Pilot season is upon us, which is when the networks order a trial episode of a series they are considering adding to their schedule. The network executives will then view the pilot and decide to either give it a thumbs up or thumbs down. It is mostly the broadcast networks that still rely on pilots these days, as the cable channels have tended to go for direct-to-series orders more often than not. However, there are plenty of pilots flying around out there from across the spectrum, and some of them look like they could deliver good television if they get the greenlight.
You can see the full rundown of the current sci fi and fantasy pilots here, and following are the five that I believe show the most promise.
5. 'Black Lightning'
- What Is It? Based on the #DC comic book character, this series follows Jefferson Pierce, a man from the slums of Metropolis, who has the power to harness electricity.
- What Network is Considering It? This one originally came to #Fox, but they passed on it and #TheCW has since ordered a pilot.
- Why Would It Work? This would be great addition to the Arrowverse, even though that network’s schedule has become somewhat crowded with superhero shows of late. However, if they follow the direction of the early comics, this would be an edgier, more grounded series probably closer to Netflix’s Defenders entries, and it could revitalize The CW superhero shows, which have been in a bit of a rut of late.
4. Untitled X-Men Series
- What Is It? Coming from Burn Notice’s Matt Nix (with Bryan Singer directing the pilot), this series will focus on two parents who discover their children are mutants and who must take their family on the run from the government.
- What Network is Considering It? Fox
- Why Would It Work? Because it finally brings the #XMen to television. They have not revealed what characters will be in the show, but Nix has indicated that fans can expect to see familiar faces and it will connect with the movie franchise (unlike FX’s Legion). This series also offers an opportunity to present some timely stories dealing with the plight of minorities in this country.
- What Is It? In this comedy, a cynical skeptic and a true believer of the paranormal are recruited by the Bureau Underground to investigate unexplained cases occurring in Los Angeles
- What Network is Considering It? Fox
- Why Would It Work? First off, it is an X-Files spoof, which has a ton of potential for some fun storylines. Secondly, it comes from Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation) and Craig Robinson (The Office), who will write and star in the series. That’s some great talent with a pretty good idea and one the I would like to see go to series.
2. 'Mission Control'
- What Is It? This series will focus on the next generation of NASA astronauts and scientists working on a critical mission of space exploration.
- What Network is Considering It? CBS
Why Would It Work? This comes from Andy Weir, who already hit it out of the park with The Martian (both the book and the movie), and a space exploration series like this is just what we need. Sadly, the promising Defying Gravity was cut short by ABC by in 2009, so perhaps this could pick up the torch from that one. A major concern, though, is the network that is considering it. CBS is known for crime shows and sitcoms, and this may not fit well on their schedule. If they pass on the pilot, maybe one of the streaming services would consider nabbing it, especially with Weir attached.
1. 'The Searchers'
- What Is It? A brother and sister discover that the tales their deceased mother used to tell them may actually lead to uncovering the secrets of the world’s greatest myths and legends.
- What Network is Considering It? The CW
- Why Would It Work? This one is a bit of a toss-up, but I like the general premise and it could deliver an interesting fantasy entry if done right. However, The CW will want to bring in young, pretty faces and angsty stories, which could derail a promising idea. But The 100’s Jason Rothenberg is attached to this one (as well as the ever-busy Greg Berlanti), so maybe he could run with the idea.
Which of these pilots would you most like to see be given the full-season treatment?