It's become a blog tradition (sort of) that I compile a list of the most promising or interesting TV pilots that are being made for 2013-14. This tends to favour US shows (where the whole idea of a 'pilot episode' is purer and drives the industry), but it does include one UK show. Some of these pilots will never see the light of day (although a few may leak online), while others will become full-blown TV shows over the next year.
It's massively unfair to review shows without seeing them, but it would be a boring article if I simply listed everything, so I've once again included a 'gut feeling' paragraph. This is where I give my broad thoughts on each pilot, based solely on its concept and the talent assembled on both sides of the camera. It's far from an exact science, but it's all in good fun.
You may notice that most shows don't have official photographs or trailers, which is a little unusual compared to last year (when there seemed to be more material released by early-May), but I've done what I can. This post will be updated with photos, trailers and added information over the next few months—so please bookmark this post and refer back. Sharing this post in Facebook or Twitter would also be very much appreciated, because it took a lot of work to put together.
Finally, it's almost impossible to list every pilot that's of interest, but if you think I've overlooked something that deserves attention just say so in the comments. I will probably amend this post to include some more pilots, based on reader feedback, because I'm fully aware not everything appears on this list. Oh, and the pilots have been put into strict alphabetical order, and inclusion doesn't mean I'm expecting good things... just that I have some interest... and that can sometimes be for negative reasons!
Producer: Jason Katims (Parenthood)
Director: Jon Favreau (Iron Man)
Cast: David Walton (New Girl), Minnie Driver (Grosse Point Blank) & Benjamin Stockham (1600 Penn)
Outline: US remake of British author Nick Hornby's celebrated novel (previously adapted into a hit 2002 film starring Hugh Grant) about a middle-aged womaniser (Walton) who befriends a young boy (Stockham).
Gut Feeling: There's some talented folk behind this and a solid foundation with Hornby's novel, but it worked fine as a movie. I'm not sure a TV series is the best way forward.
Producers: Joss Whedon (Buffy, Angel), Jed Whedon (Dollhouse) & Maurissa Tancharoen (Dollhouse)
Director: Joss Whedon (The Avengers)
Cast: Clark Gregg (The Avengers), Iain De Caestecker (The Fades), Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Elizabeth Henstridge & Chloe Bennet.
Outline: Television spin-off to the Marvel superhero franchise, following the exploits of intelligence agency S.H.I.E.L.D.
Gut Feeling: How can this fail? The Marvel movies are box-office juggernauts, so this will give fans a weekly dose of superheroism in-between their big-budget movies. Of course, S.H.I.E.L.D won't be featuring Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, or The Hulk, but with geek royalty Joss Whedon involved I can't see that being a problem. Also fun to see Iain De Caestecker's career getting a massive boost with this, having first come to most people's notice as the lead in BBC Three's The Fades.
Creators: JJ Abrams (Alias, Star Trek) & Joel Wyman (Fringe)
Director: Brad Anderson (The Machinist)
Cast: Karl Urban (Star Trek, Dredd), Michael Ealy (FlashForward, The Good Wife), Lili Taylor (Six Feet Under), Mackenzie Crook (The Office) & Michael Irby.
Outline: Sci-fi crime drama set in a future where cops are partnered with highly-evolved androids.
Gut Feeling: JJ Abrams' biggest small-screen project for 2013, and he's due a hit after Alcatraz and Undercovers bombed. Or has TV's golden boy lost his touch now his mind's on movies? Doing something more overtly sci-fi already has me more excited; especially because it's co-produced by Fringe's Joel Wyman and stars the brilliant Urban. Hopefully this won't become too much of a tedious buddy cop drama with futuristic elements thrown in for good measure, but embrace the potential for something imaginative and thoughtful.
ANATOMY OF VIOLENCE (CBS)
Creators: Howard Gordon (24, Homeland), Alex Gansa (24, Homeland) & Alex Cary.
Director: Mark Pellington (Arlington Rd.)
Cast: Skeet Ulrich (Scream, Jericho), Amber Tamblyn (Joan of Arcadia) & David Harewood (Homeland)
Outline: Thriller about a maverick criminal psychologist (Ulrich) and a detective (Tamblyn) he has a history with, inspired by the non-fiction book by Adrian Raine.
