TheRatingsJunkie's Picks: The Most Promising Put Pilots in Development

Sure, it's only November, but there is still development in terms of the 2017-18 TV season. Several scripts have already seen put pilot orders, meaning that there is almost a guarantee that the show will
go to pilot (and from there, the pilots will be narrowed down to what makes our television screens). I've decided to take a look into just which shows have put pilot orders at the moment, and from there narrowed them down to which ones I think may have the most potential as a possible TV show. We'll obviously have a much clearer vision of the development season in the coming months, but I thought it would be fun to start early. Let me know what you think of my predictions, and head over to TheFutonCritic to make your own picks! We might just have our 3rd Annual Pilot Pick-Up Tournament this spring, so why not start looking now?

So here are my picks. Credit to TheFutonCritic for the descriptions.

ABC Comedy
1) Start Up
Description: single-camera comedy about a guy (Braff) in his mid-30s with a wife and two kids makes the crazy decision to quit his good job and dive into the brave new world of starting a business.
My Thoughts: On paper, this seems like it will have the capability of being a family comedy that also centers primarily on the two adults in the family, and one that could make for a great pair with Shark Tank or Beyond the Tank. Its premise looks somewhat familiar for an ABC comedy, but also distinguishes itself enough so that you can't roll your eyes and say "Ugh, another Modern Family".

2) Untitled Jeremy Bronson Project
Description: single-camera comedy about a struggling hip-hop artist who runs for mayor to promote his mixtape--and wins
My Thoughts: There have been quite a few people mentioning that the future President of the United States may have entered the race because he was starting to struggle financially and wanted to promote his brand, never expecting to win. And while the vast majority of people who say this are 100% joking, you have to admit that in a situation like that, you really want to see what happens next. If ordered to series it would be really interesting to see where this show takes itself, and how the hip-hop artist manages as mayor. Its problem is it isn't really on brand for ABC and would probably have a better shot at the all-inclusive FOX or rebuilding NBC, but this is an intriguing premise nonetheless, earning a spot on my list.

3) Untitled Carol Burnett Project
Description: multi-camera comedy about a family who gets a chance to buy the house of their dreams--a house they'd never be able to afford under normal circumstances, but is able to under extremely abnormal circumstances; they must live with the current owner, and older actress (Burnett)--until she dies
My Thoughts: This is definitely one of ABC's more high-profile projects at the time, starring a comedy legend, and looks like a family comedy that would fit in perfectly on their Friday multi-camera night. One question is, will this be a newer premise but bring us the same old jokes? Will viewers even care? A major concern is if this turns out like Lucille Ball's last-ditch effort Life with Lucy, which was very short lived and negatively received. I don't think they would go out of their way to make room for this one, but if it works scheduling wise then this will most likely be towards the top of their list.

Honorable Mention) Libby & Malcolm
Description: single-camera comedy billed as a very real look at how today's "politics of division" play out between two opposing pundits who also happen to be married; one's black, one's white; one's left, one's right
My Thoughts: When compiling this list, the one thing I looked as was the description and decided solely on that merit. I did not look at the production company, creator, cast, etc. On just the description this one was on the bubble for me, giving me vibes of The Carmichael Show for better or worse. It doesn't seem like the typical ABC comedy, though being from Black-ish creator Kenya Barris may help its chances. Then again, Shondaland is 0 for 1 in the comedy department, so the name alone won't make it an automatic pick-up.

ABC Drama
1) Doomsday
Description: drama which starts in the aftermath of 9/11, when the U.S. government institutes a secret think tank featuring the most creative minds in science and entertainment that is tasked with dreaming up man-made disaster scenarios and their possible solutions; because the hypothetical ideas are deemed extremely dangerous, the list is sealed and the program shut down; but when a catastrophe occurs that's ripped from the pages of the missing doomsday book, the team is brought back years later to prevent the disasters of their own making.
My Thoughts: This tagline seems intriguing and gives me a Designated Survivor vibe more so than Conviction or Notorious, which based on this season's ratings is probably a good thing. It doesn't explicitly state it, though it looks like this could be of a procedural nature while still straying away from the usual formula.

2) Untitled Paul William Davies Project
Description: drama set in the Souther District of New York Federal Court and follows brand new lawyers working for both the defense and the prosecution as they handle the most high profile and high stakes cases in the country--all as their personal lives intersect.
My Thoughts: This looks like your typical legal procedural set in New York, though that's not necessarily a bad thing; the formula is tried and true, and the part about their personal lives interesting seems like it could be an interesting twist on the tagline, along with the fact that unlike some in most shows, these lawyers aren't all that experienced. Relative to some of their other projects I thought this one seemed like the best option, and it doesn't hurt that it's from Shondaland either.

