'Ringer,' 'Alcatraz' and other pilots that have us curious for fall 2011
Now that we're in the heat of pilot season and actors are starting to fill up roles, we're getting a better sense of what shows sound interesting. The (very large) caveat, of course, is that we haven't seen any of them yet -- because they haven't finished (or in many cases, even started) filming. But based on a combination of premise, creative team and casting, here are a few of the projects we'll be keeping our eyes on between now and the upfronts in May.
"Ringer" (CBS): Sarah Michelle Gellar's possible return to TV is a drama in which she plays a woman on the run from the mob. She hides out by assuming the life of her twin sister -- only to find out that the sister has a price on her head too. That's a lot of premise, but handled right, it could be a very good vehicle to bring Buffy (and "Lost" alum Nestor Carbonell in a supporting role) back to our TVs.
"Alcatraz" (FOX): It's executive produced by J.J. Abrams, concerns an island surrounded by mystery and co-stars Jorge Garcia ... where have we heard this before? Nonetheless, we're intrigued by the idea of a bunch of former Alcatraz prisoners suddenly showing up 30 years after they disappeared.
"Wonder Woman" (NBC): When we say "curious" and "intrigued," we don't necessarily mean "super-psyched." We have trepidations about a David E. Kelley adaptation of "Wonder Woman," and they're not eased by reading this breakdown of a script draft online. But whether it's tour de force or trainwreck, we're kinda dying to see how it turns out.
"Charlie's Angels" (ABC): See above re: trepidations about a remake.
Untitled Liz Meriwether comedy (FOX): The premise? Not exactly groundbreaking in sitcom-dom: A woman fresh off a breakup needs a new place to live, and she winds up rooming with three dudes. But when said woman is played by Zooey Deschanel, well, we're watching at least an episode of that.
"Once Upon a Time" (ABC), "17th Precinct" (NBC) and "Grimm" (NBC): In a word, magic! All three dramas are set in worlds where the supernatural is common ("17th") or fairy tales are real (the other two), which is perhaps the most out-of-left-field trend of this development season. But all three also come from creators who have their genre bona fides: "Lost" veterans Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz are behind "Once Upon a Time," "Battlestar Galactica's" Ron Moore is writing "17th Precinct," and "Angel's" David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf are doing "Grimm."
"Secret Circle" (The CW): Speaking of magic, "The Vampire Diaries" showrunner Kevin Williamson is producing this tale about a teenage girl who discovers she's a witch, and the center of a fight between good and evil on top of that. It's based on a book series by "Diaries" author L.J. Smith, and though it's not the rumored "companion series" to "TVD," it sure sounds compatible with it.
"Brave New World" (NBC): A comedy about people who work at historical site (a la Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts), created by Peter Tolan of "Rescue Me." Sold.
"Prime Suspect" (NBC): But only if they cast it right.
"Playboy" (NBC) and "Pan Am" (ABC): Two period pieces set in the swingin' '60s, about icons of that era (Playboy Clubs and Pan American Airlines) that don't really exist anymore. "Mad Men" comparisons are inevitable, but we most want to see how far each drama veers away from the "Mad" template.
"Poe" (ABC): The Alphabet already has a show about a writer who solves crimes in "Castle." But it's not set in the 1840s, and its main character isn't Edgar Allan Poe.
"Hart of Dixie" (The CW): We're buying "The O.C." star Rachel Bilson working with Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage (who are exec producing with writer Leila Gerstein, also an "O.C." veteran) again, even if the premise sounds an awful lot like "Doc Hollywood" with a female lead.
What are you hoping makes it to air next season?