Gut Feeling: A very uninspiring logline, but these kinds of shows tend to find audiences if the writing's smart and audiences fall in love with the actors. Will Ulrich and Tamblyn charm us? I'm mainly intrigued by the fact something that sounds so formulaic is coming from Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa, who are best-known for more inventive shows like 24 and Homeland. Is this show an easy pay cheque for them, or do they have something up their sleeves? We'll see...
Creators: Leslye Headland (Terriers), Jessica Elbaum, Owen Burke, Will Ferrell (Anchorman) & Adam McKay (Anchorman).
Director: Leslye Headland
Cast: Kristen Ritter (Don't Trust The B**** in Apartment 23), Alfed Molina (Spider-Man 2), Zach Cregger & Peter Cambor.
Outline: Adaptation of the stage play about an idealistic assistant called Nora (Ritter) and her larger-than-life boss.
Gut Feeling: I love Ritter as a screen presence, particularly in comedy, so there's that to look forward to. We'll have to see what the show's like and how funny it is, but the fact it's based on a credible stage play bodes well.
Producer: Hart Hanson (Bones)
Cast: Rainn Wilson (The Office), Dennis Haysbert (24, The Unit), Kristoffer Polaha (Ringer), Mamie Gummer (Emily Owens) & Page Kennedy.
Outline: US remake of the Swedish detective novels about an uncouth and offensive cop (Wilson) who manages to solve cases despite his rude behaviour and bad attitude.
Gut Feeling: I'm not a Rainn Wilson fan, as I find his character Dwight on The Office one of the key reasons I dislike that cartoon-y remake. But this concept does seem to play to his strengths, if we're essentially going to be given a 'Dwight Schrute P.I' television show.
Producer: Hilary Winston (Community)
Cast: Ari Graynor (Fringe), Ryan Hansen (Veronica Mars), David Alan Grier, Sara Gilbert (Big Bang Theory), Kristin Davis (Sex and the City) & Sara Rodier.
Outline: TV remake of the 2011 Cameron Diaz movie about a reckless, rude and inappropriate divorcee high school teacher.
Gut Feeling: The movie wasn't great, but it had its moments and the idea feels well suited to TV. Is Ari Graynor a suitable replacement for sex symbol Diaz, though? Nice to see a female alumnus of Community's writing staff behind this, though.
Creators: Alfonso Cuaron (Harry Potter 3), Mark Friedman (The Forgotten) & JJ Abrams (Lost, Fringe)
Cast: Johnny Sequoyah, Jake McLaughlin, Delroy Lindo (The Chicago Code), Jamie Chung (Sucker Punch) & Sienna Guillory (Resident Evil)
Outline: Supernatural drama about an escaped prisoner called Tate (McLaughlin) who's tasked with protecting a young girl called Bo with special powers.
Gut Feeling: The concept sounds like a pulpy Dean Koonz novel, which doesn't really fill me with hope, but you can't dismiss anything coming from the dream team of Abrams and Cuaron. The latter must have seen something in this idea of worth, if he's attached his name to it.
Producers: Shawn Ryan (The Shield, Last Resort) & Eddie Murphy (Shrek, Nutty Professor)
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld (Men In Black)
Cast: Brandon T. Jackson (Tropic Thunder), Eddie Murphy (Trading Places), Christine Lahti, David Denman & Judge Reinhold (Vice Versa)
Outline: TV sequel to the Beverly Hills Cop trilogy of the '80s and '90s, focusing on the son of Axel Foley (Murphy) as he follows in his father's footsteps by tackling crime in the rich suburbs.
Gut Feeling: I'd rather have a fourth movie with Eddie Murphy trying to claw back some cinematic dignity, but this is an acceptable consolation. It helps that the BHC concept suits an ongoing TV show perfectly, so provided Brandon T. Jackson isn't overshadowed by his own predecessor on-screen, this could be a surprise success. Shawn Ryan's involvement suggests it will be a worthwhile venture.
Creator: Davey Holmes (Awake, Shameless)
Director: Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow)
Cast: Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives), Anthony LaPaglia (Without a Trace), Michael Stahl-David, Patrick Heusinger, Olivia Crocicchia (Rescue Me) & Rosa Salazar.
Outline: Drama about a family of assassins working for the US government.
Gut Feeling: Intriguing one-line concept, but a lot depends on the interplay of the actors and exactly how this idea will play out. Does this family work together, or do they all just happen to have the same job? The possibility of watching Felicity Huffman shoot people is enough to get me tuning into the premiere. Mrs & Mrs Smith, if they had kids following in their footsteps?