CBS Comedy
Nothing. That's right, nothing. Granted, there are only three put pilots so far for the CBS comedy department and none of them are produced by CBS Studios (I checked that after I read the descriptions). One of the three is a Boyhood-inspired single-camera show, which I think worked really well as a movie but would be a tough concept to execute for a weekly TV show. Another one is about an interracial family produced by ABC Studios, the network it would belong on, and I just don't see its place on CBS. The third is a multi-cam about two people raising a kid together while combining their two families, one Italian and one Puerto Rican, both of which are very loud. That kind of concept hasn't worked well in the past, and I think they'll take that into consideration once pilot season rolls around.

CBS Drama
1) Firewall
Description: drama about a charming but ruthless San Francisco billionaire who, in the wake of person tragedy, decides to use his wealth for good, putting together a team of various experts to exact justice on criminals who've slipped through the cracks of the legal system.
My Thoughts: This is pretty much the exact opposite of all the other legal procedurals out there, where instead of tracking down criminals to punish them, the opposite occurs. Even though it's early, I would find this one to be a frontrunner on paper, as procedurals are what CBS does right.

2) S.W.A.T.
Description: reboot of the 1970s series billed as an intense, actional-packed procedural following an African-American SWAT lieutenant torn between loyalty to the streets and duty to hits fellow officers
My Thoughts: MacGyver is demonstrating that reboots and remakes aren't always the worst idea, and like Firewall, I think this would fit in with CBS's procedural line-up very well.

3) Untitled Jenny Lumet Project
Description: drama which centers on an elite team of investigators for the Northeast Regional U.S. Hate Crimes Unit who must confront their own biases as they keep the peace by solving myriad crimes against humanity while acting locally but thinking of the national repercussions
My Thoughts: Let's admit that we all have our biases, and we all have to think about what we want to do and the repercussions they may have on others. This untitled put pilot is like that, only as a broadcast TV procedural. To me, it looks like a nice casual watch with an interesting plot.

The CW only has scripts right now with no commitment. I will note that Greg Berlanti has a new project in development, called Casa, a "drama about six siblings in a Hispanic family who have to band together to survive when their parents get unjustly deported". I would bet on it getting a series order because of Berlanti's relationship with the network.

FOX Comedy
1) Ms. Pat
Descption: about a suburban mom; her hustle and entrepreneurial spirit were forged on the mean streets of Atlanta, but she now finds herself in conservative middle America alongside her loving husband and two distinct sets of kids raised under very different circumstances.
My Thoughts: This looks like the type of live-action comedy that FOX would like to add to their Tuesday nights, and if renewed seems very compatible on paper with The Mick. Family comedies seem to be what's in right now, from the ABC line-up to Life in Pieces on CBS to the promising viewership on the trailer of The Mick, and this one is produced by Lee Daniels entertainment and executive produced by Lee Daniels. You know, the guy who made Empire. But that's just the icing on top of the cake for this show, as I think it really has a premise that will work.

2) Oikes of Bel Air
Description: animated comedy about a family of humble Oklahoma catfish farmers who, after their basketball prodigy son is chosen first overall in the NBA draft, pack up and move to the tony enclave of Bel Air, where they'll struggle to preserve their down-home sensibilities amidst a vast cultural wasteland where Kardashian reigns supreme and pressed juice is considered a viable alternative to childhood vaccinations.
My Thoughts: Animated comedies have been some of the bright spots on FOX's schedule this season, and I see no reason why they wouldn't want to pick up more considering there are already three in development, two of which have had presentations green-lit. It is extremely hard to judge an animated comedy based on its description, though this one looks like a show that will be a family trying to adapt to a vastly different setting. Assuming the animation is on par with their other shows and the jokes are found funny, I think this one should get a try.

3) That's My Bus
Description: animated comedy billed as a fast-paced ride into the world (and mind) of New York City bus driver Bill Russell; passionate about his bus yet possessed of a stubborn worldview, Bill uses every bump and turn in the road to teach his son important life lessons while simultaneous driving his wife, passengers and boss crazy.
My Thoughts: Again, since there are so few animated shows on TV right now, it's hard to try to judge this one based on its tagline. It seems like it would be a little less family-friendly show than Oikes of Bel Air, though that would make it a great fit behind Family Guy. If this show is going to work on any network it will be FOX, and since they're doing relatively well with animation right now, I don't think it would be a bad idea to give this one a go and see how it does.

