Check out some intriguing 2013 television pilots from JJ Abrams, Shawn Ryan, Steven Spielberg, and more

Pilot season is one of the most interesting times of the year, especially these days with the quality of television shows being as high as they are. While the majority of shows that have pilots made never make it to series, it is always fascinating to see how many ideas could have changed our entertainment lives.

Entertainment Weekly has compiled a huge list of the shows being ordered by the main networks for the Fall. Only a small segment of these will actually air, but take a gander at the best of the list, presented here by network.


S.H.I.E.L.D. (Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen). Based on the fictional and secret law-enforcement agency in the Marvel Universe as seen in the film The Avengers. Marks Whedon’s return to series TV, also expected to resurrect Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg).

The Returned (Aaron Zelman). What happens when the people you have mourned and buried suddenly appear on your doorstep as if not a day’s gone by? The lives of the people of Aurora are forever changed when their deceased loved ones return. Based on a novel by Jason Mott.

Big Thunder (Jason Fuchs). When a brilliant, late 19th century New York doctor and his family are given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to relocate to a frontier mining town run by a powerful, but mysterious tycoon, they quickly realize that not everything in Big Thunder is as it seems. Based on the Disney theme park ride.

Lucky 7 (David Zabel, Jason Richman). From a producing team that includes Steven Spielberg, a show about seven employees of a service station in Queens whose lives are changed in many unexpected ways when they win the lottery jackpot.

Gothica (Matt Lopez). A sexy gothic soap set in present day that weaves together a mythology that incorporates the legends of Dracula, Jekyll and Hyde, Frankenstein and Dorian Gray among others.


Wild Blue (Taylor Elmore). ER, The West Wing and Top Gun collide in this young ensemble about the working men and women on board a US Aircraft Carrier. Equipped with a 500 foot landing strip, a nuclear reactor and 6000 souls on board, Wild Blue is an upstairs/downstairs look at pressure-cooker lives of the US Navy. Producers include Graham Yost.

Sleepy Hollow (Alex Kurtzman, Bob Orci). Follows Ichabod Crane as he partners with Sleepy Hollow’s local female sheriff to solve the mysteries of a town ravaged by the battle between good and evil.

Delirium (Karyn Usher). Based on bestselling trilogy about a world where love is deemed illegal and is able to be eradicated with a special procedure. With 95 days to go until her scheduled treatment, Lena Holoway does the unthinkable: she falls in love. Emma Roberts stars.

Untitled J.J. Abrams (J.H. Wyman). An action-packed buddy cop show, set in the near future, when all LAPD officers are partnered with highly evolved human-like androids. (Formerly called Inhuman).


Wonderland (Whit Anderson). From producer Anthony Zuiker, seven years ago Clara’s life took an unexplained turn for the worse, but a mysterious stranger tells her there may be an explanation after all… an explanation that lies in the fantastical world of Wonderland. Determined to revive her dreams and get her life back on track, Clara agrees to wage war against the reigning but malevolent Queen, the woman we once knew as Alice.

Untitled Rand Ravich. When Washington’s most powerful players are pulled into an international conspiracy, an unlikely puppeteer will bring everyone from CEOs to The President of the United States to their knees by threatening the things they hold most dear. Forced together by dire circumstances these power brokers, the FBI and a rookie secret service agent must unravel the mystery to take back control of their lives.

Believe (Alfonso Cuaron, Mark Friedman). From producer J.J. Abrams, an unlikely relationship develops between a young girl with a gift and a man sprung from prison who has been tasked with protecting her from the evil elements that hunt her power.

Hatfields & McCoys (John Glenn). Set in present day Pittsburgh, a startling death re-ignites the feud between these two legendary families. Unleashing decades of resentment, the blue collar McCoys will put the Hatfields’ wealth and power at risk as they go to war for control of the city

The Sixth Gun (Ryan Condal). A drama that’s based on the best-selling supernatural graphic novel that follows the story of six mythical guns, each with its own other-worldly powers.


Beverly Hills Cop (Shawn Ryan). Continuation of the movie franchise, centered around Axel Foley’s police officer son, who takes down the criminal elements of the rich and famous in Beverly Hills. Brandon T. Jackson and Eddie Murphy star.

Second Sight (Michael Cuesta, Gerald Cuesta). Based on the UK series of the same name by Paula Milne, Second Sight is a gothic psychological thriller about a detective who is suddenly afflicted with an autoimmune virus that causes hallucinations reflective of his subconscious. He discovers that catching the killer depends as much on insight as eyesight.

The CW

The Tomorrow People (Phil Klemmer). Based on the original UK series, The Tomorrow People is the story of several young people from around the world who represent the next stage in human evolution, possessing special powers, including the ability to teleport and communicate with each other telepathically. Together, they work to defeat the forces of evil.

The Hundred (Jason Rothenberg). 97 years after a nuclear war has destroyed civilization, a massive spaceship housing the lone human survivors sends 100 juvenile delinquents with dark secrets back to Earth to investigate the possibility of re-colonizing the planet.

The Selection (Elizabeth Craft & Sarah Fain). Set 300 years in the future, an epic romance centering on a working class young woman chosen by lottery to participate in a competition with 25 other women for the Royal Prince’s hand to become the nation’s next queen. Balancing her loyalty to family, true love, and kingdom, she must attempt to remain true to herself as she navigates the cutthroat competition and palace intrigue, all while a budding rebellion threatens to topple the crown. Based on the book by Kiera Cass. This marks the second time The CW has shot a Selection pilot.

Reign (Stephanie Sengupta & Laurie McCarthy). The previously unknown and untold story of Mary Queen of Scots rise to power when she arrives in France as a 15-year-old, betrothed to Prince Francis, and with her three best friends as ladies-in-waiting. The secret history of survival at French Court amidst fierce foes, dark forces, and a world of sexual intrigue.

Oxygen (Meredith Averill). Passion and politics threaten the peace and an epic romance ignites between a human girl and an alien boy when he and eight others of his kind (The Orion 9) are integrated into a suburban high school ten years after they and hundreds of others landed on Earth and were immediately consigned to an internment camp where they’ve been imprisoned ever since.

The Originals (Julie Plec). The upcoming Vampire Diaries episode (airing 4/25/2013) would serve to set-up a potential new series in consideration for next season centering on the Original family, as Klaus returns to the supernatural melting pot that is the French Quarter of New Orleans — a town he helped build centuries ago — and is reunited with his diabolical former protégé Marcel. Elijah, intent on helping his self-destructive brother find redemption, must side with Marcel’s enemies in order to keep Klaus in line.

The CW seems to have the most genre pilots on order, but it looks like bringing classic characters like Alice in Wonderland and Dracula seem to be the big trend this fall. Whatever the case, it looks like there is a lot of decent TV on the way from the networks.

Click here for the full 5 page list of pilots.



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