Sitcom pilots: Are they doing it wrong?

Discussion in 'Now Playing - TV Show Talk' started by mwhip, Sep 30, 2011.

  1. mwhip

    mwhip All better

    Jul 22, 2002


    Looking at the threads for the pilots of sitcoms it seems so many people turn them off or delete SP in the middle of the pilot show. I wonder if the fact that they have been showing us the best jokes from this episode since May is driving us away. I always give shows 2-3 episodes before making a decision. So I was wondering how could networks give their shows a better chance? I think airing them out of order is a huge mistake I also think using a proven show as a lead in is not a great choice either. My solution is to air sitcoms back to back. Give me the pilot then the next episode right after the first time you show it. I think this would hold peoples interest longer and give the show a better chance.

  2. jsmeeker

    jsmeeker Notable Member TCF Club

    Apr 2, 2001
    How does one air the pilot "out of order"?
  3. allan

    allan Just someone TCF Club

    Oct 13, 2002
    Run the laugh track before the joke?
  4. NJChris

    NJChris Kermie Loves Elmo TCF Club

    May 11, 2001
    But I wouldn't take comments here and indicative as the population....

    things here seem uber critical compared to "normal" people. ;)

    I swear there were posts about how horrible the office was when it came out because of no laugh track....
  5. betts4

    betts4 I am Spartacus!

    Dec 26, 2005
    A Galaxy...


    I like the idea of the pilot then a second episode to start the season.
  6. mwhip

    mwhip All better

    Jul 22, 2002
    I was thinking they should not air the second episode in lieu or before the pilot.
  7. jsmeeker

    jsmeeker Notable Member TCF Club

    Apr 2, 2001

    Did some shows do that?
  8. Robin

    Robin Impolite arrogant woman

    Dec 6, 2001
    I don't watch previews so the only show I'd heard anything from going in was "Up All Night" b/c Will Arnette was on Fresh Air.

    I still hated 2 Broke Girls. And was unimpressed with New Girl. Those are the only sitcom pilots I've watched.

    (I'm undecided on UAN...I haven't watched more than the pilot, but they're sitting on the TiVo.)
  9. midas

    midas I heard that

    Jun 1, 2000
    IMO the problem with pilots is that they are pilots. They spend too much time introducing all the characters and their relationships. They spend so much time that the show itself tends to be half as good as it's potential.

    The fact is, there are tons of shows I started watching after the pilot aired. I figured who all the people are and what the relationships were. It wasn't that hard.

    So make the pilot actually funny and forget about all that other stuff.
  10. jsmeeker

    jsmeeker Notable Member TCF Club

    Apr 2, 2001
    But a pilot needs to do that. The point of the pilot is to setup a premise so that a network will buy the show for a number of episodes.
  11. midas

    midas I heard that

    Jun 1, 2000
    Then don't air the pilot. My point was, as a viewer I don't need the setup. I'll figure it out. Spend 2/3rds of the show on setup and 1/3rd on actual comedy and I stop watching before it's half over.
  12. DreadPirateRob

    DreadPirateRob Seriously?

    Nov 11, 2002
    I always give sitcoms a few more cracks than I do a drama, because in general it seems like it takes sitcoms a little longer to find their legs and figure out what works. Seinfeld was terrible when it started, and took almost 2 seasons to become the greatness that most of us recall. In more recent history, both The Office and Parks & Rec had pretty bad abbreviated first seasons, but came back with incredible second seasons. Since The Office is probably the best comedy of the past 10 years, and Parks & Rec is my pick for the best comedy on right now, that's enough of a correlation for me to give shows that seem like they should be good but just aren't there yet a bit of time to figure it out.
  13. Kylep

    Kylep Doomed! (DOOMED!)

    Feb 13, 2003
    Des Moines, IA
    I think a lot of us here are just willing to try more sitcoms as we look to see what clicks. I personally set them all to record and quickly delete any that are clearly not for me once I try them. While I admit I do try a lot of dramas there are certainly some I don't bother with. I bet many people here are similar.
  14. laria

    laria Librocubicularist

    Sep 7, 2000
    Seacoast, NH
    Agreed with all of this.

    Another good example would be Mike & Molly. I thought the first few episodes were pretty bad but it eventually found its legs.
  15. marksman

    marksman ID-10-T

    Mar 4, 2002
    I think the early exposure for some of the shows made it really hard to watch the pilots. Up All Night was essentially ruined for me. I managed to pass on the Fox and ABC preview shows after having the NBC and CBS shows ruined by the previews.

    That being said, I think sitcoms even more than dramas, need some time to gel and find their way on the road. They really need a few episodes and get some feedback of doing the show to figure out what is going to work and what direction they are going to go in.

    I do think the preview clips and commercials are tougher for new shows because the people who do the promos don't have a feel for the sensibility of the show, so they end up giving too much away.

    Returning comedies are handled better simply because the style, pace and tone of the show are likely known so what they show in previews and commercials can be tailored to be in line with the show and its expectations. For the new comedies it seems like fire off as many of your one liners as you can and hope people watch.
  16. DevdogAZ

    DevdogAZ Give 'em Hell, Devils

    Apr 16, 2003
    I think a big part of the problem, having listened to a lot of people in the industry complain about the process, is that pilots receive way too much attention, testing, and tweaking from the network executives. Comedy is not usually a collaborative process, but the network execs seem to think it is. The creator is the driving force behind the show and it's premise, and will be the driving force behind subsequent episodes, but the creator's influence is often lost from the pilot due to all the network notes and reworking to please the suits.
  17. Azlen

    Azlen Well-Known Member

    Nov 24, 2002
    Peoria, AZ
    Another issue that new sitcoms have is that a lot of their comedy is character and relationship driven. Have you ever watched a favorite sitcom with someone who hasn't watched the show before? There are a lot of things you may find funny that they won't simply because they don't know the characters. Sometimes shows start out slow because it takes awhile to get to know the characters and how they relate to each other. This isn't to say that all of them are going to start slow or that they are eventually going to get anywhere, it just can take some more time for a sitcom, especially a character driven sitcom to get good.
  18. GoodSpike

    GoodSpike Active Member

    Dec 17, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    I'll forgive a pilot not being funny. But when the second show isn't funny, I'll turn it off. Two Broke Girls fits that category.

    Christina Applegate's new show I didn't watch the second one of though because I don't care about babies. Wrong subject matter for me.
  19. aadam101

    aadam101 Tell me a joke

    Jul 14, 2002
    Sitcoms used to be 26-27 minutes long. They had more time to explain who everybody was AND make it funny. Now they are down to 20-22 minutes long They have to cram a lot more in.
  20. Steveknj

    Steveknj Lost in New Joisey TCF Club

    Mar 10, 2003
    New Jersey
    I have the perfect solution. MAKE BETTER SITCOMS!!! I almost NEVER cancel sitcoms after the pilot unless the premise of the show loses my interest. But I give it one more to be funny, so that second episode BETTER be funny. The problem is, I have too much other stuff to watch. I have 50 SPs and would have more if the HR boxes allowed it, and I have to start removing stuff I don't care too much about. So shows get a short leash. Back in the days of Seinfeld, there was a lot less competition and you tended to stick with stuff, especially if there was nothing else on to watch.

Share This Page

spam firewall