Hollywood producers, studio execs and network suits do a little mating dance every spring where they make writers, directors and actors shoot pilot episodes of potential shows. Based on these one-offs, where the creative types pour everything they’ve got into setting up a premise, it is decided what viewers will be offered on network TV in the fall.
One problem. No one in Hollywood has any clue whether a great pilot will translate into a long-lived and rewarding series. Development season is a bit like Christmas for them, except that they can’t tell if they got a present or a lump of coal in their stocking.
So, normally, I don’t pay a lot of attention to pilots. Why get excited about a premise that may never make it onto the schedule, right? But this year feels a little different. Not because the pilots sound better, but because a number of my favorite shows are ending. 24, Lost and Ugly Betty are all hurtling toward series finales. FlashForward seems to be a dead show walking. Scrubs fizzled out without much fanfare (though I suppose it could be back). So I’m starting to wonder what I’ll be watching in the fall (other than the last few episodes of Mad Men, Weeds and Entourage).