First look at 2011-12 pilots: ABC

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

The pilot season for broadcast networks is heating up — most are cast and beginning production. Not all these pilots will air as everything is whittled down in early summer, and even more will likely get canceled. But, this year’s crop of newbies has potential so here’s a rundown of some of the more interesting pilots to keep an eye on for fall … if they make it that far.

The first thing that jumps out is ABC is looking to cash in on literary-based concepts. “Once Upon a Time” is about a town where fairly tales are real, and Rumpelstiltskin (Jared Gilmore) and Prince Charming exists. “Revenge” is a modern day retelling of “The Count of Monte Cristo” with Emily Thorne (Emily Van Camp) serving up vengeance in the Hamptons. Lastly, “Poe” wants us to believe Edgar Allan Poe (Chris Egan) was apparently a detective when he wasn’t being sad or writing haunting prose. No chance all three get picked up, but “Poe” might?

On paper, “Hallelujah” starring Terry O’Quinn (“Lost”) and Donal Logue (“Terriers”) looks like ABC’s most exciting entry. Created by Marc Cherry of “Desperate Housewives” fame, it’s a tale of the fictional Tennessee town, Hallelujah, where an evil millionaire (O’Quinn) rules, much to the chagrin of local nice-guy diner owner (Logue). All that changes when a stranger (“Law & Order’s Jesse L. Martin) rolls into town. I like everything about “Hallelujah” except for Cherry, but his cache with ABC may also be the reason it makes it to the fall.

ABC also has a “Charlie’s Angels” reboot starring Minka Kelly (“Friday Night Lights”) that will surely get picked up much to the excitement of teenage boys. I predict early cancellation.

With “Mad Men” on an indefinite hiatus, you might be able to get your fix for the carefree sex and booze-filled heydays of the ‘50s and ‘60s with “Pan Am.” Starring Christina Ricci, "Pan Am" follows the lives of pilots and stewardesses on the airline that made flying glamorous. It’s hard to predict how this turns out and there’s a bunch ‘60s-era throwbacks being developed by other networks. Saturation is never a good sign.

Lastly, ABC is skewering the suburbs again because, face it, “Desperate Housewives” is still the network’s biggest money maker. “Good Christian Bitches” is a primetime soap set in Dallas from Darren Star (“Sex and the City” and “Melrose Place”). The title says it all, but Star means it’s getting picked up. Boo.

“Suburgatory” looks interesting as a satire, from “Parks and Recreation” scribe Emily Kapnek, about a NYC girl (Jane Levy) forced to deal with the horrors of suburbia. I'm interested, but I don't know if ABC will be.

Other ABC notables: "The River," "Georgetown," "Apartment 23"

I'll have updates on the other networks over the next couple of days so keep checking back. Happy viewing, everyone.