Creator: David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal)
Director: Jason Winer (Modern Family)
Cast: Robin Williams (Hook, Good Morning Vietnam), Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy), James Wolk & Amanda Setton (The Mindy Project)
Outline: Comedy about a father and daughter running an advertising agency together.
Gut Feeling: Williams and Gellar could make for an unusual double-act, but they could also be awful together. That's all I really have to say on the matter, beyond reminding you that Kelley's written work is incredibly hit-and-miss.
Creator: Karyn Usher (Prison Break, Bones)
Cast: Emma Roberts (Scream 4), Corey Reynolds, Gregg Sulkin & Billy Campbell
Outline: TV adaptation of the best-selling book trilogy about a world where feelings of love are eradicated with an injection, only for a young woman to fall in love before her scheduled treatment.
Gut Feeling: Yawn, yawn, yaaawn. This is just another approach to an idea covered far too many times; most closely resembling Equilibrium (where all emotions were outlawed, not just love, which is actually a much better idea.) Has Emma Roberts given up on a movie career already?
Creator: David Shore (House)
Director: Tommy Schlamme (The West Wing)
Cast: Steve Coogan (Alan Partridge), Carla Gugino (Sucker Punch), Greg Grunberg (Heroes), John Pankow (Episodes) & Mercedes Ruehl.
Outline: Legal drama about an ex-cop (Coogan) who becomes a low-rent lawyer; winning cases with a mix of street smarts and charisma, while trying to win back his ex-wife.
Gut Feeling: Coogan's been chipping away at the American market for years now, winning the odd memorable supporting role in films produced by Anglophile fans of his work (Night at the Museum, Tropic Thunder, The Other Guys). But maybe US TV will be kinder to him, in a show masterminded by the showrunner who turned Hugh Laurie into a household name with House. A part of me hopes this fails purely because success means we'll lose Coogan to America for a prolonged period of time. I think we'd better savour this summer's Alan Partridge movie...
Producers: Cole Haddon, Colin Callendar, Tony Krantz (24), Gareth Neame (Downton Abbey) & Dan Knauf (Carnivale)
Cast: Jonathan Rhys Meyers (The Tudors), Jessica De Gouw (Arrow), Katie McGrath (Merlin) & Nonso Anozie (Game of Thrones).
Outline: Re-imagining of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula, with the vampire posing as an American entrepreneur trying to bring science and modernity to Victorian London.
Gut Feeling: The first of a few new shows involving the famous Count Dracula, but this feels the most likely to succeed. The cast alone makes it worth a watch, and I'm pleased to see Merlin's McGrath getting a decent role. My only concern is the conceptual tweak to the core idea may not work, but we'll see how it plays on-screen.
Creator: Matt Lopez (The Sorcerer's Apprentice)
Director: Anand Tucker (Leap Year)
Cast: Janet Montgomery (Human Target, Merlin), Tom Ellis (Miranda), Raza Jaffrey (Spooks), Chris Egan (Kings), Melissa George (Hunted), Seth Gabel (Fringe) & Emma Booth.
Outline: Gothic soap about a young woman called Grace Van Helsing (Montgomery) who takes over her family's home town newspaper while investigating her lineage with the help of enigmatic playboy Dorian Gray. Her quest will lead to her meeting classic horror monsters Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, and Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde.
Gut Feeling: The summary is a little too sketchy to make sense of at this early stage. Is it going to be like Once Upon A Time, only with horror icons? We'll have to wait and see, but I do like the cast they've put together. I just have a feeling this will be the loser when compared to Showtime's similar Penny Dreadful.
Producer: Ronald D. Moore (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Battlestar Galactica)
Outline: Sci-fi thriller about a team of Antarctic scientists investigating a strange disease.
Gut Feeling: Moore wrote a sequel to The Thing once, so my initial thought is that this has become the basis of Helix. Apparently that's not true and it's a weird coincidence, because Helix's script was written by Cameron Porsandeh. Moore made Battlestar Galactica into one of the decade's best sci-fi dramas, so let's hope he hasn't lost his touch as a producer. That disease had better be interesting, though...
HIGH MOON (Syfy)
Creator: Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies, Wonderfalls)
Outline: Adaptation of John Christopher's novel The Lotus Caves, about a future where Earth has built mining colonies on the moon, where two teenagers living in 'The Bubble' discover an alien life form.
