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New trailer for ‘The First Time’

Check out the new trailer for “The First Time” starring Dylan O’Brien (MTV’s “Teen Wolf”), Britt Robertson (CW’s “The Secret Circle”) and Victoria Justice, with Craig Roberts (“Submarine”) James Frenchville, LaMarcus Tinker (“Glee”), Christine Taylor and Joshua Malina in supporting roles. The film is written and directed by Jonathan Kasdan.

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Greetings to the New Pilots: 20 Series We Hope to See in Fall 2011

Yes, once again, it’s pilot season: the time when the broadcast networks put all of the potential projects for the 2011 – 2012 season on the table, take a cold, hard look at what’s available to them, and decide which ones have the most potential for success come the fall…or spring, depending on how much or how little confidence they end up having in the final product.

Critics everywhere should be throwing parades in honor of TV Guide’s Natalie Abrams, who has done the heavy lifting for the rest of us and offered up The Complete Pilot Report, listing off all of the pilots currently in the running for ABC, CBS, The CW, Fox, and NBC, along with their creators, their premises, and the actors currently attached to them as of this writing.

Having taken a gander at Abrams’ decidedly comprehensive list, here’s our list of the 20 shows we’d most like to see turn up come the kickoff of the Fall 2011 season:

1. Alcatraz (Fox): A cop (Sarah Jones) and a team of FBI agents track down a group of missing Alcatraz prisoners and guards who reappear in the present day after disappearing 30 years earlier. J.J. Abrams will executive-produce and Liz Sarnoff (“Lost”) will be the showrunner. Jorge Garcia, Sam Neill, Jonny Coyne, Jason Butler Harner, Parminder Nagra, Santiago Cabrera and Robert Forster also star.

2. Awakening (The CW): Two sisters (Lucy Griffiths and Meredith Hagner) face off during a zombie uprising. William Laurin, Glenn Davis, Howard T. Owens, Carolyn Bernstein and Todd Cohen will executive-produce.

3. Brave New World (NBC): The project centers on a group of characters at Pilgrim Village, a theme park that recreates 1637 New England. Peter Tolan (“Rescue Me”) wrote the pilot and will executive-produce with Michael Wimer (“2012″). Ed Begley Jr., Nick Braun, Will Greenberg, Jazz Raycole, Robbie Benson and Anna Popplewell will star.

4. The Council of Dads (Fox): Based on the non-fiction book by Bruce Feiler, a man who learns he’s dying enlists five men to help his wife raise their two children. The project comes from “Rescue Me” creator Peter Tolan. Kyle Bornheimer, Diane Farr, Patrick Breen and Ken Howard will star.

5. Hail Mary (CBS): An Atlanta-set P.I. drama tells the story of a suburban single mom (Minnie Driver) who teams up with a street hustler (Brandon T. Jackson) to solve crimes. Jeff Wadlow will write and executive-produce with Joel Silver and “The L Word” creator Ilene Chaiken. Enrique Murciano and Stephen Tobolowsky will also star.

6. How to Be a Gentleman (CBS): An uptight guy (David Hornsby) learns to live his life with the help of an old high school friend. The project comes from Hornsby (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”). Dave Foley, Nancy Lenehan and Rhys Darby will also star.

7. Little in Common (Fox): This project revolves around families whose children play Little League together. “Veronica Mars”‘ Rob Thomas will write and executive-produce. Rob Corddry, Paula Marshall, Kevin Hart and Gabrielle Union star.

8. Pan Am (ABC) – The stewardesses and pilots of the titular airline are the stars of this soap set in the Jet Age of the 1960s. Jack Orman (“ER”) wrote the pilot and will executive-produce with Nancy Hult Ganis and Tommy Schlamme (“The West Wing”). Christina Ricci, Margot Robbie, Karine Vanasse and Michael Mosley will star.

9. Person of Interest (CBS): A presumed-dead CIA agent (Jim Caviezel) is recruited by a billionaire (Michael Emerson) to catch violent criminals in New York City. “Memento”‘s Jonathan Nolan and J.J. Abrams will executive-produce. Taraji P. Henson will also star.

10. Playboy (NBC) – At the Playboy Club in Chicago in 1963, “bunnies” (incuding Amber Heard and Naturi Naughton) flirt with danger. Chad Hodge and “Apollo 13″‘s Brian Grazer will executive-produce. Jeff Hephner, Laura Benanti, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Leah Renee, David Krumholtz and Wes Ramsey also star.

