It’s a new year, and I don’t know about the rest of you, but it seems like it’s been a looooong time since I’ve reviewed some TV pilots. That’s a shame. So much has changed since my last TV pilot reviewing project, which I did from January-April 2020. (I told you a lot changed!).
Even if we limit ourselves to changes in the TV landscape, a lot has still changed. Perhaps it’s just because there’s already 131 TV Pilot reviews on this blog, but it seemed like this time around fewer shows seemed like proper hits, particularly if we’re talking about more recent shows. I’m guessing it’s because we’re watching our TV in so many different places, even compared to 3 years ago.
In January 2020, Netflix was the undisputed King of Streaming, and Hulu and Amazon were the underdogs struggling to keep up, grateful to have the occasional hit here and there. Apple TV+ and Disney+ were babies, have only joined the streaming wars in November 2019; HBO Max would not become A Thing until May 2020, which of course means there were no max originals, just HBO originals.
When it came time to piece together this year’s list, it was different. Apple TV+ certainly has a seat at the big kids’ table now. Hulu seems more like a proper rival to Netflix, with several recent hits that immediately made the list. This is even more true if you do what I did and count all the “FX on Hulu” shows as Hulu. (FX and Hulu still felt like different things in 2020!) Scripted originals from basic cable were even harder to find, and it was also harder.
So… here it is. The List. It was strategically chosen to have an almost-even split between hour and half-hour shows whilst covering network, cable, premium cable, and streaming and include several channels within each category. There’s a mix of undisputed Hits with a capital H, critical darlings that haven’t quite gone mainstream yet, and shows that apparently tons of people are watching but no one is talking about. I’ve left out certain categories such as animation, limited series, and Marvel and Star Wars franchise shows, as these special cans of worms could easily be their own blogging exercises for another day.
- Friends (NBC, 1994-2004)
- Will & Grace (NBC, 1998-2006, 2017-2020)
- CSI (CBS, 2000-2015)
- Nip/Tuck (FX, 2003-2010)
- Entourage (HBO, 2004-2011)
- Gossip Girl (The CW, 2007-2012)
- The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 2007-2019)
- True Blood (HBO, 2008-2014)
- Nurse Jackie (Showtime, 2009-2015)
- Vampire Diaries (The CW, 2009-2017)
- Suits (USA, 2011-2019)
- New Girl (2011-2018)
- The Blacklist (NBC, 2013-present)
- Schitt’s Creek (CBC, 2015-2020)
- Cobra Kai (YouTube/Netflix, 2018-present)
- Yellowstone (Paramount Network, 2018-present)
- Euphoria (HBO, 2019-present)
- The Boys (Amazon, 2019-present)
- The Righteous Gemstones (HBO, 2019-present)
- Ted Lasso (Apple TV+, 2020-present)
- Industry (BBC/HBO, 2020-present)
- Bridgerton (Netflix, 2020-present)
- Girls 5eva (Peacock, 2021-present)
- Reservation Dogs (Hulu, 2021-present)
- Only Murders in the Building (Hulu, 2021-present)
- Squid Game (Netflix, 2021-present)
- Yellowjackets (Showtime, 2021-present)
- Abbott Elementary (2021-present)
- Severance (Apple TV+, 2022-present)
- The Bear (Hulu, 2022-present)
- A League of Their Own (Amazon, 2022-present)