Pilot Season Attacks!: Revenge of the Genre TV

So, with Lost entering its sixth season, Flash Forward going strong, Vampire Diaries sweeping the CW, Legend of the Seeker finding new viewers, and V inexplicably still on the air, television execs finally seem to have caught on that genre TV has a vast and devoted audience. (As long as you’re not Heroes.) As pilot season revs up, a few genre series are already in development. Let’s take a judgmental glance at the early lists, shall we?

AMC has ordered a pilot of Walking Dead, a zombie-apocalypse series based on the series of graphic novels by Robert Kirkman. The survivors (assumed to be a rag-tag bunch of strangers who must learn to work together) will fight their way across the country looking for a safe haven that I’m guess is about four seasons’ worth of travel away. The good news is that Frank Darabont is writing and directing, with Gale Anne Hurd as an executive producer, which means that the sensibility will be properly cinematic.

Fox, not wasting any time with source material that might require reading, has decided to make an American spinoff of Torchwood. In theory this works, since Torchwood field offices could be anywhere. However, given how the original Torchwood can be even in the hands of the capable BBC production team, this has the potential to be the train wreck of the season. (Don’t get me wrong, it would be awesome if John Barrowman crossed the pond with his Captain Jack character intact and started kissing men all over the place. However, this is Fox, where the only same-sex kissing they want is between two dewy young women—ideally in dream sequences or between brainwashed dolls, so it doesn’t have to be canonically addressed—so I’m not exactly sure what episodes of Torchwood they watched before they ordered this pilot.)

Meanwhile, CBS is remaking Hawaii Five-O. They must not have gotten the genre memo.

And Summit entertainment, flush with cash and not about to lose its stranglehold on the teenage demographic, must have been looking for a TV series ever since The Vampire Diaries cornered the small-screen teen-vamp market, and they seem at last to have found one. They’re developing a series based on Push, a movie about government-monitored superhumans. The feature film starred Chris “The Human Torch” Evans as a telekinetic who fights against government agents while trying not to look like a pedophile opposite the underclothed Dakota Fanning. Watchmen vet David Hayter is set to write and produce, so the series will be a lot like the movie, only with more slow motion.

Weirdly, it has yet to be picked up by a network, though for my money, I suspect NBC is just counting the hours until they can put Heroes out of its misery and scoop this pilot up like a lump of gold out of a muddy riverbed.

And these are just the early announcements. This won’t be the last we hear of genre pilots for next year; now that genre television no longer has the niche stigma it used to have (especially if you can keep the effects budget down), it’s become the next “Once-successful professional returns to his small hometown and learns charming life lessons.” Which, frankly: progress. Let’s just hope CBS doesn’t wait too long to get in on this game and pick up a genre pilot for a 9pm time slot; Hawaii Five-O isn’t going to lead itself in!


Genevieve cannot even believe they are serious about this Hawaii Five-O thing. She groans about horrible TV on her blog.

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