Gut Feeling: Sounds fun, but having read up on the 1969 novel I'm not sure how this will justify an ongoing TV show.
Producer: Jason Rothenberg (Body Politic)
Cast: Eliza Taylor (Neighbours), Henry Ian Cusick (Lost), Kelly Hu (Arrow), Isaiah Washington (Grey's Anatomy) & Paige Turco (American Gothic)
Outline: 97 years after a nuclear war's destroyed civilisation, a spaceship containing the sole human survivor deposits 100 juvenile delinquents on the planet with the aim of recolonising it. Based on the forthcoming books.
Gut Feeling: The concept sounds ludicrous and I'm still not completely sure what to expect from this one. It's also very odd to be making a TV show of a book that hasn't even been published yet, but I guess someone saw something special in this zany idea.
Creator: Michael Seitzman (North Country)
Director: David Semel (No Ordinary Family)
Cast: Josh Holloway (Lost), Marg Helgenberger (CSI) & Meghan Ory (Once Upon A Time)
Outline: Spy-fi drama about a Navy SEAL (Holloway) who has a microchip implanted in his brain that allows him to access all of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Gut Feeling: It sounds like a non-nerdy take on Chuck, only with a character who has the same super power as Ryan Cartwright's character in Alphas. It could be okay, I guess, but only Josh Holloway's presence will get me tuning in.
Producers: Michael Caleo (The Sopranos), David Semel (No Ordinary Family), Teri Weinberg, John Davis & Jon Fox.
Cast: Blair Underwood (In Treatment, The Event), Spencer Grammer (CSI: NY), Brent Sexton (The Killing), Pablo Schreiber (Lights Out) & Neal Bledsoe.
Outline: Remake of the 1960s murder-mystery drama with a wheelchair-bound detective (Underwood).
Gut Feeling: A straight update with an obvious change to the lead character's ethnicity. As with all of these shows, it will depend on how good the mysteries are and how well Underwood draws you in. He has charisma, so that's promising.
Adapters: Hank Steinberg (Without a Trace) & Steven Kane (The Closer)
Director: Jonathan Mostow (Terminator 3)
Starring: Adam Baldwin (Firefly), Rhona Mitra (Underworld: Rise of the Lycans) & Michaela McManus (The Vampire Diaries)
Outline: After a pandemic kills the majority of the Earth's population, the crew of the USS Nathan James find themselves stranded aboard their ship.
Gut Feeling: Based on a novel by William Brinkley, the idea sounds like it would make a better movie. How often have we heard that about TV shows of late? I guess there's no real way of predicting this one until we learn more specifics.
THE LEFTOVERS (HBO)
Producer: Damon Lindelof (Lost, Prometheus)
Director: Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights, Hancock)
Outline: Adaptation of the best-selling novel about the repercussions of 100 people simultaneously disappearing from a local community, who are part of a global vanishing known as 'The Rapture' in The Bible.
Gut Feeling: I've always been fascinated by the idea of the Rapture. (I even wrote Millennium fan-fiction with that as the key plot-device.) This is obviously based on a book that's been a big hit, so there must be something here to get excited about. Anyone read it? How do you get drama from the stories of people who have been left behind? Lindelof's presence has me intrigued, because I actually enjoyed most of what he did with Lost.
Adapters: Howard Gordon (Homeland), Mark Bomback (Total Recall) & Jeffrey Nachmanoff (Homeland)
Director: David Semel (American Horror Story)
Starring: Sean Bean (Game of Thrones), Ali Larter (Heroes), Amber Valletta (Revenge) & Tina Majorino (Veronica Mars)
Outline: Sci-fi drama about a CIA agent who can transform himself into different people.
Gut Feeling: It sounds like a mix of 1990s drama The Pretender with elements of Dollhouse and Alias, but this is actually based on a novel by Robert Littell. It sounds fun. Interesting to note that Brendan Fraser was going to star, before he pulled out to be replaced by Bean. Is this basically Quantum Leap without the time travel?
LOST ANGELS (TNT)
Producer: Frank Darabont (Shawshank Redemption, The Walking Dead)
Director: Frank Darabont (The Green Mile)
Cast: Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead), Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes), Jeffrey DeMunn (The Walking Dead), Alexa Davalos (Angel) & Neal McDonough (Justified).
