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What Alec's Watching: Pilots appear promising

The network TV season is slowly but surely coming to a close. For people like me, this means crawling into the cryogenic chamber for a deep, satisfying sleep before True Blood and Breaking Bad come on during the mid-summer. But for the networks it means only one thing: upfronts time.

Network television upfronts are big presentations where networks invite advertisers and critics to get an early look at new pilots for the upcoming season. The goal is to generate both ad revenue and word-of-mouth interest.

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the network upfronts this year, as my invitation must have been lost in the mail.

Thanks to the glory of the Internet, however, I have been able to watch the trailers and read about the early buzz for several shows. And since I am little more than a spinning cog in the media hype machine, I feel compelled to share with you several shows that have me excited for the 2011-2012 season.

Awake (NBC): Detective Michael Britten (Jason Isaacs, aka Lucius Malfoy from the Harry Potter film series) wakes up from a car accident, splitting time between two realities. In one reality, his wife perished in the car accident and his son survived. In the other, his son died and his wife lived. Each reality has a different therapist, a different partner and a different case but the same Michael.

It a high science-fiction concept, but the trailer hits all the right emotional notes. With Kyle Killen (creator of the appreciated but swiftly canceled Lone Star) and Howard Gordon (producer of 24) show-running, it should be a critical, if not audience, favorite.

Person of Interest (CBS): Person of Interest’s trailer isn’t nearly as impressive as Awake’s. It looks like a slightly higher-brow version of CBS’ Numb3rs or a slightly lower-brow version of AMC’s Rubicon. But the talent involved is just too exciting to ignore.

Jim “Yes, I played Jesus” Caviezel plays a crime-solving genius of some sort, and Michael “Yes, I played Ben Linus” Emerson plays his mysterious handler. J.J. Abrams (creator of Lost, Alias, everything else) and Jonathan Nolan (co-writer of Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies) wrote the pilot, and Abrams will produce. According to CBS, the pilot received the highest test ratings of any CBS drama in the last 15 years.

The New Girl (Fox): I’ve not enjoyed a Fox comedy since the seventh season of 24, but I might be willing to give The New Girl a shot. The only real appeal is the presence of Zooey Deschanel, one of the most immensely likeable actresses alive. The plot seems fairly standard (actually, it’s essentially the plot of TBS’ My Boys) but Deschanel could really do something with it. In Zooey I trust.

— Alec Bojalad is a junior studying journalism. Send him an email at

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