Greetings and Salutations.
It's time for another year of Take Me To The Pilots entries, a format that I started way back in The Blogspot Days and I've been doing it regularly for HitFix since 2010. [I honestly don't know why I didn't do Take Me To The Pilots in 2009.]
I've been using the same intro post since 2010 and that post featured a header image from FOX's “Lone Star,” which famously lasted only two episodes despite being one of my favorite pilots of that fall. It exposes one of the main challenges of the pilot viewing process and the Take Me To The Pilots process, which is that at this stage in the game, it's less about what these things actually ARE and more about the potential of what they MIGHT BE. And that potential may never be realized, for good or for ill.
Sometimes you fall in love with a pilot and America hates it and it's gone after two episodes. Sorry, “Lone Star.” And why isn't Eloise Mumford in a show every year?
Sometimes you really dig a pilot and subsequent episodes aren't nearly as good and you feel a little silly for overpraising it. “Pan Am” was my favorite pilot of 2011 Take Me To The Pilots cycle and while I still ended up frequently admiring that show, it never quite lived up to its potential.
Sometimes you give the benefit of the doubt to a pilot and hope that it can become the best version of itself, only to watch it go the opposite way and steer from what was plausibly good to become a lowest common denominator version of itself. Yes, “2 Broke Girls,” I'm looking at you. I don't know why I bothered being generous to your original pilot, but haven't you punished me enough?
Sometimes you fear the worst from a pilot and then the series actually gives hints at becoming the best version of itself, or at least a better version than your gut initially warned you about. “Mom” would be an example of a pilot that had elements that I liked, but I assumed they'd be deemphasized in the subsequent series, only to be proven wrong.
And sometimes you watch a pilot and it disappears, never to be heard from again. Anybody remember NBC's Dane Cook pilot “Next Caller”? Of course you don't. I do!