TV

7 Stars For 7 Pilots: Will These Big Names Boost The Greenlight Prospects Of These Shows?

Pilot season is in full swing, and now that we know most of the pilots that have been picked up, casting has begun. Because of the nature of television these days, bigger stars are being attached to pilots, and many of them are from the movie world. Over the last few days, several big names have signed on to pilots, so let’s look at what we’ve got, so far. I’m sure that, after sifting through the casting news, many of you will be asking the same question I am: Where is Andrea Anders, and why hasn’t she been cast yet?

Girlfriend in a Coma — I wrote about this NBC comedy pilot a few weeks ago, and some folks thought it was a joke. It’s about a woman who has been in a coma for 17 years and wakes up to discover that she has a daughter from a pregnancy of which she was unaware. It’s based on a Douglas Coupland novel (I THOUGHT so). I’ve read the Coupland novel, and if it hews closely, that means that the show will probably focus on the girlfriend after she wakes from a coma, and also flashback to the intervening years while her boyfriend — well, the guy who she lost her virginity to at a teenage party — is raising the child. ANYWAY, Christina Ricci has been cast as the girlfriend.

Bloodline — Our boy Jonathan Banks, who plays Mike Ehrmentraut on Breaking Bad — is making the same mistake that Giancarlo Esposito did by making a drama for NBC. In the comic-book stylized thriller, Banks will play “the villainous Leo Killpriest, the patriarch of an ancient line of killers, brigands and mercenaries who’s worried that the last remaining members of his scattered family will be wiped off the face of the earth.” I like that he’s getting more work, but I wish he’d stick with cable. He was also wasted in the weekend’s big comedy hit at the box office, Identity Thief.

Mom — Single-moms are the hip new thing this pilot season (see also), and Nate Corddry has signed on as the male lead in this Chuck Lorre sitcom, which will star Anna Faris as a single and newly sober mom who moves in with her mother, played by Allison Janney. Great cast, but DAMN: Why’s it gotta be Chuck Lorre, and why’s it gotta be on CBS?

Intelligence — Save for his stint on Community, we haven’t seen a lot of Josh Holloway since he played Sawyer on Lost. The good news is, his pilot is a virtual lock to be greenlit, but the bad news is, it’s because it’s ANOTHER CBS procedural, although at least it’s not a spin-off. The show is set “at U.S. Cyber Command and focuses on a unit that has been created around one agent with a very special gift — a microchip has been implanted in his brain that allows him to access the entire electromagnetic spectrum.” That sounds spectacularly silly.

Dracula — This NBC Once Upon a Time-ish show is about Dracula posing as an American businessman in London in the 1890s. It has already cast Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the Count (dudes eyes CREEP ME THE F**K OUT), and now it has cast Thomas Kretschmann as Van Helsing, a “brilliant professor with a cool exterior who is obsessed with revenge.” Thomas Kretschmann may be familiar to you from the short-lived series, The River or as Captain Englehorn in Peter Jackson’s King Kong.

HBO Comedy Pilot — Jonathan Groff — who is much better than what he’s best known for (Jesse St. James in Glee) — has signed on to the HBO comedy about a group of gay friends living in San Francisco and dealing with the “modern gay experience.” It’s not much to go on, but it does come from Bored to Death‘s Sarah Condon and writer Michael Lannan. Groff was also excellent in the now cancelled Boss, which now goes by the name House of Cards (see what I did there?)

Untitled Fox Cop Comedy — Finally, the Andy Samberg cop comedy from Parks and Rec’s Michael Schur — which has been getting a lot of buzz this pilot season — has picked up Andre Braugher of the last Last Resort. Braugher, who joins Samberg and Terry Crews, will play the force’s serious-minded captain in what will most certainly be the sitcom paired with New Girl in the 2013-2014 season.

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