So I did it. I watched a bunch of pilots and only the pilots. I’m allowed to continue these shows but first, I wanted to do the obligatory summary post. So just to recap, here’s all the shows that I originally said I wanted to continue:
- Mad Men
- The Americans
- The Good Wife
- Friday Night Lights
- Game of Thrones
- Sneaky Pete
- Mr. Robot
- The Wire
Here are the shows that I originally said I wasn’t going to continue, or if I was it was only because of the legacy of the show and not the pilot itself:
- Grey’s Anatomy
- Gilmore Girls
- The West Wing
- True Detective
- The Walking Dead
- The Sopranos
And here are the shows that I had already seen other episodes of prior to this project, so I didn’t put them on either of the first two lists:
I find it incredibly interesting that when I went to look back at older posts and tried to guess whether shows would be on the “yes” list or the “no” list, I was actually wrong about some. The West Wing had a brilliant pilot so surely I said I’d want to keep watching it, right? Nope. Apparently I thought the show would demand too much mentally, which could very well be true. Then there’s shows like Sneaky Pete and 24 which I had pretty much forgotten I had watched but was impressed by in the moment.
And this discrepancy between how we feel five minutes after we watch a pilot and a week or two later means so much in this world where everything is streamable all day, everyday. Because truth be told, I would’ve gotten lost in The Americans and then maybe Game of Thrones and probably not gotten to a lot of the other pilots if I was embracing my normal streaming impulses. Most people don’t watch a bunch of pilots and then decide what they’re going to keep watching. They make those decisions in the heat of the moment.
It’s also crossing my mind how there’s so many other factors that come into play when we decide what to watch besides just straight up quality. For example, I definitely liked the Mad Men pilot more than I liked the The Handmaid’s Tale pilot yet I’m more likely to keep watching The Handmaid’s Tale because it’s only ten episodes and Mad Men seems like a lot of commitment for someone who couldn’t even finish Breaking Bad.
Then there’s the social element of tv. I can already assure you that the first show I’m going to continue is Dexter. While this is probably one of the top 5 pilots I watched all month, the main reason it’s top priority is because I told a friend that I thought she’d really like it. Now she’s mad at me because she’s watched two seasons and I need to catch up. Number two priority is Game of Thrones, not just because I really loved the pilot, but because now that I’m a blogger I need to start thinking about SEO and stuff.
The pilots that will actually work in the modern landscape are the ones that people can’t shut up about. They’re the pilots that accidentally turn into binging until 4 am even when you have to get up at 7. And while none of us are trying to write bad pilots, it’s also somewhat comforting to know that some of the really successful shows of today didn’t have the most gripping pilots in the world.
With that, it’s time to move on from this particular project, but please don’t go away! I’m going to keep posting regularly, if not daily. More irreverent commentary of movies and tv and other things to come!