Promising Pilot Premises: Part 4, FOX

E: Wondering what FOX might have in store for next fall, other than Terra Nova?  So were we.


“A crime drama revolving around Alcatraz and the team investigating the mysterious reappearance of its 1960s inhabitants in the present.” Starring Sarah Jones, Jorge Garcia, Sam Neill, Parminder Nagra and Robert Forster and executive produced by J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk (writing done by Steve Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt).

E: Jorge Garcia joins the growing list of Lost castmembers with pilots.

M: Woo-hoo!  Everybody loves Hugo!  Sorry, couldn’t help it…

C: And holy crap, I love Sam Neill!

E: Yes, well, anyway, I like the sci fi aspects of the plotline, but what really gets me is the cast.  Nagra, from Bend it Like Beckham (and fine, ER).  Jones is apparently from Lone Star and Sons of Anarchy.  And Robert Forster from The Black Hole, Heroes and an Oscar nominated turn in Jackie Brown!  Awesome.   Do I even need to go into Sam Neill’s resume?  I refuse to.

M: For me everything with Sam Neill goes back to The Hunt For Red October…  “I would have liked to have seen Montana.”  He’s consistently great.  We already discussed Abrams and Burk when talking about Person of Interest; I just hope their attention isn’t too divided, because both concepts sound great.

Exit Strategy

“A spy thriller about a CIA team that specializes in high-risk rescue extraction operations that save agents who have been compromised.”  Stars Ethan Hawke, Tom Sizemore and Megan Dodds, with Robert Orci as an executive producer and Antoine Fuqua directing the pilot.

E:  Seriously.  The guy who directed Training Day – for which Hawke was nominated for an Oscar – is helming the pilot.  Not too shabby.  Great premise, great cast.  Megan Dodds, by the way?  Marguerite in Ever After.

C: And a significant role on MI-5 too, so already down with the spy thrillers.

M: With that concept, cast and crew this sounds much more like a movie that would be raking in $100 mil in its opening weekend as opposed to a TV pilot.  Hoo-rah.

Locke and Key

“A thriller following a family in crisis as they move into a haunted house full of secrets, dangers and wondrous opportunities.” Starring Miranda Otto, Nick Stahl and Sarah Bolger; the producers include Robert Orci and Steven Spielberg.

C: Eowyn!

E: I haven’t read Joe Hill’s graphic novel, but I think this could be terrifically cool.  Plus, there’s Miranda Otto of Lord of the Rings, Nick Stahl of In the Bedroom, and Sarah Bolger of In America.  Amazing cast.  I think I’ve heard something about at least one of those producers, too…

M: Hmm, neither name rings a bell….


“A father discovers that his autistic, mute son can predict events.” Stars Keifer Southerland, and is produced by Peter Chernin and Katherine Pope.

M: Maybe he writes down on a paper “D. Gibbons is a bad man”?  Seems like something I’d need to see previews for.

E: This is just their attempt to rekindle the magic of 24.  Yes, it’s very FlashForward-sounding.

The New Girl

“After being dumped, a quirky female teacher becomes roommates with three guys; a man-child, a player and a cynic. Together they help one another navigate the politics of dating.” The cast includes Damon Wayans Jr, Max Greenfield, Jake Johnson and Zooey Deschanel; the production team includes Peter Chernin, Katherine Pope and David Finkel.

E: No way would  I even consider checking this out without Zooey Deschanel as the lead.  It sounds formulaic and terrible.  But her presence makes me hopeful for something quirky and wonderful like (500) Days of Summer.

M: I was literally composing something scathing in my mind… until I read her name.  That definitely changes it, but like Rachel Bilson’s Northern Exposure rip-off on the CW, this has been done so many times.

C: Yeah, I totally agree, but — Zooey Deschanel!


E: Then there are a few projects with interesting casts – Rob Cordry and Gabrielle Union in sitcom Little in Common (parents trying to get along when their kids become good friends), The Finder with Michael Clarke Duncan, Saffron Burrows (M: Such a great name) and George Stultz (yuck to the miserable cross over bit they just did on Bones, but I still love Duncan), Robin Givens and Gary Cole (damn it, what’s with the poaching from The Good Wife?) in a father/son workplace comedy called Tagged, Cheech Marin (M: that’s Lost‘s Cheech Marin!) and Ugly Betty‘s Ana Ortiz in Outnumbered (as in, parents by children), and Janet McTeer and Lauren Ambrose spending their Weekends at Bellevue.  There’s a comedy about nerd mothers who’ve raised mean girls (I Hate My Teenage Daughter), and two animated series, one a remake of Napoleon Dynamite (why now?) (C: Why, period?) and the other about a genius 7 year old’s troubles at school, the latter with vocal work by Jonah Hill (M: I have to say, I’m getting pretty sick of him), Will Forte and M’s fave French Stewart (M: Fantastic in small doses).

Per usual, we haven’t transcribed all the actors and crew members names.  If you’re interested in seeing what we think of a selection of the ABC, CBS and CW pilots, click away.


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