‘Mockingbird Lane’ Pilot Airs Alone
Published: Monday, October 15, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 15, 2012 16:10
This is a bit of an odd one. NBC's dramatic re-imagining of The Munsters, a kitschy 60s sitcom about a group of universal monsters living in the suburbs, will make it to television after all, despite the network hinting otherwise.
Mockingbird Lane is the name of the pilot for a darker, more dramatic take on the Munster family. At first glance, that sounds like just about the worst, most unbearable thing that could be put on television (at least it did, before Beauty and the Beast and The Mob Doctor). However, the project has a surprising amount of talent behind it.
Bryan Fuller, creator of HBO’s Dead Like Me and the absolutely fantastic Pushing Daisies, was brought on to script the pilot while Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X2: X-Men United) was brought on to direct. Meanwhile, the cast includes some pretty hefty names including Jerry O’Connell, Portia De Rossi and Eddie Izzard. The pilot was also quite expensive, costing NBC about $10 million to produce.
The network didn’t seem entirely thrilled with the resulting pilot, and began hinting recently that they were not considering picking the pilot up for a full series. However, The Hollywood Reporter is now saying that it seems NBC will be airing the pilot by itself as a Halloween special.
It’s very unusual for any network to publicly air a pilot without some sort prescheduled episode commitment. It’s likely that this is an attempt on the part of the studio to make back at least a portion of that $10 million budget that would otherwise be totally lost, while giving audiences a chance to react to the show and see if maybe -- just maybe -- Mockingbird Lane is something worth pursuing.
It seems that part of NBC’s issue with the pilot stems from Fuller and Singer being unable to agree as to the tone of their take on the franchise. This was aggravated by Fuller’s commitment to Hannibal, the network’s TV prequel series based on Hannibal Lecter (which actually is getting a full, 13 episode commitment). Because of his work on that series, Fuller was apparently unable to make necessary changes to the Mockingbird Lane script and the pilot came in “below the network’s expectations.”
If ratings are high enough, it’s entirely possible that Mockingbird Lane may be blown out into a full series some time in the future. We won’t know if it’s actually worthy of becoming a full show until the pilot airs.
While no airdate has been confirmed, one would assume that a Halloween special would air sometime this month.