Outline: Adaptation of John Buntin's novel L.A Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America's Most Seductive City, telling the story of a decades-long conflict between the LAPD and a criminal gang run by an ex-boxer.
Gut Feeling: I'm looking forward to sampling this because it sounds like an intelligent, adult crime drama. Darabont is very good at creating worlds and atmosphere, while the cast he's put together is very intriguing. Hopefully this won't be another Magic City, but something that truly captures the public's imagination.
Adapter: Adrian Hodges (Primeval)
Starring: Luke Pasqualino (Skins, The Borgias) Tom Burke (Great Expectations, The Hour), Santiago Cabrera (Merlin, Heroes), Howard Charles, Peter Capaldi (The Hour, The Thick of It), Tamla Kari (Cuckoo, The Inbetweeners Movie), Maimie McCoy (Loving Miss Hatto) & Hugo Speer (The Full Monty, Bedlam)
Outline: Adaptation of the famous Alexandre Dumas novel, concerning three French musketeers living in the 17th-century.
Gut Feeling: Together with Atlantis, this is aiming to replace Merlin as a Saturday early-evening family-friendly adventure. It comes from Adrian Hodges, who created ITV's Primeval (so he knows how to be populist) and the BBC's Survivors (so he has a more adult sensibility when required). This feels like a good fit for him, and I really like the cast. I can't say I'm passionate about The Three Musketeers as a property, but hopefully this won't become a Robin Hood-style misfire.
PENNY DREADFUL (Showtime)
Creators: John Logan (Gladiator) & Sam Mendes (Skyfall)
Director: Sam Mendes (TBC)
Outline: Psychosexual thriller set in Victorian London where Count Dracula, Van Helsing, Jack the Ripper, Dorian Gray and Frankenstein's Monster are all brought together.
Gut Feeling: The third project featuring Dracula, but Penny Dreadful's biggest creative rival is Gothica (which also seems to be recycling Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comics). The things in this show's favour is its cable origin (i.e. more violence and nudity) and the apropos period setting. I'm actually very excited about this one.
Adapter: Brian Michael Bendis (creator), Michael Avon Oeming & Charles Eglee (Dexter)
Director: Michael Dinner (Justified)
Cast: Michael Patric (Lost Boys), Charles S. Dutton (Alien3), Titus Welliver (The Good Wife, Lost) & Vinnie Jones (Lock, Stock)
Outline: Adaptation of the popular comic-book about two detectives fighting crime in a world full of people with super-powers.
Gut Feeling: FX have been working on this adaptation for bloody ages, but don't appear to have cracked the nut. Jason Patrick's still involved as the lead, but pretty British co-star Lucy Punch (Vexed) has since been replaced.
Adapters: Less Eisenberg & Gene Stupnitsku (The Office, Bad Teacher)
Cast: Kristen Schaal (Flight of the Conchords), June Diane Raphael, Jenny Slate & Matt Oberg.
Outline: US remake of the cult UK sitcom about three thirtysomething women, desperate to find love and happiness.
Gut Feeling: Oh God, I'm braced for an abomination because most US remakes of UK sitcoms are awful. I doubt this will be as caustic and witty as the BBC show, but at least the casting of Schaal is evidence they're not going to fill this with drop-dead sexy babes with pearly whites. (Sorry, Kristen.)
Creator: Peter Duncan (Rake) & Peter Tolan (Rescue Me)
Director: Sam Raimi (Spider-Man, Oz: The Great & Powerful)
Cast: Greg Kinnear (Little Miss Sunshine)
Outline: US remake of the Australian courtroom drama about a criminal defence lawyer Keegan Joye (Kinnear) with no personal filter when it comes to voicing his opinion.
Gut Feeling: Quite a strange one this. It'll come down to Kinnear's performance and the cleverness of the scripts. Raimi's presence behind the camera, for the pilot, likely sets up unfair expectations, but at least the Australian show's creator is behind the remake of his own show. Less excuses if it goes haywire.
Creator: Aaron Zelman (Criminal Minds)
Director: Charles McDougall (The Office)
Cast: Omar Epps (House), Devin Kelley (Covert Affairs), Matt Craven, Samaire Armstrong & Frances Fisher.
Outline: Drama based on the book by Jason Mott about the dead returning to life and resuming their old lives in the town of Arcadia.
