That’s all well and good. But in focusing so intensely on the flow of its schedule and its narrow target audience, the network may have passed on the best pilot it had, a drama called “Body Politic.”
A couple caveats here: I haven’t screened any full pilots yet, so my opinions are based on a limited amount of script reading, trailers and preview clips and what I’ve been able to gather from the pilot-season chatter leading up to this week’s upfronts. And the consensus on “Body Politic,” which is about a young congressional staffer (“Friday Night Lights'” Minka Kelly) and her friends working on or around Capitol Hill, is that it’s pretty darn good.
How good? Take a look at these clips from the pilot, which also stars Gabrielle Union, Jason Dohring, Jenny Wade and Jay Hernandez (and, though not seen in the clips, Brian Austin Green and Tim Matheson as Kelly’s senator father). The writing (Jason Rothenberg and Bill Robinson created the show) feels pretty sharp, and the cast was one of the better ones assembled this pilot season.
I don’t want to knock the choices The CW did make — the network had a pretty strong pilot season, and the four shows it picked up look either pretty decent (“The Vampire Diaries” and “Parental Discretion Advised”) or at least like natural fits with current series (“Melrose Place” and “The Beautiful Life”). And there’s a chance, however slight, that “Body Politic” could still find a home. Dawn Ostroff, The CW’s entertainment president, didn’t close the door completely on the show when I asked her about its chances (though of the pilots the network didn’t pick up, the “Gossip Girl” spinoff is more likely to get a midseason spot).
Failing that, it also feels like a show that could work on ABC (though its schedule for next season is probably crowded enough) or perhaps a cable channel like TNT. But I’m not getting my hopes up.
Every pilot season ends with potentially strong shows getting tossed onto the scrap heap. Having seen some evidence that “Body Politic” could have been a very good show, though, makes its demise a little harder to take.