As the traditional TV season ended last night, it is now time to shake things up here at the blog with a whole new schedule for the summer, found here. Since we still have a few more weeks until most shows premiere, you still have time to vote for any other shows you want covered this summer; just leave a comment below.
Between the original pitch to the networks and the time that they air on TV, pilots almost always undergo some sort of change. Sometimes the changes are larger – like those pilots that will be covered here – but often times they’re much smaller, like recasting a role, or re-filming a few scenes in order to change the tone slightly. Not all pilots get changed, mind you – especially at the cable level – but it happens enough that it should be considered a general rule of thumb. Knowing what changes happen between the original and aired versions of a pilot is something of interest to many TV critics, as it plays into this discussion of the art vs. business dialectic within the television industry. But what are we to make of a pilot that’s not meant to air, that is only meant to sell the series to the network, with the implication that the first episode aired will vary greatly from what’s in the pilot? Enter the unaired pilot for Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
The pilot is the single most important step in any television show's lifespan. Though it is rarely the best episode the show will offer up, it is the show's one true chance to claim, loudly and boldly, “here I am, this is what I can do.” (Yes, sometimes shows ended up changing dramatically from their pilots *cough* Cougar Town *cough*, but rarely do shows get a bigger audience after the initial airing.) It is the first chance to win over an audience – and the only chance to win over the executive boardroom. But what happens when a pilot doesn't succeed? What is the pilot is reworked, or is scrapped for a new introductory episode, or -worst of all – just not picked up? Enter The Failed Pilot Project, Pixelated Vision's long-term look at the rarely seen relics of TV.
It what is most assuredly a ominous sign for the show, ratings for last night's episode of The Office were down 17% from Steve Carrell's departure last week. Maybe it was because last week's episode more than likely got a boost in numbers from viewers tuning in to say goodbye to a man they hadn't watched in a few seasons, or maybe it was because last night's episode sucked. (I like to pretend it's the latter). Now, this could all level out by the finale, which, lest you forget, is packed with way too many guest stars, or maybe even by next week, now that Ferrell's gone. (Additional ammo to this theory: Last night's number were still up from those of the episode two weeks ago.) But let's not forget that The Office is still NBC's highest-rated comedy, so even if the numbers do eventually get low enough to warrant cancellation, it's going to be a slow, tedious road to get there.
Below is a list of the shows I plan on reviewing this summer, complete with channels and start dates. As you may notice, the schedule is a bit light, and I could use your help in determining what other shows I could cover for the blog over the summer. This is a rare chance for you to help determine what goes into the blog rotation.