Vulture.com recently published a slideshow of what they deemed the 20 most exciting pilots of the upcoming TV season. As I clicked through, a pattern quickly emerged. Apparently, real life is boring.
This fall, there could be shows about fairy tales, ghosts, haunted houses, alternate realities and magical police procedurals, plus David E. Kelley’s notorious Wonder Woman reboot and Edgar Allen Poe re-imagined as a TV detective.
To be fair, some of the above pilots seem quite imaginative and worth checking out. But why does there have to be so many of them? I interpret it as a Hollywood dictum that fantastical premises are necessary to hook viewers, and that shows about regular people are dull, and therefore more likely doomed to cancellation.
Yet All in the Family, Roseanne and Friday Night Lights are just a few examples of how television can reflect the realities of our times in an engaging and entertaining way. And there are plenty of stories left to be told that don’t require supernatural elements like time travel or magic powers to make them interesting.