It’s official: the 2012/2013 pilot season is upon us, as the big networks order series, drop shows after budget issues and casting conflicts, and start to plan how our evenings will be spent come fall. Lucky for us, there’s plenty to intrigue us so far.
Check out our guide to some of the more appealing projects currently in the running for prime-time real estate. From a Matthew Perry comeback and another Alloy book series come to life to spooky Park Avenue real estate and the cutthroat world of the fashion industry, here are our early picks for the most exciting shows on the schedule.
Our Top 11
The Carrie Diaries, The CW (confirmed)
Stars: AnnaSophia Robb, Freema Agyeman, Chloe Bridges, Austin Butlery. y.
Premise: Based on Candace Bushnell’s Sex and the City book series, the show centers on Carrie Bradshaw (AnnaSophia) when she was a high school senior in the early 1980s.
Why We’re Excited: We love everything SATC-related, and we can’t wait to see the already out-there '80s fashion trends as interpreted by a young Carrie.
1600 Penn, NBC (confirmed)
Stars: Bill Pullman, Jenna Elfman, Josh Gad, Brittany Snow
Premise: A comedy about a dysfunctional First Family
Why We’re Excited: Bill Pullman is, in our opinion, one of the greatest and most underappreciated comedic actors ever. Plus, he’s fantastic at playing the President of the United States, as he did so wonderfully in Independence Day. And we’ll watch Book of Mormon’s Josh Gad in anything.
Go On, NBC (confirmed)
Stars: Matthew Perry, Laura Benati, Julie White
Premise: Chandler Bing, er, Matthew Perry will play a sportscaster who’s suffering from a recent loss. He’ll attend a mandatory support group with colorful, sitcom-worthy characters.
Why We’re Excited: We love every Friends star, but Matthew was often the funniest (see: “The One Where Chandler Is Afraid of Dogs”). Plus, his recent recurring role as a cruel and manipulative gubernatorial candidate on The Good Wife reconfirmed our faith in Matthew’s ability to act his way out of the Chandler Bing wormhole.
Gilded Lilys, ABC (tentative)
Stars: John Barrowman, Blythe Danner, Matt Lauria
Premise: Set in the Edith Wharton era of 1890s Manhattan, this Shonda Rhimes drama revolves around the Lily family, a wealthy clan that owns a luxury hotel and fights a lot, soap-style.
Why We’re Excited: As if Shonda Rhimes isn’t enough of a draw, we love three things about this tentative series: 1) Torchwood’s John Barrowman; 2) period drama costumes; and 3) the potential for sudsy, Revenge-style family drama.
Elementary, CBS (tentative)
Stars: Lucy Liu, Jonny Lee Miller, Aidan Quinn
Premise: A modern-day take on Sherlock Holmes, emphasis on modern. Why? Sherlock’s right-hand man, Watson, will be turned into a female character for the first time in the fictional private eye’s storied career.
Why We’re Excited: See above re: Lucy Liu playing a female Watson. Also, we’ve been slightly in love with Jonny Lee Miller ever since he played Sick Boy in Trainspotting.
Mindy, FOX (tentative)
Stars: Mindy Kaling, Ed Weeks, Anna Camp, Chris Messina (SNL alums Ed Helms and Bill Hader are guest stars in the pilot episode)
Premise: Mindy plays a romance-obsessed doctor who’s charmingly neurotic and needs to balance her love life and work life.
Why We’re Excited: As one of The Office’s head writers and stars, Mindy has been charming our socks off for years. We fell officially in love after reading her article in The New Yorker last year, in which she details all the typical ways women are portrayed in movies (spoiler: it’s heartbreakingly hilarious).
Revolution, NBC (tentative)
Stars: Giancarlo Esposito, Billy Burke, Andrea Roth, JD Pardo
Premise: Set in the future, this J.J. Abrams-produced, Jon Favreau-directed pilot focuses on a group of survivors separated from their loved ones after every single source of power has been shut down across the planet.
Why We’re Excited: We continue to trust J.J. with any sci-fi project on TV. We also love the The Walking Dead-meets-War of the Worlds idea, and ever since Giancarlo left Breaking Bad in one of TV’s most memorable and epic deaths of all time, we miss seeing him on the small screen (sorry, Once Upon a Time, but a floating head doesn’t count).
Mastermind, FOX (tentative)
Stars: Kevin Bacon, James Purefoy, Maggie Grace, Shawn Ashmore
Premise: Kevin plays a former FBI agent who gets back in the game by tracking a sociopathic serial killer and cult leader.
Why We’re Excited: Hi, Kevin Bacon! Also, we love the topic of cults, especially the charismatic leaders that inspire them. And the biggest reason to get excited about this project? The producer is none other than The Vampire Diaries developer and Dawson’s Creek creator Kevin Williamson.
Americana, ABC (tentative)
Stars: Ashley Greene, Anthony LaPaglia, Emilie de Raven, Natalie Mendoza
Premise: Legendary fashion designer Robert Soulter (Anthony) runs the family business, which is shaken when new, hip designer Alice (Ashley) arrives on the scene.
Why We’re Excited: We love a good soap, especially when it takes place in the fashion world. Ashley and Emilie are two of our favorites, and if they pick the right costume designer, this could mean a bounty of Gossip Girl-esque eye candy.
666 Park Avenue, ABC (tentative)
Stars: Terry O’Quinn, Vanessa Williams, Rachael Taylor, Dave Annable
Premise: When a young couple takes over management of a legendary (and possibly possessed) luxury residential building in Manhattan, they (and the building’s residents) find themselves in danger.
Why We’re Excited: This is an adaptation of an Alloy book series, just like Pretty Little Liars. (Love!) Also, we’re fans of spooky shows, especially those set in the uber-luxe environment of New York’s upper crust.
The Selection, The CW (tentative)
Stars: Aimee Teegarden, Ethan Peck, Sean Patrick Thomas
Premise: Set 300 years in the future, this drama focuses on a poor woman competing to be the queen of a country at war, thanks to a nationwide lottery. Sounds familiar...
Why We’re Excited: We loved Aimee on Friday Night Lights (RIP), and obviously anything even remotely Hunger Games-esque is up our alley.
Dark Horses and Honorable Mentions
Untitled Mandy Moore project (ABC): Mandy and her husband move closer to her high-maintenance family, which includes Stockard Channing.
Super Fun Night (CBS): SNL’s Jenny Slate stars in a comedy based on three nerdy friends who set out on “funcomfortable” adventures every Friday night.
The Smart One (ABC): Portia de Rossi and Malin Akerman star as sisters who work together. (David Arquette co-stars.)
Nashville (ABC): Connie Britton plays a fading country music star challenged by a breakout sensation (Hayden Panettiere).
Friend Me (CBS): Two best friends begin working at Groupon in L.A.
Susan 313 (NBC): Sarah Silverman gives another series at try in this comedy based loosely on her own life.
Goodwin Games (FOX): Becki Newton co-stars with Scott Foley in this sibling comedy.
The New Normal (NBC): Book of Mormon’s Andrew Rannells and The Hangover’s Justin Bartha co-star as a gay couple in this Ryan Murphy comedy.
Sources: Deadline, TV Fanatic, The Hollywood Reporter, The Huffington Post, Variety (via SpoilerTV)
Molly Friedman is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @MollyFriedman.
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