It's that time of year! The broadcast networks are putting the finishing touches on this year's crop of pilots and deciding which ones will make it to air this fall, and we're here to help!
We've read bunches of scripts and selected our favorites below. Note: We didn't include near-done deals like CBS' Supergirl, the CW's Flash-Arrow spin-off and CBS' new iteration of Criminal Minds. Instead, we focused on less-than-sure contenders that we'd like to see get a shot. Be sure to share your picks in the comments below!
Broad Squad (ABC)
Premise: This fact-based drama introduces us to the first four women (including HBO alums Lauren Ambrose and Rutina Wesley) to graduate from Boston's Police Academy in 1978.
Pedigree: Gossip Girl's Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage will executive-produce.
Why we like it: Like Mad Men before it, it takes a sharp look at racism and sexism by presenting the mistakes of the past. Plus: The connections that unfold among the characters lead to some nice twists that made us want to see more.
Will it be picked up? 50-50. The failure of recent-past period drama Pan Am might make the network gun-shy.
[UPDATE: ABC has ordered The Catch to series.]
The Catch (ABC)
Premise: A gutsy forensic accountant (Emmy nominee Mireille Enos) who exposes fraud for a living gets thrown into a dangerous cat-and-mouse game when her fiancé turns out to be a con-man.
Pedigree:Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers are executive-producing; Hannibal producer Jennifer Schuur penned the pilot.
Why we like it: Enos' haunted, steely roles on Big Love and The Killing have made her a favorite. She is a perfect choice to move into Shondaland's grittiest neighborhood.
Will it be picked up? Yes. At this point we actually think that Rhimes is just selecting the network's fall lineup for them.
Premise: A disgraced CIA agent (Reign's Alan Van Sprang) becomes a teacher at an elite private school in Washington, D.C., and turns a pack of "mean girls" into international spies.
Pedigree: Former Law & Order: SVU executive producer Neal Baer, Desperate Housewives' Marc Cherry and SVU writer Dan Truly will all write and executive-produce.
Why we like it: It combines the quippy dialogue we used to see all the time on the CW's teen soaps with the action of an Arrow or Flash. It's the best of the old and the new.
Will it be picked up? Probably. CW has few spaces to fill, but this one feels on brand with the potential to attract both male and female audiences equally.
Premise: Based on a Belgian series, this drama tracks a deadly epidemic that breaks out in Atlanta, leaving those stuck inside the quarantine zone to fight for their lives.
Pedigree: Julie Plec will write and executive-produce with director David Nutter (Game of Thrones).
Why we like it: It's like Under the Dome without the dome. Stories of confinement make for great thrillers, and the stories of those inside and outside the cordon are devastating.
Will it be picked up? Yes. Plec (The Vampire Diaries and The Originals) has juice at the CW, and Cordon got early buzz when Nutter chose it from all the Warner Bros. pilots to direct.
Premise:Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo star as a baby boomer couple who say goodbye to their retirement plans when they are forced to raise their grandchildren.
Pedigree: Former Arrested Development and My Name Is Earl staffer Brad Copeland wrote the pilot, which he will executive-produce with Aaron Kaplan (The Mysteries of Laura) and director Ben Taylor.
Why we like it: Chase and D'Angelo have undeniable chemistry, so it'll be a hoot to see them working together again. Chase seems to have picked this project to quell rumors about him being difficult, as his character — and the show overall — are both very sweet.
Will it be picked up? Yes. Even without the promotable upcoming Vacation sequel tie-in, this show feels totally on-brand with ABC's current batch of family comedies.
Premise: This medical drama, based on a documentary, takes us inside L.A. County Hospital's busy emergency room, where limited time and resources make it difficult to, you know, save lives. Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden leads the cast, which also includes Bonnie Somerville, Luis Guzman and Raza Jaffrey.
Pedigree: Marti Noxon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Private Practice) is executive-producing alongside Michael Seitzman (Intelligence), who wrote the script.
Why we like it: Unlike most current medical dramas, this one moves with the urgency and intensity of ER, which we sorely miss, but the script's emotional beats still land very well. Also: Harden has the gravitas to turn the meaty, no-nonsense lead role into a standout performance.
Will it be picked up? Probably. CBS desperately wants to add a medical drama to its procedural slate, and this seems like a solid bet.
Premise: A woman (Rachel DiPillo) returns from a summer abroad married to a charming but infuriating eccentric named Cuckoo (Flula Borg), much to the chagrin of her parents (Michael Chiklis and Cheryl Hines).
Pedigree: Simpsons' longtime consulting producer Tim Long will write and executive-produce.
Why we like it: It's cute and funny in a Welcome to Sweden kind of way, and we can't wait to see Chiklis and Hines in these roles.
Will it be picked up? Likely. A British version is already a hit and NBC has a lot of comedy-shaped holes in its lineup. Plus: Borg's 60 million YouTube views don't hurt.
For Justice (CBS)
Premise: An FBI agent (Dreamgirls' Anika Noni Rose) tries to reconcile working in the Bureau's civil rights division with her radical family. Phylicia Rashad co-stars as Rose's boss.
Pedigree: Law & Order's Rene Balcer is writing and executive-producing this adaptation of James Patterson's first novel, The Thomas Berryman Number, alongside Robert De Niro, Patterson and Selma director Ava DuVernay, who is also directing the pilot.
Why we like it: It's a timely take on civil rights — and weightier than CBS' other crime-of-the-week shows.
Will it be picked up? Possibly. It's a star-studded production, but its divisive subject matter might make it a risk.
