TV Adaptations: Fall 2012 TV Pilots Part Two

In Part 2, we’re looking at new adaptation pilots from CW and NBC.

The pilots are predominately dramas this year though NBC did have one comedy in their rotation. CW’s pilots are mainly fantasy and science fiction series starring young people, which is their bread and butter. Their source material is almost entirely literary with the exception of Israel’s Joey Dakota. On the complete opposite spectrum, NBC’s adaptations are mainly dark thrillers with one family comedy. Their source material is almost entirely foreign adaptations from Britain and Israel with only one literary adaptation, the eagerly awaited series Hannibal.


New CW pilot "Arrow" starring Stephen Amell (right)

CW’s latest drama Arrow is an adaptation based on the DC Comics graphic novels. The series is about a wealthy playboy by day who protects the city as hooded superhero Green Arrow by night. This superhero saves the city with the aid of his specially enhanced arrows. Green Arrow himself is played by Stephen Amell (a Chris Pine-looklike).

Verdict: Probable hit. A lot like longtime series Smallville and on the same network so it should attract the same audiences.

Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you. CW has also ordered Beauty and the Beast with the same exact title. This Beauty and the Beast series is an adaptation of the 1980s CBS series. In this version, Belle is now tough NYPD homicide detective Catherine Chandler and the Beast is Vincent Koslow. Catherine Chandler is played by Kristin Kreuk (Smallville) and Vincent Koslow is Jay Ryan (Terra Nova).

Verdict: Doubtful. This series could work…if it wasn’t promoted as a modern day Beauty and the Beast. Aside from the name, I don’t see the connections between this series and the fairy tale. There’s not room for two TV series about “Beauty and the Beast” with the same name.  It will be a race to see which network greenlights first. May the best series win.

Sex and the City for the tween set. It was only a matter of time. Adapted from author Candace Bushnell’s prequel, The Carrie Diaries takes place in the early 1980s. This series will be told from Carrie’s point of view as she navigates high school drama and Manhattan. Unfortunately the rest of the gang is not present in this series. AnnaSophia Robb plays Carrie Bradshaw.

Verdict: Most probably a hit due to Sex and the City’s enormous fan base. I’ll be curious to see if any Sex and the City fans will follow Carrie to CW. The series were a huge hit but the dismal movies may have killed fans’ desire to see any more adaptations of their favorite show. In addition, I’m not sure if Carrie B. will be as relevant to today’s high schoolers who were babies when the parent show was on.

Joey Dakota stars Craig Horner (left) and Amber Stevens (right)

Joey Dakota is an adaptation of Israeli series Danny Hollywood. This pilot wins the award for strangest premise as it is essentially a time traveling romance. Did I mention it’s also a musical? A young documentary film maker named Maya Beaumont travels back in time to the 1990s where she meets and falls in love with rock star Joey Dakota, the subject of her documentary. When she ends up in present day, she must find a way back to the past and save her love from his untimely death. Maya Beaumont is played by Amber Stevens (Greek) and Joey Dakota is Australian actor Craig Horner (Legend of the Seeker).

Verdict: Hard to say if Joey Dakota will succeed or not. A risky gamble for CW, it remains unseen whether the science fiction elements can blend well with the romantic musical. I predict either a huge success or an explosive failure.

Based on the book series by Kiera Cass, The Selection is a futuristic dystopian drama. Set 300 years into the future, a poor young woman America Singer is chosen by lottery to enter a competition. If she wins, she will become queen of a war-torn nation. America Singer will be played by Aimee Teegarden (Friday Night Lights).

Verdict: As a blatant Hunger Games rip off, the series is destined to be a mega hit. Dystopians are hot right now and it’s about time TV got into the action. With hit books and movies, The Selection is in good company. This looks like one of the more promising pilots on the list and CW is the right network for the series.


Bad Girls is a remake of the British drama which details the lives of women in a federal prison. From the scandalous female prison warden to the host of inmates, everyone struggles with loyalties both inside and outside the prison. Bad Girls stars Karolina Wydra (you probably know her as Dr. House’s wife on House), Jurnee Smollett (Friday Night Lights), and Zoe Boyle (Downton Abbey).

Verdict: High chance of success despite the curse that British remakes have stateside. Bad Girls is reminiscent of female-centered Oz or Prison Break. Perhaps even a non-musical Chicago. I look forward to seeing if this show can find an audience.

Hannibal is based on the Thomas Harris novel Red Dragon and the Silence of the Lambs movie franchise. The series centers around famous serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter and FBI agent Will Graham. British actor Hugh Dancy plays Will Graham. No word yet on who will be filling Anthony Hopkins’ shores as Dr. Lecter.

Verdict: With the popularity of the Silence of the Lambs franchise, Hannibal should be a safe bet for success. This pilot also has the advantage of having a 13 episode order already lined up and NBC’s full support.

Another adaptation from Israel, Midnight Sun follows the disappearance of a commune in Alaska. Julia Stiles plays FBI cult specialist Agent Leah Macallen who investigates the disappearance and uncovers a larger conspiracy.

Verdict: I think this is going to be the series to watch. Cults, FBI, and global conspiracies, what’s not to love? With the right support, Midnight Sun could be a huge hit.  Midnight Sun seems very similar in tone to fellow Israeli adaptation Homeland. Hopefully it will gain a similar following.

Friday Night Dinner (British Edition pictured)

Friday Night Dinner is a British comedy adaptation about a quirky family that has dinner together every Friday night. The family in the American version has been changed to a traditional Jewish family with weekly Shabbat dinners. Allison Janey (West Wing) and Tony Shaloub (Monk) play the married couple Barbara and Gene Fisher. Their two sons Gary and Paul are played by Gil Ozeri and Kevin Bigley respectively.

Verdict: Mixed chances. The premise of this pilot did have me scratching my head (though not as much as Joey Dakota). I am wondering how they can sustain this for a whole series. On the other hand, Greg Daniels is adapting this series and he was very successful adapting The Office for American audiences. I say this has a 50-50 chance.

From the CW and NBC line-up, I am most looking forward to: Bad Girls, Midnight Sun, and The Selection.

Which pilots will you be watching?

One Response to “TV Adaptations: Fall 2012 TV Pilots Part Two”
  1. How can there be two shows with the exact same name? This is going to be very confusing for many people. I am willing to bet one of these shows will be renamed fast.

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