My friends and family think it's cool that I get to see all the network pilots a few months before they air. And it actually is pretty cool - although it's not always fun to have to watch 30 new shows over a few days time.
I've now seen all the new series pilots - the good, the bad, and the ugly. I've broken them into several self-explanatory categories. No need to talk about all of them, but here are the best, worst, most surprising, most disappointing, and most interesting of the group.
New Girl gets the plum spot on FOX's schedule, between Glee and Raising Hope. The audience to both of those shows should like this one.
Up All Night stars Christina Applegate, Maya Rudolph, and Will Arnett. They gel well.
One caveat - New Girl, Up All Night, and 2 Broke Girls were funny largely because of specific events that happened in their pilots. By episode 2 or 3 they could be substantially different shows. Need to see a couple more episodes.
Free Agents is the worst comedy pilot I've ever seen. It was one long crude joke, and completely inappropriate for 8:30pm. The stars have no chemistry, the writing was bad, and I'm really surprised NBC would put this on its schedule.
Whitney has an appealing lead (Whitney Cummings), but the writing in the pilot was just plain bad - not a promising sign going forward.
Terra Nova's pilot is excellent. The main question is, does it have the makings of a great miniseries, or a great weekly series. They need to make sure the special effects enhance the stories, not the other way around. Has a good cast.
I also liked Prime Suspect (NBC), Once Upon a Time (ABC), Person of Interest (CBS), and Hart of Dixie(CW).
The Angels in Charlie's Angels have no charisma, I didn't like the new Bosley, and the whole pilot seemed kind of cheesy.
My colleague, Shari Anne Brill and I are currently working on our Primetime Fall Preview, which will have a more in-depth new season analysis, as well as comprehensive analyses of the video broadcast and cable landscape. It will be roughly 200 pages, and will be available from Baseline in a few weeks.