TV Pilots: Comedy Edition


NJAM gets crazy into TV Pilots…again! Join TimmieRyan  and Mike as they discuss some of their favorite comedy pilots both old and new.  How do comedy pilots compare to drama pilots?  Are sitcoms actually still recording in front of a live studio audience?  Tune in to find out.

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I. Intro 

A. We’re Back!

B.  Pilots Are Still Intriguing

C. Do You Remember Pilots You Haven’t Seen In A While?

II. What We Watched [00:05:23]

A.  Mostly Modern Single Camera Sitcoms

  • 30 Rock, Community, Parks and Rec, Rick and Morty, The Office, Louie, Always Sunny, Arrested Development, Episodes, Mozart in the Jungle, Big Bang Theory, Party Down, New Girl, Silicon Valley, How I Met Your Mother, Love, The Mindy Project, Transparent, Veep, Master of None, Futurama, Family Guy, Sex and the City, Everybody Loves Raymond, Frasier, Bojack Horseman, Animaniacs, Pee Wee’s Playhouse, Cheers, Taxi, The Wonder Years, Mary Tyler Moore Show 

B.  Do These Pilots Match the Rest of the Series?

III. How Do Comedy Pilots Compare To Drama? [00:13:23]

A. Some Structural & Technical Differences

  • 22-30 minutes for most sitcoms
  • Usually 2-3 acts, with an opening “teaser” and closing “tag”
  • How are laugh tracks still a thing?

B. Audience Expects Some Laughs

C. Comedy Is Drama Told In A Funny Tone

IV. Elements of A Good “Comedy” Pilot [00:26:00]

A. Establishes the location, style, tone, and rules of the world

B. Original Premise or New Spin on Old Premise

C. Complex Characters You Want to Watch

D. Engaging Plot

E. Balances Specificity with Broader Appeal

F. Intriguing, Has a Hook

  • A different kind of hook from drama cliffhangers

G. Leaves You Wanting More…of the Same

H. Tells a Complete Story

I.  Has Something to Say

V. Mini Segments [00:58:08]

A. Some Differences in Pilot Script vs. What Actually Aired

B. Pilot Nostalgia

C.  NJAM Sees It: The Neon Demon (2016)

VI. Conclusions [01:08:15]

A. Related Links

Original Music

The music found in this episode was written and performed by the talented Jesse James.

Audio Editing

This show was edited by Ryan Jacobi.

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