Pilot season: that time of year when the networks decide what will become a full-fledged TV series -- and what will go to the big pilot pile up in the sky. Here's our rundown of 15 big-name stars and their pilots in contention to, Pinocchio-style, become a "real" series!
NBC/Untitled Michael J. Fox Project (Comedy)
This comedy, in which Fox plays an alter-ego who is afflicted with Parkinson's while supporting a family, has already gotten a 22-episode order, so NBC definitely has faith in it. Fox has been quite charming lately, with a great turn on Curb Your Enthusiasm, and we think this project sounds tailor-made to be a hit for him.
NBC/Joe, Joe and Jane (Comedy)
Daily Show "Black Correspondent" Wilmore has been making us laugh on that program for years, so this new pilot, in which he plays an author torn between commitments to his wife and co-author, sounds like a great vehicle for him to further showcase his comedic talents.
NBC/The Gates (Comedy)
Holy Daily Show redux, Batman! Another series featuring an alum from that program -- this time it's Mandvi -- revolves around the dropping off and picking up of kids from an elementary school every day. While we love Mandvi, we feel like the premise for this sounds a little too bizarre to really sustain comedy over a full 22-episode season.
NBC/Untitled Victor Fresco Project (Comedy)
This multi-cam sitcom deals with Hayes as a man stuck between appeasing his teenage daughter and his difficult new boss -- but we think it may have difficulty appeasing the audience, as the show sounds a tad too generic to really differentiate itself from its sitcom-pilot competitors right now.
NBC/Untitled Greg Daniels/Owen Ellickson Project (Comedy)
We loved Robinson on The Office, and there's no question he's due for his own series. This one features him as an edgy music teacher who moves to a new school and works to fit in -- and deal with the temptation of all the single moms lying around. With Robinson's gift for super-awkward comedy, we are totally sold.
ABC/Super Fun Night (Comedy)
This single-cam comedy features the new hot funnywoman, Rebel Wilson, as one of three nerdy girlfriends (Lauren Ash and Liza Lapira are the others) who pledge to have crazy fun every Friday night. If their escapades are even half as hilarious as Wilson has managed to be in hit films like Bridesmaids, there's no question that Friday nights will be super fun indeed.
Yet another Daily Show alum, Corddry is finally given his chance to shine in the role of a father who inadvertently takes a job at the Secret Service in order to please his super-smart son. This pilot is based on a UK series, and the high level of UK programming right now, plus Corddry's ace comic timing, means that this show is likely to be a crowd-pleaser.
ABC/She's Got Balls (Comedy)
This pilot follows a single mom who moves back in with her heavy-drinking, former ballplayer dad (Caan) and winds up getting drawn into the baseball world by coaching her son's little league team. With Caan on board in a role that sounds just hammy enough for his swaggering talent, we have a feeling this show could achieve a level of hilarious, Two And A Half Men-esque snark.
ABC/Marvel's S.H.I.E.L.D. (Drama)
S.H.I.E.L.D is a peacekeeping organization that employs superheroes, and was featured in the hit Avengers film this past summer. While the movie was a runaway success, something about doing this on the small screen doesn't seem quite right to subject matter this naturally epic -- we're not sure this pilot is built to last.
Brandon T. Jackson
CBS/Beverly Hills Cop (Drama)
Axel Foley was one of the classic heroes of the '80s, and this series follows his son (Jackson) who walks the same beat. The tragically underused (these days) Eddie Murphy himself is set to appear in the series, so that alone gives us hope that this kooky TV sequel will make it through.
Napa Valley is known for its fantastic wine, but in this series one hopes it won't be known for exactly that, as it follows a newly sober mom (Faris) trying to get her act back together. Faris's work in comedies like Smiley Face has been sublime, and if her acting talents are any indicator, this show should be a hit.
CBS/Untitled Rob Greenberg Project (Comedy)
This single-cam sitcom follows a recently-dumped groom as he moves into a temporary housing complex with other newly divorced, sad-sack guys. O'Connell hasn't done much of note as of late, and with this underwhelming premise, we have a feeling that the aforementioned groom's bride isn't going to be the only person that's losing interest in him.
CW/The Originals (Drama)
This Vampire Diaries spinoff takes place in New Orleans and revolves around a group of vampires living there. Do we really need more vampires? Really?
FOX/Untitled Mike Schur/Dan Goor Project (Comedy)
This comedy about a diverse group of detectives working at the edge of New York City sounds like a strange vehicle for Samberg's admittedly prodigious comedic talents. While we are fans of what he's done, something tells us this won't be the series that blows him up.
Greg Kinnear is one of those criminally underappreciated actors, and it sounds like this show, about a brilliant but self-destructive defense lawyer, could finally be the vehicle to earn him the attention he deserves. We sure are rooting for it.
There it is, folks -- 15 of the most interesting pilots of the season. What will fly? What will flop? Let us know what you think!