ABC has picked up four drama pilots with a wide variety of subject matter ranging from an Old West project based on a Disneyland ride to a mother-daughter amateur detective dramedy from Ryan Reynolds. There’s also a drama that seems to share some concepts in common with Once Upon a Time, ABC's fantasy series that draws its characters from fairy tales.
First, Pirates of the Caribbean became a hugely successful movie franchise and now another Disney theme park ride is hoping for similar success, but on the small screen. This time it’s the Big Thunder Mountain ride, which is the basis for Big Thunder from writers Jason Fuchs and Chris Morgan. The plot will follow a Western mining town struck by a natural disaster.
ABC has also ordered a pilot for Gothica, a series that follows story characters much like Once Upon a Time, but this project will come less from fairy tale and more from dark, Gothic literature. Characters like Jekyll and Hyde, Dracula, Frankenstein (who actually has made an appearance in Once) and Dorian Gray are among the legendary figures the series will explore. This one is written by Mark Lopez and also bears some similarity to Showtime’s new series Penny Dreadful, as Deadline notes.
Next up on the ABC pilot list is Murder in Manhattan, the mother-daughter sleuth dramedy from Ryan Reynolds and Allen Loeb’s DarkFire TV. This one sounds like a modern Nancy Drew, only with the amateur investigator’s mom tagging along for the ride. As the uninspired title suggests, this one takes place in New York City and will follow the two ladies as they do some investigating into (and I’m guessing based on the title here) the city’s murder cases.
Finally, we have Reckless which comes from Mad Men co-executive producer Chris Black. This one is about a man whose wife is unjustly imprisoned overseas in a political uprising, and he finds himself embroiled in a dangerous world as he attempts to free her.
It’s an interesting and varied group of shows. I have to say the second foray into a literary character-based show is a surprising one; ABC might be better off putting more effort into the one they already have.