Our good friend Charlie Jane Anders has listed for Io9.com the "TV Pilots That Are as Good as Most Summer Movies" , in an article that includes a video extract and a comment for each serie.
The fall TV season is beginning, and that means one thing — you're finally going to get to see the TV pilots that the networks have been sweating over for a year. Most of them will totally suck — even if the shows they launch wind up being good. But a few of them will be amazing, full of killer action and interesting characters.
Here is the list of pilots, including two in which Summer Glau played and two series in which she guest starred :
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
When you're making a followup to two of James Cameron's most successful, beloved movies, you kind of need to launch with something that lives up to that huge big-screen feeling. And the pilot for the Sarah Connor Chronicles does not flinch from that challenge. From the opening dream sequence to the first real Terminator attack to the bank-vault standoff, this is a terrific action movie that raises enough questions to keep you guessing. No wonder that it's directed by David "King of Pilots" Nutter.
This is another gimme — "Serenity," the original Firefly pilot, is a great war movie and a great cowboy movie and a terrific space action movie, with so many terrific character moments and enough artful camera work that you really believe that you've lived through the Battle of Serenity and you're now living with Mal on the edges of the system.
This might be the best movie McG ever directed. If you've just watched Terminator Salvation and you're feeling queasy and full of hatred for Mr. Nichol, go ahead and track down a copy of the Chuck pilot — it's a pure slice of comedy action greatness. You'll find yourself remembering that McG also directed the excellent first Charlie's Angels movie, which this pilot is every bit as good as. It's splashy and fun and silly, and the whole ninja fight where Morgan keeps throwing things at the ninja, who deflects them so they hit Chuck, is pure gold. (And then the ninja turns out to be Sarah, who goes on a date with Chuck where she's strapped with every weapon ever invented!)
The Walking Dead
No, not the version that aired — the unaired version. Get the DVD box set and see for yourself. This is Joss Whedon firing on all cylinders, creating a tense thriller about people who have had their personhood stolen away. Whedon sets up Tahmoh Penikett's Agent Ballard as almost a co-protagonist with Eliza Dushku's Echo, and Ballard gets a lot closer to the truth in this version of the opening, making his character a lot less frustrating to watch. Most of all, it's a great, fast-paced exploration of the show's disturbing premise that places the emphasis squarely on the immorality of what the Dollhouse is doing.
What do you think of that list?