July 14, 2007 Jill

Of the pilots I’ve read or watched so far in 2007, my five faves, each of which I’ve written about however briefly:

1. Jekyll

2. Skins

3. The Riches

4. Reaper (script)

5. Friday Night Lights

I am in the process of breaking Jekyll down. I’ll be writing about it next (I hope) so watch it soon if you can. What I love so much about it is that every act offers new surprises. The show keeps unfolding, taking unexpected turns, becoming something new.

The Riches pilot is quite similar to Jekyll in this respect. So I may write about it right aftter I finish with Jekyll — for comparison purposes. Watch that too.

Then there’s Friday Night Lights, which has a very unusual and successful structure. So doing a breakdown of it is also on my agenda. Especially since I recently came into possession of the script.

Also on my pilot script reading list:
Aliens in America
Bionic Woman
Miss Guided
New Amersterdam

And on my pilot watching list:
Hill Street Blues
Slings and Arrows
The Shield

Comments (6)

  1. Anonymous

    I’m a big Jekyll fan, but I’m wondering if it’ll really be that useful for figuring out long series pilots for you. My understanding is that Jekyll is going to be a six episode mini-series, rather than having an ongoing, indefinite run.

    I’m no television writer, but I’d think that that difference would make the Jekyll “pilot” something much more along the lines of the first bit of a movie than a typical television pilot.

  2. Jill Golick

    You’re right. Jekyll is a different bird. It’s got a limited run and many filmic aspects. But it’s still television and it’s still a pilot and I personally can’t spend enough time with it. So breaking it down is pute pleasure for me — taking it apart and seeing how it works.

    Some of what I’ll learn won’t apply to writing a pilot for a long running series. But some will. I’m not quite sure how yet, but I’m sure what I”m looking for will reveal itself eventually.

  3. Scott

    Just found your website a few weeks back. It has become an excellent resource and fun to read.

    I’m trying to write one now, have broken down a couple pilots, and was wondering if you knew of any good ones (the teaser of the pilot I’m trying to write is premise driven, but the rest of the pilot will be the style of a typical episode)?

    Do you read half-hour pilots or do you restrict yourself to hour-long only?

  4. Jill Golick

    I have nothing against half hours, I just haven’t really gotten there yet. If you suggest something, I’ll go take a look at it and if it interests me, I’ll definitely post about it.

    You ask for suggestions, but not specifically enough. Give me details about the kind of pilot you want to write or read and if I can think of anything that’s related, I’ll let you know.

  5. Isaac Ho

    Hi Jill:

    Just found your website and became an instant fan. I’m new to analyzing pilots (mostly because a lot of my peers are writing spec pilots).

    In my analysis I’ve discovered something interesting about themes that seemed to crop up consistently in Act Three. I’ve blogged about it here. http://www.scriptenabler.com/login/index.php

    I was wondering if you thought this was by design or by accident (since my sample group is only four)?

    Isaac Ho

  6. Jill Golick


    What a great post, what a great theory. I think you’re exactly right. Of course the third act is exactly the spot to state the theme of the series and even to comment on the lead’s character (as in the House example).

    I’m going to try to add in that marker in my future break downs.

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