Networks considering potential pilots for upcoming Fall

[pullquote1 quotes=”true” align=”center”]New Avengers spin-off, Super Clyde, Delirium vying for opening television spots[/pullquote1]

BY GEORGIANNA PISANO-GOETZ ’15
Staff Writer

This Fall, several new shows will be vying for a spot in the television lineup. Some shows are a sure bet, having been hyped since their first hint, and others will have a harder time securing a first season.

Many networks will “option” a pilot from a creator or writer’s pitch. The show is then cast and shot, but only one episode is completed. This pilot will stretch its time slot to introduce the key players, set the scene, and explore the main idea. Many shows make it to this point and then don’t get optioned to complete a first series.

With the ever-growing publicity on social media, it has been easier to hear about these projects when they are in the very early days of production and may not even become a television show. For Fall 2013, there are three promising candidates that I can only hope make it to the small screen.

The most likely pilot for pick up has just wrapped filming, but fans have seen this one coming since the massive success of The Avengers. Writer and director Joss Whedon, of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame, was tapped to produce a TV series that would follow the smaller scale adventures of the S.H.I.E.L.D. program from the Marvel comics and cinematic universe. The show will air on Fox, the same network that infamously mishandled Whedon’s beloved sci-fi series, Firefly, which only aired 12 episodes, but has garnered a ravenous fan base. This failure pegged Whedon as an “underdog” in the Hollywood scene before The Avengers went on to make billions of dollars worldwide. Whedon has once again become a hot commodity and his television show, newly titled Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is likely to be a great success. The new name is probably to lure in viewers unfamiliar with the covert government group from the comics, but Marvel fans will already know the star of this new series.

It was announced shortly after the show premise that Clark Gregg, AKA Agent Phil Coulson, would be starring in the show. For those who saw The Avengers, this raised the immediate question — when will the show take place, given that Agent Coulson died during The Avengers? Rumors were rampant after The Avengers that allowed fan favorite Agent Coulson to live, but their wishes came true when it was announced the S.H.I.E.L.D. show would take place after The Avengers. The mystery of his resurrection will be teased in the pilot and hopefully revealed over the course of the season.

It will be interesting to see where the show places in terms of the Marvel cinematic universe, considering Marvel Studios already has “phase two” of their superhero films planned out until 2015 with no definite guest stars on the TV show. With a fan favorite starring and a cinematic hit as a lead-in, Fox would be a fool to pass this show up.

A show with a more uncertain future, but also a superhero angle, is CBS’s Super Clyde. Fans of British television will recognize Stephen Fry as the titular character’s butler/sidekick, Randolph. Clyde needs a sidekick because he is a “slightly neurotic” comic book nerd who has inherited a large sum of money and has decided to become a superhero. Another Brit, Rupert Grint, of Harry Potter fame, will play the well-meaning Clyde.

While his presence is sure to be a draw, it doesn’t mean the show will be a hit. So far, Grint has been in bit parts in foreign films and hasn’t starred in anything in the U.S. His fellow alumni haven’t had much luck either: Tom Felton with a small part in Rise of Planet of the Apes and Daniel Radcliffe’s lackluster Woman in Black. A wildly successful movie franchise doesn’t guarantee this show success, but CBS should do fine as long as it doesn’t stick a laugh track on it.

Lastly, Delirium is another show being considered by Fox, based on the bestselling young adult trilogy by Lauren Oliver, was originally optioned for a movie. The studio decided to change its plans, hopefully giving the writers more time to “add and expand,” according to the author’s website. Delirium is set in a future society where love has been outlawed as a form of madness, and all children have brain surgery “cure” when they’re 16 to “remove” the emotion. Emma Roberts will play Lena who begins to question her allegiances when she meets a boy, Alex, from the “Wilds” — where no one’s supposed to live any longer. Daren Kagasoff, who didn’t exactly impress on The Secret Life of the American Teenager, will play Alex.

The TV show will likely deviate a good amount from the books considering Julian Fineman, the son of a prominent pro-cure activist, has already been cast and filmed in the pilot even though his character isn’t introduced until the second book in the series. The cast is established, with adult actors like Billy Campbell and Michael Michele rounding it out. Given its already established fan base and heavy pre-pilot publicity, Fox is unlikely to pass on the young adult pleaser.

Many other pilots have been ordered and will be reviewed between the months of April and May. Given the released information about these select few, it is likely they’ll at least get a single season order. The rest of the unnamed and unpublicized pilots will have a harder time pushing out old shows to make way.

Questions? Email Georgianna at gpisanog@fandm.edu.

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