As I mentioned awhile ago, the best TV pilot I read this year was "Awake" by Kyle Killen. He's the guy who wrote my favorite pilot of last year, "Lone Star", which was a giant 2 episode success.
Well, things on "Awake" might be headed in an even worse direction. Deadline reports:
Five episodes into its 12-episode midseason order, NBC’s drama series Awake is temporarily shutting down production to allow writers to catch up on scripts. The unplanned hiatus, which is expected to last a couple of weeks, is being done upon request from Awake creator/executive producer Kyle Killen and executive producer/showrunner Howard Gordon. It will be used to plot out the rest of the series’ first season.
“This is a creatively challenging show as anyone who has seen the pilot can imagine,” Gordon said. Awake stars Jason Isaacs as a detective who finds himself living in a dual reality after a fatal car accident, one where his wife survives and one where his son does. The series intertwines his two lives, each with its own family dynamic, workplace and a different psychiatrist for the lead. “Because we’re not on a tight delivery schedule, it wasn’t an expensive shutdown and just gives us an opportunity to get it right,” Gordon said, adding that the reaction from both NBC and Awake‘s studio 20th Century Fox TV to the already produced episodes has been positive.
Gordon also noted a similar shutdown for rewrites on his previous series, Fox’s 24, in the fall of 2008, which allowed the writers to reshape the second-to-last season’s creative direction. Like Awake, 24 was a midseason series, giving the producers more leeway scheduling-wise.
This is disturbing. How do you not have shit planned out? Maybe from Killen's last experience he thought a full season is only 2 episodes.
It's weird though, because I've been going through this process myself recently, and every executive I've met with has asked me very difficult questions about the future of the series. You can't completely bullshit your way through this process. And in this show's case, which is complicated to begin with, you'd think there'd be a definitive plan not just for season 1, but season 2 and beyond.
And I hate, hate!, that they're using "24" as a comparison. During that first season, I yelled at anyone who would listen "they're just making this up as they go along!" There was no plan on that show at all and it killed it for me. They turned characters who clearly they had no intention of being "bad guys" early on into super villains. It was obnoxious.
This is the danger of doing a pilot with a great hook. All of your great ideas are in the pilot, so what the hell are you gonna do in episode 2? And the hundred after that? On the other hand, you go in the room with "Cheers" and you're clearly in it for the long haul.
I hope they figure this "Awake" thing out, because it's a pretty cool idea, and a different way to do a (gasp!) procedural. Pull it together, people.