19 July, 2011

Watch or Skip? Next Season in Geek Pilots

Writer: MediaSavant

It took me a while, but I’ve seen most of the geek-oriented pilots for the next broadcast season. When it comes to watching shows in the sci-fi or fantasy genres, I usually try to give them all a chance. Unless it really turns me off, I also try to watch more than one episode because sometimes these kinds of shows don’t their real legs until halfway through the first season.

But, those are best intentions. Limited time and competition from returning series favorites often leads me to having to prioritize and not get around to watching everything.

I’m not a reviewer and I can only give my general reactions to the pilots I’ve seen. I decided to estimate the probability I’ll actually watch the 2nd episode of any of these shows.

Awake (NBC mid-season)
Chance of watching 2nd episode—100%

Very different. It’s about a guy who survived a car accident and is living in two realities. In one, his wife died, but his son survived. In the other, his son died, but his wife survived. This is very psychological, but I found myself very intrigued by the dilemma he’s in.

Alcatraz (Fox mid-season)
Chance of watching 2nd episode—100%

Cast includes Lost’s Jorge Garcia and comes from the JJ Abrams company. It isn’t perfect, but I’m interested in the mystery they’ve set up regarding why a group of prisoners disappeared from Alcatraz and why they are coming back.

The River (ABC mid-season)
Chance of watching 2nd episode—95%

This one comes from the same team that did Paranormal Activity. It uses a documentary filming technique and is scary at times. It concerns a group of filmmakers and a family looking for a missing explorer somewhere in South America. I wonder if is sustainable as a series. But, I’ll probably watch the next few episodes.

Grimm (NBC)
Chance of watching 2nd episode—50%

At this point, my interest in the new series drops. The premise of this series is that all the Grimm Fairy Tales were real and a modern cop discovers his legacy is to battle various baddies. The pilot was merely okay. It struck me as something the Syfy Channel might do. It will be up against Fringe. The casting of the lead isn’t that great.

Person of Interest (CBS)
Chance of watching 2nd episode—40%

This is the other JJ Abrams' show with a former Lost actor (Michael Emerson). The reason this one lost my interest is that it also stars Jim Caviezel, who I find very low on charisma. The fancy set-up about a machine that spies on everyone and spits out social security numbers of people who may be in trouble only leads us to what will be really another CBS procedural.

Ringer (CW)
Chance of watching 2nd episode—37%

The only reason I’ve listed this here is that it stars Sarah Michele Gellar and is generating some interest for their panel at San Diego Comic-con. It’s not really science fiction or fantasy. SMG plays twins. One twin takes over the other twin’s life after that twin's death so that she can run away from the mob (or something). SMG is miscast in both roles. I found the techniques used to get them in the same scenes together distracting. I only MAY watch the 2nd episode just to see if it gets any better.

Once Upon a Time (ABC)
Chance of watching 2nd episode—35%

What’s with the fascination with Fairy Tales this year? It’s similar to Grimm in that the main character is also in law enforcement (loosely) and discovers they are someone they didn’t know they were. I just didn’t get into it much.

The Secret Circle (CW)
Chance of watching 2nd episode—0%

Teenage witches based on books by the same author as Vampire Diaries. If you watch Vampire Diaries, you may like this. I don’t watch Vampire Diaries.

A Gifted Man
Chance of watching 2nd episode—0%

A gifted man played by an actor who specializes in playing good-looking bland people (Patrick Wilson). I got very distracted watching it. It’s on at 8PM ET Friday. Watch Chuck instead.

Terra Nova (Fox)
Chance of watching 2nd episode—TBD

The only genre pilot I didn’t receive. They are showing it at Comic-con. I’ll try to see it there.


  1. critics all seem to like person of interest. awake sounds like next seasons show that will bomb with audiences but be loved by critics.

  2. Thanks for the straightforward reviews. I have heard bits and pieces about all of these but it was nice to have them here in a list with the probability numbers. "River" sounds like the best one to me, but I'll probably check out "Awake" and "Alacatraz" too. Will be interested to hear your thoughts on Terra Nova if you get to see it. Maybe you could do an update after Comic Con?

  3. I am sure I will check out all the ones not on the CW. But GRIMM and ONCE UPON A TIME will likely be pilot-only shows for me. I have little interest in their concepts.

    Plus, I am predisposed to disliking GRIMM as it took the place of 17TH PRECINCT... a show that sounds 10,000 times better.

  4. I think GRIMM will be dead on arrival.

    I am looking forward to AWAKE and ALCATRAZ,

  5. SUPER excited for Awake.

    And To all of those ignorant people. Vampire Diaries is NOT a girly girl show. It gets dead serious, it had the most twists in any show I watch (And I watch alot), and it gets very intense. Great story line and mythology as well. It's better than True Blood. Especially the second season, which is amazing.
    So Secret Circle has the potential of being good as well.

  6. I saw a preview of Awake and was completely in love. Alcatraz and Person of Interest look good to me too.

  7. "To all of those ignorant people. Vampire Diaries is NOT a girly girl show"

    ...except that few males watch it.

    The main reason I don't watch Vampire Diaries is age, not gender. I hear it does a good job, but sometimes shows just aren't aimed for every demographic.

    As I said, VD fans will probably like Secret Circle.

  8. i know its going to sound silly ,
    but wen r these pilots airing?