Premise: Rob Lowe stars as beloved former TV lawyer Dean Sanderson (aka The Grinder), who returns to his hometown to take over his family's law practice. Fred Savage also stars.
Pedigree: Muppets Most Wanted producer Nicholas Stoller will executive-produce with Lowe and director Jake Kasdan (New Girl).
Why we like it: The premise is a bit cliched, but this Hollywood fish-out-of-water story is well-written and seems tailor-made for former Brat Packer Lowe.
Will it be picked up? Yes.We're hearing Fox loves it.
Premise: A twisted serial killer (Gossip Girl's Ed Westwick) preys on young women who have come to L.A. seeking fame. Season 1 of the anthology series will be set in the 1980s and focus on the two cops (Gabriel Luna and Adam Rothenberg) assigned to the case. Erika Christensen (Parenthood) and Taissa Farmiga (American Horror Story) co-star.
Pedigree: Writer Steven Baigelman (Get On Up) penned the script. Detroit 1-8-7's David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman will executive-produce with Castle's Laurie Zaks.
Why we like it: It has a cool, gritty feel (think True Detective) with a narrative structure that shows the audience the perspectives of both the cops and the killer.
Will it be picked up? Hard to say. ABC just struck out with American Crime, but this fresher, younger take seems more promising.
Premise: After the failure of a police division in which people were arrested for crimes they had yet to commit, one of the three former predictors — called "precogs" (Inside Llewyn Davis' Stark Sands) — remains haunted by visions of the future. He meets a detective (Meagan Good) who helps him find a purpose for his gift.
Pedigree: It's based on the hit Tom Cruise-Steven Spielberg film. Godzilla's Max Borenstein will write and executive-produce with Franklin & Bash creator Kevin Falls.
Why we like it: We're excited to see how a television adaptation might expand on Spielberg's very cool vision of the future.
Will it be picked up? Yes. It was the first drama script to be ordered by Fox, and the network that brought us The X-Files, Fringe and Sleepy Hollow is looking for another big genre hit.
Premise: A former sniper-turned-security expert (Strike Back's Philip Winchester) is drawn into a mysterious conspiracy game that forces him to complete a series of heroic challenges in order to save innocent lives. Wesley Snipes plays the "pit boss" of the game.
Pedigree: John Rogers (Leverage, The Librarians) will write and executive-produce alongside The Blacklist's John Davis and John Fox.
Why we like it: It's time for a Snipes comeback, and we're dying to see what he'll do with this juicy TV role. (Fun fact: He was thisclose to playing Lucious Lyon on Empire.) The show itself sounds really fun, a series of perverse, high-octane mind games.
Will it be picked up? Almost definitely. NBC has already staffed up the writers' room.
Strange Calls (NBC)
Premise: A down-on-his-luck police officer (Community's Danny Pudi) moves to a rural town with a bizarre supernatural underbelly. Daniel Stern plays a peculiar night watchman who becomes his wingman. Pedigree: Cougar Town's Blake McCormick is writing and executive-producing this adaptation of an Australian series with Aaron Kaplan and director Jason Winer (Modern Family).
Why we like it: We love Pudi, and the idea of a Grimm-like comedy is definitely intriguing.
Will it be picked up? It's a toss-up. This project has been in development for a while at ABC, but NBC needs comedies.
Studio City (Fox)
Premise: A young singer (newcomer Florence Pugh) learns that her songwriter father (Eric McCormack) is a drug dealer to the stars. The story is based on the life of writer Krista Vernoff (Grey's Anatomy).
Pedigree: Vernoff will write and executive-produce with John Wells (The West Wing, ER, Shameless).
Why we like it: Nothing McCormack has done since Will & Grace (see: Perception) has done him any favors, but we're thinking he could have a hell of a lot of fun with this character and script.
Will it be picked up? It has a good shot. A soapy drama set in the music business would pair excellently with Empire.
Super Clyde (CBS)
Premise: A meek fast food worker (The Middle's Charlie McDermott) decides to become a superhero. Pedigree: My Name Is Earl and Raising Hope creator Greg Garcia is writing and executive-producing.
Why we like it: This one has been tickling our funny bone for two years. (It was originally developed with Harry Potter's Rupert Grint in the lead.) We love Garcia's comedic brand (The Millers notwithstanding), and this weirdo premise could be a nice change of pace for CBS.
Will it be picked up? Probably. CBS' comedy needs are always harder to predict, but the network has invested a lot of time in this one. Clearly, it wants to make it work.
Premise: John Stamos plays a version of himself as a longtime bachelor whose life is upended after he learns he's both a father and a grandfather.
Pedigree: The Office's Danny Chun will write and executive-produce with Galavant's Dan Fogelman and Stamos.
Why we like it: Stamos and his supporting cast (including Paget Brewster and Josh Peck) are all very charming, and it's a fresh take on the past-his-prime heartthrob. I mean, what kind of grandpa is John Stamos? The world waits with bated breath to find out.
Will it be picked up? Yes. Full House nostalgia is hot! Of course Fox will jump on that bandwagon.
Untitled NBA Project (ABC)
Premise: This buddy comedy is about an NBA rookie (former NCAA player Blondy Baruti) who doesn't speak English and a translator (Skylar Astin) who doesn't speak basketball. Jami Gertz and Ving Rhames also star.
Why we like it: It's a funny premise for a sports comedy; we're thinking its fish-out-of-water story will attract a wide audience.
Will it be picked up? Most likely.The NBA is reportedly on board, which means it could be a major cross-promotional opportunity (read: $$$$). Think of the cameos!