Perhaps no exchange more efficiently lays bare the unsentimental heart of the TV business quite like the back-and-forth between Jules and Vincent at the beginning of Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. As the two hit men are on their way to make a collection, Jules reveals that their boss’ wife, Mia Wallace, once starred in a pilot.
Because Vincent’s pop culture appreciation seems to have died out with Mamie Van Doren—“I don’t watch TV,” he says—Jules finds himself defining the term “pilot” for his dopey, dope-addled partner.
“Well, the way they pick TV shows is, they make one show. That show’s called a ‘pilot,’” Jules explains. “Then they show that one show to the people who pick shows, and on the strength of that one show they decide if they want to make more shows. Some get chosen and become television programs. Some don’t, become nothing. She starred in one of the ones that became nothing.”
This year, another 53 pilots joined Mia Wallace’s doomed Fox Force Five in the dustbin of TV history, a roster that includes a number of high-profile flameouts. What follows is a list of some of the more promising concepts that won’t be appearing on a TV set near you this fall.