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5 pilots (and one returning show) you can stream before they're on TV

Susie Ochs | Sept. 16, 2013
The return of Mindy Kaling's hilarious sitcom is streaming now, plus a crop of new pilots with familiar premises.

The fall TV season starts soon, and you can be forgiven for having a little deja vu. When we went looking for pilots and season premieres streaming early online, we found a good handful on the networks' websites and apps, not to mention good old Hulu. But even the brand-new series feel awfully familiar—from straight-up remakes to "homages" that just feel like remakes. Still, familiar isn't necessarily bad, and these shows are pretty darn entertaining.

All of these streaming previews are only available for a limited time, so check them out soon to decide if you'll want to add the shows to your Hulu queue...or just seek out the source material for a dose of nostalgia.

Ironside stars Blair Underwood as a cop in a wheelchair. This might sound like a fake show they'd watch in another show (like Night Boat, the Knight Rider ripoff adored by the Simpsons), until you find out it's actually a remake of a detective show starring Raymond Burr that also ran on NBC from 1967 to 1975.

While there was some controversy over casting the able-bodied Underwood as the paraplegic detective Robert T. Ironside, the pilot does use some flashbacks to before his injury, to show that his tough-guy, whatever-it-takes policing strategy hasn't changed much in the two years he's been confined to his wheelchair. The scene that shows Ironside being shot is the most suspenseful, dramatic part of the pilot—even though you know it's coming and I haven't spoiled anything by telling you it happens—and Underwood acts it well. The good-looking team of plainclothes police around him shines too, especially Pablo Schreiber (who also played Nick Sobotka from The Wire and Pornstache in Orange Is the New Black) as the loose cannon Virgil. Sprinkled liberally with overemotional speeches, the pilot makes Ironside seem like just another police show—but it could be a good one.

Ironside premieres on October 2 on NBC. You can watch the pilot now in the NBC app for iOS, as well as on and Hulu. It's also a free download on iTunes.

Welcome to the Family
Start with a little Modern Family and add a dash of Raising Hope and the resulting milkshake might taste a little like this. Welcome to the Family is about the Yoder family's underachieving daughter, Molly, who is graduating high school (but just barely) to the delight of her parents, who can't wait for their nest to empty. Molly is secretly dating the Stanford-bound Junior Hernandez, a Latino overachiever who made valedictorian at another school. On their shared graduation day, Molly announces she's pregnant, and all hell breaks loose—with comedic results. Now both kids are skipping college and getting married, blending their reluctant families forever.


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