PilotWatch ’08: Bad Mothers, Good Behavior, and Alyssa Milano

It’s casting season for the broadcast networks’ fall pilots, and with every casting announcement we get a peek into what kinds of shows the networks are looking at for the fall. The verdict? Eh. I’m underwhelmed. Especially when it comes to the roles for women.

But you can draw you own conclusions — here are some of the pilots in the works and the actresses attached, with my wildly premature speculation thrown in as a bonus. Feel free to add your own observations in the comments.

BAD MOTHER’S HANDBOOK (ABC) – Alicia Silverstone (Miss Match), Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development)

Plot
A comedy about a 32-year-old woman (Silverstone) who is too busy taking care of her 16-year-old daughter (Shawkat) and 48-year-old mother.

Snap Judgment
Would they ever make a comedy called Bad Father’s Handbook? No.

Does Alicia Silverstone have a bad track record on TV? Yes.

Will I check this out anyway? Maeby.

GOOD BEHAVIOR (ABC) – Mae Whitman (Arrested Development)

Plot
A dramedy based on the New Zealand show Outrageous Fortune that centers on the matriarch of a family of criminals who straightens out her brood after her husband goes to jail for five years. Whitman plays Roxy, the family’s smart teen daughter who has been blackmailing her principal and selling hall passes and permission slips.

Snap Judgment
Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas is writing this show, so I’m semi-optimistic about it. And at least Whitman’s character is described as "smart." (Really? Her?)

KINGS (NBC) – Allison Miller

Plot

The story of King David, centering on David Shepherd (Christopher Egan), a pure-hearted young warrior who joins the court of the charismatic and authoritative King Silas (Ian McShane). Miller plays Michelle Benjamin, Silas’ daughter who falls in love with David.

Snap Judgment
Another show revolving around a male hero in which virtually all the women’s storylines revolve around being someone’s love interest? Excellent!

Because we don’t see enough of that on The Tudors. Or Mad Men. Or Nip/Tuck. Or in every historical epic or action movie in the theaters.

UNTITLED KRISTIN NEWMAN COMEDY (ABC) – Alyssa Milano (Charmed)

Plot
A thirtysomething woman (Milano) tries to break free of her overbearing and dysfunctional family, friends and boss.

Snap Judgment
We know Milano can do comedy, and the show actually revolves around her character, so this one might have potential.

And at least she’s not someone’s wife/girlfriend.

For now, anyway.

MEANT (CBS) – Amy Smart (The Butterfly Effect)

Plot
A romantic drama about a young woman (Smart) who dies, but must return to Earth and help people improve their lives.

Snap Judgment
Wasn’t this a show already? Called Dead Like Me? Starring Ellen Muth and Whitley from A Different World?

Oh, wait — in this one, the lead character is blond.

Now I see the difference!

UNTITLED ED YEAGER COMEDY PILOT (ABC) – Paula Marshall (Out of Practice), Jaime King (Sin City)

Plot
An easygoing, recently divorced dad (Jay Mohr) tries to navigate new waters with his ex-wife (Marshall), to whom he was married for 15 years, his kids and his new girlfriend (King).

Snap Judgment
Wasn’t this a show already? Called Almost Every Broadcast Network Sitcom on TV in the Last 20 Years?

Eh, at least Paula Marshall’s in it. Now if only she’d channel Regina and seduce Jaime King, that would make for an interesting show!

CRUSOE (NBC) – Anna Walton (Vampire Diary)

Plot
A drama based on Daniel Defoe’s classic novel Crusoe about a man (Philip Winchester) who leaves his wife Susannah (Walton) in pursuit of an adventure, only to end up shipwrecked on a remote tropical island for 28 years.

Snap Judgment

1) Serves him right.

2) There better not be a volleyball co-starring in this show.

3) If there is, who wants to bet the volleyball gets more lines than the wife?

Stay tuned for more news about TV shows in development as the season progresses…

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