilford, Krysta Rodriquez
My thoughts:
Another comedy about the aftermath of the death of a close friend/family member.
I’m sensing a want chez FOX to counter-program How I Met Your Mother. Because this is pretty much their version of the comedy, albeit with Ted being dead.
Going to series? Possibly. Might fit perfectly in a new live-action comedy night.

The New Girl (Liz Meriwether)
Logline: A single camera comedy series centering on a young woman who moves in with three male roommates after a breakup and gets a greater understanding of relationships with the opposite sex.
With: Zooey Deschanel, Max Greenfield, Jake M Johnson, Hannah Simone, Damon Wayans Jr.
My thoughts:
Let’s get this out of the way first: the concept is a reach.
The main character is an attractive woman who literally cannot get any man to sleep with her. Heck, she even has to pay a man at a bar to have a conversation with her.
Now picture Zooey Deschanel as that woman and you can see why the plot itself is just a tad, you know, preposterous.
Besides this major leap of believability, the show isn’t bad.
I guess Chicks and Dicks (original title) was too edgy for FOX?
Going to series? Yes. You can’t say no to the second (first?) Deschanel sister.

Tagged (David Guarascio/Moses Port)
Logline: A hybrid multi-and single camera dark comedy series loosely based on the book Dead Center by Shiya Ribowsky. Ribowsky worked as a medicolegal investigator in New York City’s medical examiner’s office—the largest, most sophisticated organization of its kind in the world. Utilizing his background in medicine, he led the investigations of more than eight thousand individual deaths, becoming a key figure in some of New York’s most bizarre death cases. The series centers on a young man who graduates from medical school and chooses to join his coroner father rather than take a job in a hospital.
With: B.J. Bales, Gary Cole, Tommy Dewey, Bret Ernst, Robin Givens, Lindsey Kraft, Mel Rodriguez
My thoughts:
Let’s just say I fell into a coma halfway through the first page of the script.
Going to series? Maybe. Gary Cole’s presence might be the only reason for a pick-up besides the workplace setting.

The last broadcast network, NBC, is coming next.


  1. Betty Marie

    What is happenning with Fox’s “Outnumbered”? Sure would love this comedy to be picked up!

  2. Alex

    It was once again picked up to pilot (rolled over from the 08-09 season). They reshot the pilot last December, though I haven’t heard much from it since.

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