Last week, we reported on 16 pilots that had been picked up by CBS, Fox, and NBC, the worst of which was probably NBC’s Girlfriend in a Coma, about a woman who wakes from a coma after 17 years to discover that she has a daughter from a pregnancy of which she was unawares. However, at the time, ABC had not yet chimed in with their pilot pick-ups. They have, and I think it’s safe to say that they have won the title for worst of the year (although, it’s still early yet). Here’s a look at their slate of pilot pick-ups, so far:
Big Thunder — The award of worst pilot goes to this one. I mean, it wasn’t bad enough that Disney had created an entire movie franchise built around their Pirates of the Caribbean ride, in a “synergistic” move with ABC, Disney is creating a television series based around their ride, Big Thunder Mountain. It’ll be a Western set in a mining town that is hit by a natural disaster in the midst of the gold rush. According to Deadline, “The TV project centers on a brilliant, late 19th century New York doctor. He and his family are given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to relocate to a frontier mining town run by a powerful, but mysterious tycoon but quickly realize that not everything in Big Thunder is as it seems.” It comes from screenwriter Jason Fuchs, who wrote the script for Ice Age: Continental Drift. If it goes to series, it’ll likely be paired with Once Upon a Time. The fact that it’s based on a Disney ride also precludes any possibility that it’ll be the next Deadwood, although nothing would give me more satisfaction than seeing a Disney character say c*cksucker.
Meanwhile, Gothica is another pilot trying to capitalize on television viewers’ very mild fascination with Once Upon a Time. This one may be similar in theme, only with different, darker characters: It is described as “a sexy gothic soap set in present day that weaves together a mythology that incorporates the legends of Dracula, Jekyll and Hyde, Frankenstein and Dorian Gray among others.”
Ryan Reynolds is also in the mix. He’s the exec producer on Murder In Manhattan, “an hourlong dramedy set in NYC centering on a mother and daughter who team up as amateur sleuths.” Allan Loeb is also behind this, and the only guy who loathes Loeb more than I is Vince over on FilmDrunk.
ABC also picked up Reckless, which has the most promise. It comes from Martin Campbell (Casino Royale) and Mad Men co-executive producer Chris Black. It “centers on a resourceful problem solver who, when his wife is unjustly imprisoned during a political uprising overseas, resorts to entering a world of political intrigue, dangerous alliances and high emotional stakes in order to get her out.”
Finally, among other pilots picked up by ABC in the last week, there is also Spy, an adaptation of a British series which will star Rob Corddry; Doubt, a legal drama from House creator David Shore; and another half-hour multi-generational comedy (like Modern Family) starring James Caan. Here’s hoping they also cast Kathy Bates.