The Best Pilots of 2019–2020 TV Season, Judging Entirely by the Titles

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Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images; JB Lacroix/WireImage; Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

A title can make or break a TV show — just ask Cougar Town star Courteney Cox.

So we combed through the list of new drama and comedy pilots under consideration for the 2019–2020 season at ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and The CW, and we made reckless snap judgments based on the titles — only later reading up on, you know, what these shows are actually about. And yes, we judge books by their covers, too.


Remember when everyone wanted the next Lost and so all of a sudden we had sci-fi mysteries on TV with names like Surface and Threshold? That’s what this ABC drama reminds us of, and we just knew it would be a time-distorting drama about the Bermuda Triangle.


We’re suckers for a good pun, so this title immediately tickled our fancy. Turns out, it’s an ABC multi-camera comedy pilot executive-produced by Kerry Washington and starring Hamilton’s Leslie Odom Jr., who plays one half of a couple who run a modern ministry.

Leslie Odom Jr. (Andrew Toth/Getty Images)

The Unicorn

Just the mere mention of a unicorn is enough for us to program our DVRs. Unfortunately, though, the logline for this CBS comedy pilot makes no mention of mythical beasts — just a widower who finds himself a “hot commodity” on the dating scene.


There’s a specific schadenfreude to the idea of a 1-percenter becoming one of us 99-percenters, so this title whetted our appetites. Jane the Virgin’s Jaime Camil and NCIS’ Pauley Perrette stars in this CBS comedy pilot about a trust fund baby suddenly cut off from his family’s wealth.


Sometimes a TV show title is so literal, it’s brilliant. Here’s a courthouse, and here are the judges, district attorneys, public defenders, bailiffs, clerks, cops, and jurors inside. This CBS drama pilot just puts it all on the tin.

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The Lost Boys

No matter what you think of the trend of television reboots and revivals, at least you know exactly what to expect when you hear familiar titles. In this case, we know this CW drama pilot from Catherine Hardwicke will deliver young vampire hunters — including Teen Wolf‘s Tyler Posey — tracking down the beautiful undead in the seaside town of Santa Carla.

Tyler Posey(Leon Bennett/FilmMagic)