Gut Feeling: Is there something in the water about this idea? The BBC's In the Flesh did something similar earlier this year, and that show cleaved close to a 2004 French movie called They Came Back... which was also turned into a TV series last year. Luckily I do like the basic idea, but it feels like overkill.
THE SAINT (TBD)
Director: Simon West (Con Air, Tomb Raider)
Starring: Adam Rayner (Closure), Eliza Dushku (Dollhouse), James Remar (Dexter), Roger Moore (Live and Let Die) & Ian Ogilvy (The Saint).
Outline: Remake of the classic British series, with Adam Rayner taking over as Simon Templar (a.k.a The Saint) and partnered with Eliza Dushku.
Gut Feeling: It's attracted a half-decent director in Simon West, but I'm not sure audiences care about the legacy of this British property. It's just another spy show, right? Hopefully not. It isn't good that there's still no network attached to actually broadcast it. You can watch the trailer here.
Producers: Tony DiSanto & Liz Gateley (Teen Wolf)
Outline: TV adaptation of the popular post-modern slasher movie saga, created by Kevin Williamson (The Vampire Diaries). Likely to be a long-form murder-mystery involving attractive teens being killed by a Ghostface killer/s in a small-town. The movie's director Wes Craven is apparently being courted to direct the pilot episode.
Gut Feeling: I loved Scream, enjoyed Scream 2, hated Scream 3, and was mainly bored by Scream 4. I'm not sure there's much juice left in this particular lemon, but I also don't think the idea will be terrible as a TV drama. I was a big fan of Harper's Island, which this will likely resemble. MTV are undoubtedly only interested because it has a built-in audience and will allow them to cast some sexy stars.
Adapters: Elizabeth Craft & Sarah Fain (666 Park Ave.)
Director: Alex Graves (Game of Thrones)
Cast: Michael Malarkey, Yael Grobglas, Anthony Head (Buffy), Lucien Laviscount, Sean Patrick Thomas & Pete Sergeant.
Outline: Fantasy drama set 300-years in the future, where a young woman is chosen by lottery to fight and become the country's next queen.
Gut Feeling: Yes, it's back! The CW clearly want to make their version of The Hunger Games, because this pilot has been remade after it didn't go to series last year. Maybe they'll get it right this time. It feels like a good sign they're committed to making sure it meets a certain standard, at least.
SECOND SIGHT (CBS)
Creator: Michael Cuesta (Dexter) & Gerald Cuesta.
Director: Michael Cuesta
Cast: Jason Lee (My Name Is Earl)
Outline: US remake of the spooky British drama about a detective (Lee) afflicted with an autoimmune virus that gives him hallucinations connected to his subconscious.
Gut Feeling: I actually didn't see the UK show, but the idea sounds quite interesting. Yes, it's another cop show with a supernatural twist, and I'm a little fed up with shows where characters have been 'touched by God', but there you have it. Here comes another!
Creator: Ryan Condal
Cast: Michiel Huisman (Treme), Elena Santine (Magic City), Laura Ramsey (Ruins), Graham McTavish (The Hobbit) & Aldis Hodge.
Outline: Adaptation of the supernatural Western graphic novel about six mythical guns with otherworldly powers.
Gut Feeling: Anyone read this comic-book? How do you possibly create a TV show from this idea? Is there more to this than the summary makes clear? Will each season focus on acquiring a different supernatural gun? I need more info.
Creator: Alex Kurtzman & Bob Orci (Fringe, Star Trek)
Director: Len Wiseman (Underworld, Die Hard 4.0)
Cast: Tom Mison (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, see left), Nicole Beharie (Shame), Orlando Jones & Katia Winter.
Outline: Horror drama inspired by the short story by Washington Irving, following the mission of Ichabod Crane (Mison) to rid a town of evil with the help of its sheriff (Beharie).
Gut Feeling: It sounds ridiculous to me, but we'll see. Sometimes TV shows use an existing property as a leg-up to do something pretty unremarkable. Fans of the Sleepy Hollow legend will likely be drawn to this, but it will have to work hard to make it feel worth returning to. Writers Kurtzman and Orci are the sole reason I'm hopeful.
Adapters: Simeon Goulden (Spy), Jimmy Mulville, Helen Williams, Jeff Filgo & Jackie Filgo
Director: Alex Hardcastle (Parks & Recreation)
Cast: Rob Corddry (see right), Paget Brewster (Criminal Minds), Ken Jeong (Community), Moshe Jasher, Camille Guaty & Mason Cook.
