The Runway – Your 2017 Pilot Survival Guide: NBC Comedies

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spaced out

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Spaced Out

Logline: Follows a working-class genius and his struggles to fit in with an established team, all made more difficult when their is building a rocket to Mars.
Cast: Brett Goldstein, Miranda Cosgrove, Donald Faison, Ken Kirby, Matt Shively, Christine Woods
Creators: Adam Sztykiel (W / EP), Bill Lawrence (EP), Jeff Ingold (EP), Ruben Fleischer (D)
Studios: Warner Bros TV, Doozer

This pilot comes from the team behind Undateable, a show I never felt got the appreciation it deserved, and was relegated to the Friday graveyard. Anytime a genius is invoked in the logline, my Big Bang Theory spidey sense goes off, but this one takes a slightly different tact, with the genius being a college dropout. Does that work?

We meet Peter Gibbons having a dream about floating in space, facing imminent danger, getting sass from a talking computer. It’s about to be his first day of work at Space One, and he couldn’t be more excited. Female engineer Max takes Peter on a tour, and we get a lot of insight into Peter via voiceover asides, and learn how he got the through a flashback to his interview with Space One founder Leon. Act One ends with Peter introduced as a new manager to the team, a position he wasn’t quite expecting.

Act Two fleshes out the other main leads — Jet Fu (nerdy, but cocky Asian), Casey Panjabi (brilliant, but O.C.D.-sufferer), and Dicky (blue collar manufacturer). Peter’s new is in danger if he doesn’t get everyone on the same page to achieve an engineering breakthrough. After some fighting and a bit of inadvertent bloodshed, it looks like they have a breakthrough. But do they really? If you’ve ever seen a sitcom, you know it’s about the journey, not the result.

Spaced Out has some interesting things going for it — from funny voiceover asides, to elaborate dreams/visions, to a workplace you don’t often see. Just the same, it has some things going against it, including almost every scene taking place in the workplace, making it feel a little confined; some characters coming across as stock (ie the eccentric boss); and this pilot comes from Warner Bros, a studio not named Universal. Spaced Out might need great execution to achieve liftoff.

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