In Friday’s edition of Salon, there’s an article by Matt Zoller Seitz: 10 greatest TV pilots ever. Salon has been running a bunch of these “10” lists lately and some of them have been pretty good. This one is funny, because I had been thinking about this very subject lately, after the debut of HBO‘s Boardwalk Empire.
One of the things that the writer pointed out in his introduction is that the pilot “has to establish the program’s particulars (characters, setting, overall aesthetic) without coming off like a tedious information dump.” This is the part I’ve been thinking about, because the pilot of the new HBO prohibition-gangster series. violated one of prohibitions for a truly great pilot. For some reason, the mini-series seemed intent on introducing every gangster of the area in one fell swoop. What’s the rush? There would seem to plenty of time. The only reason it wasn’t overwhelming is that we’ve heard from all these cats before.
This is ultimately a minor quibble, since with all the talent assembled, this has got to be a winner.
As for the Salon list, I learned a few things: The network resistance to the actual Star Trek pilot, and the (I suspected this) the same resistance from the network with regard to Homicide: Life on the Street.
I also have an urge to see these which I have never seen: The Westerner and My So-Called Life.