Every month cable networks announce that they have put shows into development or ordered pilots. That’s usually followed by little bits of casting news.
And then — radio silence. Devoted TV nerds like myself are left wondering whether these sounds-good-on-paper shows will ever make it to the light of day.
Though cable networks are usually pickier in what actually makes it to the pilot phase, and therefore more likely to move these pilots to series, you can never be certain. Sometimes sure-things, like HBO’s The Corrections with Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor and Maggie Gyllenhaal, never move forward.
Here are a few of the pilots that have been announced in the last year that I’ve been wondering about. Bookmark this post, as I’ll be updating it when news comes out about their future life.
The Affair (Showtime)
Showtime says this show “dissects an affair and its effect on the two marriages it disrupts, with the story told separately from the male and female perspective.”Last month it was announced that The Wire star Dominic West would play Noah, a married father of four; no word yet on who will play Allison, the married woman he hooks up with.
Halt and Catch Fire (AMC)
Taking place during the 1980’s personal computing boom, this show is “seen through the eyes of a visionary, an engineer and a prodigy whose innovations directly confront the corporate behemoths of the time.” Starring Pushing Daisies‘ Lee Pace. Is this a 80’s version of The Social Network?
The Leftovers (HBO)
Based on the novel by Tom Perotta, The Leftovers is the story of the people who didn’t make the cut after the Rapture happens, and a world that will never be the same. Justin Thereaux and Amy Brenneman (love her!) are said to be starring in this series from Lost executive producer Damon Lindelof. I would be shocked if this one didn’t make it to series — but hey, I said the same thing about The Corrections.
The Missionary (HBO)
Benjamin Walker (Broadway’s Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson) plays a young American missionary in 1960s Berlin becomes involved with the CIA. This one has been in the pipeline for what feels like forever — will we ever find out if it will make it to air?
Everything Ryan Murphy (Glee, American Horror Story) turns to gold — at least for one season, right? Will HBO take a chance on this “modern, provocative exploration of human sexuality and relationships” starring Scott Speedman (yum!) and Wes Bentley? I sure hope so, as I think HBO could use a few more human dramas, and a few less fantasy shows.
Bravo was looking to make its first foray into scripted television with this series about “an acerbic, outspoken private-school teacher struggling to raise her three teenage children while dealing with the inane bureaucracy and overprotective parents at her school.” I’m not sure how this show, starring Breaking Bad‘s Anna Gunn, would fit on a network better know for table-flipping housewives, but I’m intrigued.
The Strain (FX)
House of Cards‘ Corey Stoll and Alias‘ Mia Maestro star in this series from Guillermo del Toro, about a man who investigates biological threats for the CDC and “represents mankind’s only hope when a swarm of vampires quickly turn civilization into a buffet spread.” Given its pedigree, and considering the success of The Walking Dead, hard to imagine this one not getting picked up.
Featuring Billy Elliot star Jamie Bell in his series debut, Turn is set in 1778 and follows a New York farmer who bands together with a group of childhood friends to form an unlikely group of spies who turn the tide in America’s fight for independence. I’ve never warmed to Hell on Wheels, but the spy angle here sounds interesting.
When Oscar-winner Ang Lee signed on to direct earlier this year it seemed like an instant green-light for this thriller from the producers of Homeland about an unassuming American family that is drawn into the workings of a turbulent Middle Eastern nation. Now that Lee has pulled out things are up in the air — will another A-list director come in and save the day?
Untitled Lagravenese/Goldwyn Project (AMC and WE?)
Originally developed at AMC but now possibly being eyed by WE as their first scripted project, this show, from Behind the Candelabra screenwriter Richard Lagravanese and Scandal star Tony Goldwyn follows a “sensational murder trial.” Kind of sounds like the courtroom version of The Killing.
UPDATE 7/23: This project, now called The Divide, has been picked to up to series by WE.
The Vatican (Showtime)
Two words: Kyle Chandler. Yes, Friday Night Lights‘ Coach Taylor could be returning to series television in contemporary genre thriller about spirituality, power and politics set against the modern-day political machinations within the Catholic church. Clear eyes, full hearts, Catholic church, can’t lose!
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