It is generally estimated that each season, over 500 ideas for new TV series get pitched to the executives of the major American networks, with only 20 receiving the greenlight for the filming of a pilot episode. Of these, perhaps eight will result in the production of a series, with no more than one or two surviving to a second season or better.

It’s a miracle, really, how so much crap still makes it onto the air.

As this brief outline makes clear, there are a variety of fates that might befall a pilot episode. It might air as is, the lead-in for the series to follow; it might be re-tooled, sending the series into a direction different from that initially conceived; it might be re-cut into a made-for-TV movie, as a way of recouping costs (or, in the case of Mulholland Drive, as a way for its director to score a Best Director win at Cannes and an Academy Award nomination while making the ABC executives look more than ordinarily foolish); or it might end up simply as filler, offering bewildered viewers a tantalising glimpse into the might-have-been…and the what-the-hell-were-they-thinking!?

So join us as we take a look at some of the pilots that made it – and others that never stood a chance.

It’s TO BE OR NOT TO BE – all through May at the B-Masters’ blog!