Pilots A to Z: FOX tries to remember laughter

david-krumholtz-keri-russel.jpgFOX is doing just fine in the drama department. "Bones" and "Fringe" (as well as technically-a-comedy-but-filling-a-drama-timeslot "Glee") have all been picked up for next season, and barring some monumentally weird turn of events, "House" is all but certain to return as well.

Half-hour comedy, however, is a different story. The Sunday animation block still does fine, but the network's recent stabs at live-action laughs have fallen flat. "Sons of Tucson" has performed meagerly out of the gate, and both "Brothers" and "'Til Death" -- which has officially been given the ax -- are gone and soon to be forgotten.

So while FOX only has a handful of dramas in development for next season, it's loading up on comedy pilots this year. Here are a few (from both genres) that have caught our eye.

"Tax Man"

The IRS and comedy don't naturally go together, but we like the cast and creative team behind this show. It stars David Krumholtz ("Numb3rs") and Judy Greer ("Archer," "Miss Guided") as employees of an IRS office, and it was written by "The Office" and "The Simpsons" veteran Brent Forrester. We think the slightly absurdist vibe of "The Office" or "Arrested Development" -- which executive producer Ron Howard was involved in -- could suit a project like this well.

"Wilde Kingdom"

Speaking of "Arrested Development": Creator Mitch Hurwitz, writer-producer Jim Vallely and star Will Arnett are collaborating on this show, about a wealthy guy who falls for a woman who hates everything he stands for. That woman? None other than "Felicity" and "Waitress" star Keri Russell. Whether that premise can support a show for a full season or more remains to be seen, but we'd at least like to see it try.


Among the few dramas FOX has piloted, we're probably most excited about this one. It comes from "The Shield" creator Shawn Ryan, who wants to shake up the cop-show framework by telling most of the stories in the field with a range of officers, including a Chicago beat cop ("Brotherhood's" Jason Clarke) and the city's new female chief of police. If this can be half as good as "The Shield," we're in.

Untitled Adam Goldberg comedy

It's a show about computer hackers, which in and of itself doesn't sound that exciting. But a cast of Bret Harrison ("Reaper"), Odette Yustman ("October Road") and the recently added Christan Slater makes us at least curious. (And by the way, the creator is this Adam Goldberg, not the actor from "Entourage" and "Saving Private Ryan.")


This drama has one of the more out-there premises of any show this pilot season: It centers on a con man (Jimmy Wolk) who has two wives (one of whom will be played by Adrianne Palicki of "Friday Night Lights") in two different cities in Texas and is trying to scheme his way into the oil business. Plus, it co-stars Jon Voight. It could be great or a complete trainwreck, but that's a pilot we'd like to see either way.

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Photo credits: Zap2it (David Krumholtz), Getty Images (Keri Russell)