11. Reconstruction (NBC) – In the aftermath of the Civil War, a soldier (Martin Henderson) crosses the country and settles in a complicated town where he is welcomed as its savior — whether he likes it or not. “St. Elsewhere” co-creator Josh Brand wrote the pilot. Bill Sage, Claire Wellin, Emma Bell and Rachelle Lefevre will also star.

12. REM (NBC): A police detective (Jason Isaacs) who’s involved in a traumatic car accident wakes up in two fractured realities. The project comes from Kyle Killen, creator of Fox’s short-lived “Lone Star,” and “24″‘s Howard Gordon will also executive-produce.

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TCA: Life Unexpected

When The CW held a preliminary panel during the summer 2009 TCA tour for its yet-to-be-scheduled series, “Life UneXpected” (the “X” has since been de-capitalized), one of the critics posed this question to the show’s creator, Liz Tigelaar:

“Is there any concern that you may have made this pilot for a network than doesn’t exactly exist? Because this is sort of a warm, fuzzy, family, everybody-together pilot, and if you look at The CW’s shows for the Fall, they’re less that.”

It’s true: when compared to shows like “Melrose Place” and the late, apparently-not-all-that-great “The Beautiful Life,” “Life Unexpected” stands out in a big way simply by offering some semblance of a proper family dynamic. It’s the story of 15-year-old Lux (Britt Robertson), who, after spending her life bouncing from one foster family to another, has decided it’s time to become an emancipated minor. Her journey through the legal maze leads Lux to her biological parents, Nate “Baze” Bazile (Kristoffer Polaha) and Cate Cassidy (Shiri Appleby). When a judge unexpectedly grants temporary joint custody to Baze and Cate, they agree to make a belated attempt to give Lux the family she deserves. A series on The CW that not only doesn’t immediately make parents flip out at the effect it might have on their children…? Talk about unconventional.

When The CW held the panel for “Life Unexpected” during the winter 2010 TCA tour, things once again kicked off with a question for Ms. Tigelaar, but it was a bit of a left-field query this time around…or, at least, it was to me, as I’d ever heard the rumor that her birth mother was Nancy Reagan. She’s not, as it turns out, and the question was a bit tongue-in-cheek to begin with, but the story of its origins was certainly a funny one.

“I’m adopted,” she explained, “and there’s a big kind of fantasy element of the show of being an adopted kid: you imagine who your birth mom, especially, might be. When I was little, I didn’t know that much, but I knew I was born in D.C., so I was always, like, ‘I think Nancy Reagan’s my birth mom, and this really sucks. I should be living in the White House, and I should have a $100-a-month allowance.’ It started when I was little and, weirdly, it lasted for a long time, until finally, when I was eight, my mom was, like, ‘You’re an idiot. You’re not doing basic math. There’s no way that Nancy Reagan could be your birth mom.’ But the idea of it was definitely what I brought into the series, which is, again, that fantasy of who your parents might be. I think when you have no idea and you really have nothing to go on, you really create something in your head, so this story is very much a story of Lux having this fantasy and in some ways it really coming true: her mom is this super successful, glamorous radio DJ, and her dad is this pretty cool guy who owns a bar and lives with friends and lives in a sweet loft. The idea is that just because people are kind of cool fantasy people doesn’t actually make them fantasy parents.”

On the flip side of the coin, however, “Life Unexpected” also explore how different things are today for individuals in their thirties than they were when, say, “thirtysomething” was on.

“In our parents’ generation, maybe thirtysomething means maybe 401(k) plans and mortgages and suburbs and dogs,” Tigelaar said. “And for me – and maybe some other people – thirtysomething can mean a person who really has prioritized their professional life over relationships or whatever. Or a guy who still lives like a frat guy and lives with his buddies and plays video games and drinks Coors Light. So what happens when you make it a coming-of-age story, instead of the one person who is the age of a person that would need to grow up, the grownups are the people that need to come of age, and Lux is the catalyst for them to do that. I think that was the impetus of the idea.”

The thing that I love about the show so much – and the CW has been so great and really believing in these characters – is that all these characters get to be flawed, damaged, real people who grapple and struggle, and things aren’t easy and they don’t do things right,” she explained. “They often do the right things for the wrong reasons and the wrong things for the right reasons…and it’s kind of fun to live in that world every day.”

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