Outline: US remake of the hit UK sitcom about the single father (Corddry) of a precocious young son (Cook), who manages to accidentally join the intelligence service.
Gut Feeling: I thought the BAFTA-winning UK original was very poor; or, to be more accurate, used its concept ineptly. But the basic idea has definite potential, so maybe US money can create a comedy that lives up the title. Ken Jeong in the role of The Examiner sounds terrible, however.
Creator: Meredith Averill (The Good Wife)
Director: Gary Fleder (Kiss the Girls)
Cast: Aimee Teegarden (Friday Night Lights), Matt Lanter (90210), Malese Jow & Titus Mankin Jr.
Outline: Sci-fi drama about the romance between a human girl and an alien boy, who has been sent to high school with eight other aliens (the 'Orion 9') many years after first contact was made and hundreds of their kind were forced into internment camps.
Gut Feeling: Hmmm. Sounds like they're going for a contemporary take on Alien Nation, only with some Twilight-style high school romance at the heart of it. Does this float anyone's boat? Aimee Teegarden looks heavenly, though.
THE STRAIN (FX)
Producers: Guillermo Del Toro (Hellboy) & Carlton Cuse (Lost)
Starring: Corey Stoll (House of Cards)
Outline: Adaptation of the novel trilogy co-written by Del Toro with Chuck Hogan (Prince of Thieves), concerning a passenger jet that lands at JFK airport and unleashes a plague of parasitic vampires.
Gut Feeling: There are quite a lot of these projects around just now, with networks perhaps taking a leaf out of AMC's book with The Walking Dead by simply bringing a popular book/comic to the small-screen. I haven't read these books, but the basic concept feels a little shop-worn to me. It even has a few similarities to Fringe's pilot. But I'm a fan of Del Toro's, so expect him to have cooked up something that's very entertaining and visually punchy.
Creator: Greg Garcia (Raising Hope)
Cast: Rupert Grint (Harry Potter), Stephen Fry (QI) & Tyler Labine (Reaper).
Outline: Drama about a meek fast-food worker called Clyde (Grint) who inherits millions and uses the riches to become a crime-fighting superhero, with the aide of his butler (Fry)
Gut Feeling: This all depends on the style and tone. The idea doesn't sound very fresh on the surface, but you never know what flourishes are up Greg Garcia's sleeve. I quite like the notion of Ron Weasley as a superhero, helped by Jeeves.
Adapter: Phil Klemmer (Chuck)
Director: Danny Cannon (Nikita)
Cast: Robbie Amell (see left), Peyton List (Mad Men, FlashForward) & Mark Pellegrino (Lost, Supernatural)
Outline: US remake of the '70s British sci-fi drama about a group of highly-evolved young people with amazing abilities.
Gut Feeling: Really? Do we really need another superhero ensemble show? I mean, really. This lemon was squeezed dry years ago when all the Heroes-wannabes blew into town, and the recent demise of Alphas suggests audiences are very, very tired of it. You need to offer something new in this shop-worn genre, not resurrect old shows.
Cast: Jason Ritter (The Event), Alexis Bledel (Gilmore Girls) & Jane Kaczmarek (Malcolm in the Middle).
Outline: US remake of the hit BBC sitcom Gavin & Stacey, about two people starting a relationship who comes from very different social backgrounds.
Gut Feeling: I'm not a big G&S fan, so I don't begrudge this remake happening. The concept travels nicely because the idea is universal, so maybe we'll become engrossed by the love story between Ritter and Bledel. Or maybe we won't. Either way, creators James Corden and Ruth Jones are laughing all the way to the bank after selling this format to the States.
Creator: Sam Laybourne & Michael J Fox (The Good Wife)
Director: Will Gluck (Friends With Benefits)
Cast: Michael J. Fox (Back to the Future, Spin City), Wendell Pierce (The Wire) & Betsy Brandt (Breaking Bad)
Outline: Sitcom about a New York news anchorman (Fox) with Parkinson's disease.
Gut Feeling: It's great to see Michael J Fox back on our screens after scaling back his workload to fight Parkinson's disease in real life, and even if Fox just reprises his lawyer character from The Good Wife, but in the world of television... I'm fine with that. Just make it funny.