FOX Drama
Note: These are in addition to Seth MacFarlane's futuristic comedic-drama Orville, which already has a series order.
1) Behind Enemy Lines
Description: drama based on the 2001 movie which takes place in the midst of critical peace negotiations between the U.S. and Russia as three American soldiers are shot down behind enemy lines in Eastern Ukraine
My Thoughts: This one appeals to me as a frontrunner due to the success of Lethal Weapon, and being based off a successful movie gives it a base audience that will at least sample the show. If they want to continue down the route of procedurals like Lethal Weapon and Rosewood, then this one looks to be the way to go. Though I think if Shots Fired takes a spot on next season's schedule, this one will have a tough time making it do to lack of space.

2) Black Lightning
Description: small screen take on the DC Comics hero: Jefferson Pierce, who hung up the suit and his secret identity years ago, but with a daughter hell-bent on justice and a star student being recruited by a local gang, he'll be pulled back into the fight as the wanted vigilante and DC legend Black Lightning
My Thoughts: Black Lightning made its place on my list as soon as I saw "DC Comics" in the description. Gotham and Lucifer, while not lighting the ratings world on fire, are doing just fine for FOX right now, and this new entry could fit right in either as a companion for one of them, or to bridge one of them in the winter (or end Lucifer early and have it take over in the spring; there are many possibilities). But unless it's absolutely terrible, I can't see why they would want to pass on a DC Comics show.

3) Untitled Fox Marvel Project
Description: will focus on two ordinary parents who discover their children possess mutant powers. Forced to go on the run from a hostile government, the family joins up with an underground network of mutants and must fight to survive.
My Thoughts: Just because Agents of SHIELD isn't doing so well for ABC anymore, Marvel still has a very large fan base and a new show, even if on FOX, has the potential to do really well. It seems like a thrilling drama that could work either as a full season or a limited run. It does get me wondering what would do better if aired in the same time slot with a similar lead-in: this one or Marvel's The Inhumans (which is still in the early stages of development on ABC).

4) Untitled I Spy Project
Description: drama loosely based on the 1965 adventure series "I Spy" about a professional spy teamed with an enterprising civilian to solve high-stakes cases here and abroad.
My Thoughts: I Spy isn't exactly the first series you would think of rebooting in 2016, but like Behind Enemy Lines, it could have a built-in fan base and would pair well with something like Lethal Weapon, which is all it really has to do. With the proper promotion and time slot I think this has potential.

NBC Comedy
1) Spaced Out
Description: single-camera workplace comedy which is set in the world of commercial space travel
My Thoughts: NBC seems to realize that viewers want to watch workplace comedies like Superstore on their network, and if any of Powerless, Trial & Error, and Great News work midseason, Spaced Out will have even more of a case for a series order. I don't recall there being too many sitcoms set in the world of space travel, so I think this one would be really interesting and have viewers intrigued. As their only workplace comedy with a put pilot commitment right now, I see it as the frontrunner.

NBC Drama
1) Flight Risk
Description: drama about Maddie Silva: Popular, funny and brilliant in a courtroom, her "take no mercy" approach towards the criminals she prosecutes has earned her the nickname "The Shark"; but when she loses her temper in a divorce mediation, comically threatening to have her soon-to-be-ex-husband killed and he turns up dead the next day, she has to go on the run and turn to a criminal she has been prosecuting to help her clear her name
My Thoughts: This one certainly has a wild premise, but maybe that's what viewers want instead of the same show over and over again. The tagline given leaves me wondering where the show will go, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. For that reason, I see this as a frontrunner.

2) The Last Policeman
Description: small screen take on Ben H. Winter's novel which follows a detective in New Hampshire during the final years of civilization as a catastrophe-level asteroid hurtles toward the planet; despite the social, political and economic effects of preparing for impact, he keeps his head down and hope alive by solving cases amongst the ever-increasing chaos
My Thoughts: This seems like a show that would actually make for a good pairing with Spaced Out, despite them being two different genres. It is very high-concept, especially taking place in the future and at nearly the end of earth, but shows like The Good Place are showing us that NBC can find an audience for such shows. It intrigues me, and I think it will intrigue others as well.

3) Salvation
Description: series billed as the first real-time hospital "extreme event" drama, will capture the life-and-death choices nurses, PA's and other front-line caregivers make as they struggle to provide care and triage
My Thoughts: I'm not 100% sure what the first part of that tagline even means, but it has me excited, as if this series will be completely revolutionary. It seems more like a limited series, and it seems like it's a fictional show, but either way, on paper this has the potential to become the next big medical drama.

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