So what did Comic-Con think of Dredd, Arrow + 4 more sci-fi pilots?

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Dec 17, 2012

San Diego Comic-Con is officially underway, but festivities actually kicked off last night with a slate of pilot previews and early exhibits—so what's some of the buzz coming out of Day 1 for some of the hot fall TV pilots, plus the big-screen debut of the Dredd reboot?

Some projects gathered steam, while others missed the mark with the fans eager for a peek at what's coming down the pike this fall.

Here is what the fans and critics are saying about some of the hottest sci-fi projects in the works:

Everyone thinks Dredd rocks

To say that the world premiere of the Judge Dredd adaptation was well-received would be an understatement. Buzz is sky-high coming out of the Comic-Con premiere, as it opened to cheers from those in attendance.

Ain't It Cool News said the flick definitely lives up to its gory billing:

"From a filmmaking standpoint this film also gets high marks. It doesn't shy away from the exploitation elements at all, but it also treats them with respect. It might revel a bit in the violence, but it's all for an overall tone and feel that is somewhere on the right side of the Punisher: War Zone-esque guilty pleasure line. It's a pleasure-pleasure movie, not a guilty-pleasure movie. There are some really thoughout character beats here, so it's not a hollow exercise in violence."

Total Film was also a big fan, adding in their review:

Urban certainly has the downturned mouth and super-cool, gravelly delivery to pull off Dredd's nonchalance but he's aided by Garland's smart, fast script, a relentless flow of Rorschach Test blood sprays from bone-shattering brutality, eye-poppingly beautiful 3D visuals and peppy banter with Thirlby.

The CW's Arrow has a lot of potential

The CW is following up the success of Smallville with a darker, grittier superhero series in Arrow, based on DC's Green Arrow. Judging by the reception, it seems fans and critics alike want to see more.

Bleeding Cool had this to say about the premiere episode:

"Arrow is in many ways the classic - and yes, for that you can read predictable—superhero show. It ran along the lines of Smallville or The Cape, in that the characters pretty much said and did exactly what I expected, and I wanted to like it but couldn't really get into it. At least not yet. I'd give it a few more episodes, though."
Fans, chiming in via Twitter, had a bit more positive spin. Claire Weston said: "Arrow is amazing, gunna be watching that show in the fall!;" while Dylan Henning noted it "felt like a continuation of Smallville, only darker."

666 Park Avenue is interesting, but is that enough?

The pilot for the spooky new ABC series screened for fans, and according to Entertainment Weekly, folks seemed to like the actors involved, including Lost's Terry O'Quinn, but the actual concept was met with a general "meh" from some attendees. As attendee Ritchie put it:

"I liked Terry O'Quinn. It wasn't really that frightening, [but] there were definitely things [in the pilot] that I want to find out more about, and hopefully I'll watch the rest of it."

Shock Till You Drop seemed to like the pilot, especially how quickly things seemed to happen:
"666 Park Avenue is better than a lot of the other supernatural horror thrillers of late. It pulled me in within the first few minutes and left me anxious to see the next episode. A lot of similar shows have barely started finding their footing by the fifth or sixth episode. So, it's nice to see that this one isn't wasting time."

The Following looks like a creepy good time

Starring Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy, Fox's serial killer hunt was a hit with those who watched the pilot.

According to Entertainment Weekly, one fan polled from the crowd compared the series to the late-1990s cult classic MIllennium:

"Out of the three things I saw [666 Park Ave, Arrow, and The Following] it was the best one. Yes it's the 'serial killer as superman,' it's not realistic, but it's going to be a good show."
The folks at Bleeding Cool really enjoyed it, calling it a smart show that should appeal to literary buffs:
If I were in the habit of liking serial killers, the ones I would like most would be ones with literary quirks. What I mean to say is, The Following had me at 'Poe'. And it kept me with good characters and a premise that appears unexpectedly sustainable.

Did J.J. Abrams strike Lost gold with Revolution?

One of the most interesting new series coming out this fall is the post-apocalyptic drama Revolution, from J.J. Abrams. The show is set in a world without electricity, and seems to have all those Abrams' conspiracy hallmarks that keep fans coming back. But the critics were not very amused. says the pilot was high on concept, but low on character-building:

"The mystery of the blackout and the strange zip-drives, that's the pull. The tyrannical militia and its seemingly endless reach, that's what's interesting. The aesthetics, icing on the cake. But the fact is, a good story cannot become great without full characters. And unfortunately, Revolution has churned all of its power into the world and its puzzles, leaving the people we're supposed to care about drained of battery."

Bleeding Cool left the screening disappointed, saying:

Maybe it was the comparison to other, harder-hitting pilots of the evening, but Revolution seemed to me to lack some quality of grit or groundedness that I crave in a post-apocalyptic world. Everything seemed a tad contrived - how aesthetically convenient it was that all those car lights went off in a nice visual sequence, and hey, look how we repurposed this car as a planter!

Cult may be a quirky mess

A lot of folks had high hopes for The CW's Cult, which follows some mysteries behind-the-scenes of a cult fave TV series. But, according to those who saw the pilot, the meta-fun might not be enough to rope us in.

Bleeding Cool called it quirky, but not too compelling:

"Taken on its own as much as it could be, it's a nice enough show - nothing particularly compelling, nothing particularly disappointing. With it's layers of mystery, the show might strike a chord with those who are fond of never quite knowing the full story and who like a huge cliffhanger every few weeks, at least."

But, it gives us hope that absolutely loved the pilot, saying:

Cult answers the question many of us have when we love a series: what would it be like to live in that world? Of course, most of us probably didn't count on the answer being "become embroiled in a conspiracy and possibly die." We didn't want to get that far into the show. But in the case of Cult, it's too late. We gave in. We're in it. And this show isn't about the let us go.

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