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Bits n' Pieces: Pilot Season Update

Pilot season is about kickoff in Hollywood. The networks have (more or less) finished buying the projects that might hit the small screen next season, and now they start casting and shooting. ABC and NBC seem to have the most genre-friendly offerings, with CBS again steering clear of shows that don't have crime scene investigators. We have been following some of the creepier-sounding projects piecemeal, but now that the buying frenzy has subsided, let's see what we can look forward to in the 2012-2013 TV season.

666 Park Avenue (ABC)

From Fringe producer David Wilcox and based on a book series by Gabriela Pierce, 666 Park Avenue sees a young couple move into an exclusive apartment building in New York to manage the property. Once they are settled in, they discover that there are supernatural shenanigans going on in the building.

Gotham (ABC)

Michael Green has a long history with dark comic book properties. He wrote and produced on Smallville, Heroes, and The River. Now he is working on Gotham, about an NYPD officer who "discovers a magical world that exists within New York City." With Green's pedigree, I am hoping this is more Grimm, less Once Upon a Time.

Untitled Roland Emmerich Presidential Drama (ABC)

Details are scarce on this one, but Emmerich will direct pilot and write (along with longtime collaborator Harald Kloser) this high-concept drama set against the backdrop of 2012 presidential election, and an astrophysicist who realizes that science doesn't hold the answers to life; it lies somewhere between heaven and hell. What this has to do with the presidential election, I don't know, but if Emmerich is behind it, I am hoping it will at least have some big-ass explosions. Mark Gordon (Criminal Minds) is producing.

Beauty and the Beast (ABC and CW)

Two different networks have ordered two different Beauty and the Beast pilots - and both involve Gary Fleder (Kiss the Girls, a couple episodes of Tales from the Crypt). First, the ABC version sets Beauty and the Beast in a dangerous fantasy realm. Fleder executive produces this one. The CW version is a remake of the 1980s version that originally starred Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman. Fleder will direct this one. ABC is obviously hoping to capitalize on the popularity of their freshman fantasy drama Once Upon a Time, and the CW... I'm not really sure what their excuse is.

Zero Hour (ABC)

After 20 years as the editor of a skeptics magazine, a man gets embroiled in "the most compelling conspiracy in human history." Labeled as a "mystery drama," let's hope that conspiracy includes aliens.

Cult (CW)

From Josh Schwartz's (Chuck) Fake Empire production company and written and produced by Rockne O'Bannon, Cult follows the strange disappearances of fans of a TV show called Cult. O'Bannon has a strong sci-fi background, with credits that include Farscape, the new V, the 1980s Twilight Zone, and Alien Nation to his name, so I fully expect this "cult" to be made up of aliens.

Untitled Kevin Williamson Drama (Fox)

This is probably the pilot I am most looking forward to. It is a "put pilot," which basically means if it doesn't go to air, Fox has to pay a huge amount of money to Kevin Williamson. So it is in their financial interest to air it. And why wouldn't they? Everything Williamson touches (The Vampire Diaries, Secret Circle, Scream) turns to gold (no pressure man). The show is about an FBI agent on the trail of a serial killer who uses technology to create a "cult" of serial killers. Maybe he is getting them from the CW's Cult pilot. Added awesomeness: Kevin Bacon has already been cast as the FBI agent. He has signed on for 15 episodes, instead of the network-standard of 22 episodes. This will allow Bacon to continue doing features, and also help move Fox towards the cable-standard of shorter (but hopefully higher quality) season.

Midnight Sun (NBC)

Another cult-focused drama, this one is described as Lost meets Twin Peaks meets Northern Exposure. An FBI cult specialist investigates the mysterious disappearance of an Alaskan commune - and then stuff gets weird. It is based on an Israeli drama called Pillars of Smoke, and is written and produced by Lisa Zwerling (ER, The Event).

Mockingbird Lane (NBC)

The new title for The Munsters reboot. Rather than a quirky sitcom, Bryan Singer (X-Men) and Bryan Fuller's (Pushing Daisies) version will be a "visually spectacular" hour-long drama.

Revolution (NBC)

Supernatural creator Eric Kripke will write and executive produce this drama along with J.J. Abrams (Fringe). It is promised to be a "high-octane action-drama" about survivors of a worldwide event that has caused all forms of energy to disappear. I like Kripke, and I like (most of) Abrams' projects, so I am hoping this one will be a good one.

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