The Most Promising Network TV Pilots of 2012


Now that they’ve gotten their mid-season shows off the ground, it’s pilot-buyin’ time for the major networks. That means that, in the past few weeks, we’ve been deluged with news about shows in development, with headlines featuring such names as Louis C.K., Mindy Kaling, J.J. Abrams, and Roseanne Barr. Thankfully, for those of us who’ve had some trouble keeping up, The Hollywood Reporter was kind enough to post a full list of what we can look forward to from ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and The CW in the 2012-13 season. Since that roundup is still pretty daunting, we’ve narrowed the list to the 11 shows we’re most looking forward to; check them out and find out why we can’t to see them after the jump.

Cult (CW) Logline: An inquisitive, young female production assistant on a wildly popular television show joins a journalist blogger in investigating the show’s rabid fans. Together, the duo finds the fans might be recreating crime scenes from the show in their real lives — behavior that has lead to a rash of disappearances and a likely murder. Why we’re excited: There are a lot of pilots about bloggers this season — but this one sounds the strangest. It could be a total disaster, but we’re suckers for everything with The O.C./Gossip Girl team of Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage behind it. (Except for the new Sex and the City prequel, which you couldn’t pay us to watch.)

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Downwardly Mobile (NBC) Logline: The proprietor of a mobile home park serves as a surrogate mother to all the unique people who live there in a challenging economy. Why we’re excited: Haters be damned — we love Roseanne Barr and can’t wait to see her return to TV in this series, where she’ll double as executive producer and star.

Friday Night Dinner (NBC) Logline: An adaptation of the British series that revolves around the Goodmans, a traditional Jewish family as they observe Shabbat dinners in which twentysomething brothers Adam and Jonny visit their parents. Why we’re excited: We’ve seen a few episodes of the original, and if NBC stays fairly faithful to it, they’ll have a laugh-out-loud funny show on their hands.

Gilded Lilys (ABC) Logline: Revolves around the opening of the first luxury hotel in New York in 1895 and the intermingling of love, treachery and disdain between the classes set against a backdrop of vicious family rivalries, scandalous secrets and conflict and co-mingling of the classes. Why we’re excited: This drama features a whole lot of promising elements — a luxury hotel, New York City, fin de siècle decadence, scandals, feuds, class struggle. We’re hoping for America’s own, urban Downton Abbey, although we realize that’s a lot to ask of network TV.

The New Normal (NBC) Logline: Revolves around a blended family of a gay couple and the woman who becomes a surrogate for them as they grow their family. Why we’re excited: While we sometimes question his taste and methods, creator Ryan Murphy has never given us a boring show. We’re also glad to see Book of Mormon star Andrew Rannells make the transition to TV.

Revolution (NBC) Logline: Follows a group of characters struggling to survive and reunite with loved ones in a world where all forms of energy have mysteriously ceased to exist. Why we’re excited: The premise is intriguing, but the real draw is the team behind the show — J.J. Abrams is one of the writer-producers, along with a few Supernatural and Fringe vets.

The Sarah Silverman Project (NBC) Logline: Revolves around a woman readjusting to single life following a decadelong live-in relationship. Loosely based on Silverman’s life. Why we’re excited: Aside from the obvious — Sarah Silverman is bizarre and awesome — we’re really into the supporting cast, which includes the very funny stand-up comic Tig Notaro and Ken Leung, who we loved as Miles on Lost.

Shelter (CW) Logline: Drama set at an historic New England summer resort where the new and returning staff attend to the practical, emotional and often comical needs of the guests while navigating friendships, rivalries and romances of their own. Why we’re excited: The setting sounds promising, and the participation of power-multitasker J.J. Abrams has us thinking this will be more than just your standard CW teen fare.

Super Fun Night (CBS) Logline: Revolves around three nerdy female friends on their “funcomfortable” quest to have “super fun” every Friday night. Why we’re excited: First of all, we will always support nerdy girls on TV. Also? It stars the amazing Rebel Wilson, of Bridesmaids fame and Bachelorette buzz, who’s poised to break out this year. She’s also an executive producer, alongside one Conan O’Brien.

Untitled Louis C.K., Spike Feresten (CBS) Logline: An ensemble comedy revolving around young people as they try to achieve their creative dreams in these tough financial times. Why we’re excited: You did see Louis C.K.’s name, right?

Untitled Mindy Kaling comedy (Fox) Logline: A young Bridget Jones-type doctor tries to navigate her personal and professional lives. Why we’re excited: OK, we’ll admit that “Bridget Jones” has us worried — but we trust Mindy.