CT: Pilot Madness

Friends, we are officially in New TV Season. Well, okay, so these days new TV kind of premieres year-round, but the fall is still the time when all the new network shows come out. You'd think that, as a TV person, this would be the most exciting time of the year for me. And in a lot of ways it is. I love TV, like enough to make it my career of choice. It's exciting for me to see the new shows, the new worlds that are being built, the new characters we'll get to know.

And yet.

Part of me straight up hates this part of the year. Because along with all of the excitement that the new shows bring, there is a TON of negativity being spewed around the TV-centric internets right now. And it's taken me a long time to realize why it bugs me so much, but I think I've finally figured it out.

Sometimes, a pilot (the first episode of any TV show, for any civilians joining us) comes along and it's perfect. It introduces the characters and the world in an interesting way. It captures you and you know that wherever this show is headed, you'll follow them. Hannibal is like that. Firefly, Pushing Daisies, Grey's Anatomy, Dominion, Once Upon A Time all had amazing pilots and that's just the list off the top of my head. Little C and I are doing a massive rewatch of Supernatural and we had to stop halfway through the pilot and talk about how well that episode functions to set up the mythology of the show.
Never forget.

Honestly, sometimes the pilot is the best dang episode of a show. There are shows that never really catch back up to the magic of the pilot, and I think that's okay too. Putting together a pilot is a unique kind of art and it's not always the same kind of art that writing a full season or many seasons of a show is.

But I believe with all of my heart that the opposite is just as true. Many, many incredible shows have mediocre pilots or sometimes even boring pilots. They pick up after that or they hit their stride and the show becomes something so much bigger than the pilot could have imagined. I'd argue that The Good Wife is one of those shows. Buffy took its time finding its feet, and so did the new incarnation of Doctor Who. And those are some of the best, most respected worlds on TV.

So here's the thing. The networks are so, so quick to cancel a show that's not doing well. They're not forgiving, and they'll pull a show before it has a chance to find its feet. And we've lost so many amazing shows early because of it. The press is ready to hate on shows before we even know what those shows are going to be yet.

So let's just try to be kind over the next few months. Let's try to remember that these shows represent a lot of peoples' creative visions. Let's remember that we love this art form and we want to embrace these worlds and characters week after week. Yes, there are going to be some truly terrible new shows to premiere in the next few weeks, and there's going to be some sort of meh, mediocre pilots. But I think it's worth giving a show a few episodes before we decide that it's the worst thing that ever happened.

Okay, so that's my big thought for the week. I'm still going to be awfully anxious for the next few months, and I'll be honest, I'm going to avoid reading pretty much anything about TV coming from the internets. Because I want to make up my own mind about the shows.

Happy watching!


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