Next month, television networks will reveal which pilots they picked up to series and which existing shows are getting cancelled. To those unfamiliar, a pilot is a trial episode presented to potential networks; sometimes they are picked up to series, other times they are retooled, but most, regardless of their quality, never get past the pilot process. For a television fan like myself, those first few weeks of May are both exiting and depressing.
Last May, on the heels of a television season featuring many creative new series, the major networks filled their fall schedules with bland procedurals. Lone Star, Undercovers, Chase and My Generation didn’t look like something I needed to watch every week. The Cape, which premiered midseason on NBC, looked absolutely awful. Is there anyone who actually thought it looked good? Summer Glau is always entertaining, but the show followed an unattractive moody guy with a lame cape. Thankfully, I wasn’t the only individual with good taste: all five of these shows have already been cancelled, meaning very few people wanted to watch them.
Among all of the new bland series though, NBC released a promo for a show titled Love Bites. It was an anthology series dealing with the ups and down of love, and would have been anchored every week by two single women, Frannie and Annie. After watching said promo, Love Bites was quickly added to my list of new shows I wanted to watch. The premise was similar to many romantic comedies, but had a modern and dirty twist to it. In addition, it seemed like I recognized every actor in the short promo (Amanda from Ugly Betty! The hot guy from Privileged! PJ from My Boys! The fat cop from Heroes! Jennifer Love Hewitt! Lauren Conrad’s boyfriend! The semi-Asian chick from that shortly lived witch show! Michael Cera's ex-girlfriend! The black guy from The Office!)
Yet, over the summer, Love Bites’ premiere was pushed to midseason. Instead, another season of The Apprentice bowed in the fall. (Barf, who the hell watches that crap?) Even though nine episodes were filmed, NBC has yet to schedule an airdate for Love Bites. (Note: NBC also produced 13 episodes of another show, Friends With Benefits, none of which are currently scheduled.)
In all actuality, it was the only new show I wanted to watch this season. For starters, I was already committed to watch returning favorites like Parks and Recreation, True Blood and Community. Also, I went off to college last fall and didn’t have the time required to properly invest in a multitude of new series. Lastly, the majority of new shows didn’t appeal to me. (Need I mention The Crap again?)
Fortunately, the cast of Love Bites seems to have moved on, with most booking new pilots or scoring roles on existing series. Since it is an anthology series, the majority of the actors were probably only in that one episode. However, I'm intrigued by the possibility of what happens in the remaining produced episodes.
I imagine the show would be similar to Night Gallery, a horror anthology series that ran from 1970 to 1973. (In what cannot be a coincidence, the show ran on NBC.) Created by Rod Serling, Night Gallery featured actual movie stars, including Joan Crawford, Vincent Prince and Mickey Rooney, dealing with ghosts, curses or nightmares. Granted the show has not aged as magically as Serling’s other creation, The Twilight Zone, but it still has an interesting appeal to it.
I hoped that Love Bites would be similar, except it would have featured quasi celebrities dealing with broken hearts, mildly inappropriate situations or witty dialogue. Since it seemed to be billed as a modern take on love, I figured it would be the best place to see diversity on television. Think about it: anyone can experience love, so limiting the couples to young, attractive, straight couples would be doing the show’s writers a disservice creatively. Yes, the show's quality, or lack thereof, could be the primary factor delaying its start, but I would like to be given the chance to discern that for myself.
The problem is that I as an audience member am becoming impatient with NBC. I love their Thursday comedy shows, but with the exception of Parenthood what the hell else is on their schedule? Didn't E.R. and Law & Order close up shop a few years ago? While NBC appears to be producing interesting pilots for next season, there is no guarantee, even if they are picked up, that any will ever air.