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Four Vancouver-Shot American TV Pilots to Series – ARROW, CULT, EMILY OWENS M.D. & RED WIDOW – Updated

American TV networks gave series orders to four of the eight pilots filmed this March in Vancouver, starting with The CW’s Arrow, Cult and Emily Owens M.D. (formerly First Cut) and then ABC’s Red Widow (formerly Penoza) in a flurry of announcements this afternoon ahead of next week’s New York upfronts — where networks unveil their fall schedules to advertisers.

If anything can be called a sure thing, The CW pilot Arrow was it. Based on DC Comics The Green Arrow, it stars Stephen Amell in a more Jason Bourne-like and less Smallville-ish production. Like The Dark Knight trilogy’s re-imagined Batman, Arrow’s vigilante superhero fights crime with martial arts and technology plus the special skill of archery. TV sites have been counting down to the Arrow’s expected pickup to series.

Also getting solid buzz but not quite a sure thing was The CW’s meta-pilot Cult starring Matt Davis of The Vampire Diaries as a blogger named Jeff investigating the rabid fans of a cult horror TV show, who have taken the series too literally. It will be a shorter, 13-episode series, leaving room for Davis to return to Mystic Falls if they can figure out how to resurrect him – again.

With The CW pilot Emily Owens M.D. (formerly First Cut), the buzz has been mostly for star Mamie Gummer (Meryl Streep’s daughter), with some who’ve seen it comparing her favourably to Calista Flockhart in her breakout role, Ally McBeal. Gummer’s social nerd and new doctor Emily apparently finds life at Denver Memorial Hospital a lot like high school, where the popular students are people like real-life former model Justin Hartley (the Green Arrow on Smallville) as a surgical intern.

There was some talk that The CW would pick up The-Hunger-Games-meets-The-Bachelor pilot The Selection and the singing in pilot Joey Dakota had some admirers too but the network passed on both (see UPDATE below re The Selection).

Then while people were still scrambling to write about the CW pickups and cancellations (goodbye to Vancouver-shot The Secret Circle), ABC announced some of its owns series orders, including the Vancouver-filmed Russian mob drama Red Widow. Inspired by a popular Dutch TV series, Red Widow is about a mobster’s widow, played by Australian Radha Mitchell, forced to replace her husband as head of a Russian crime syndicate to protect her family. Luke Goss (Hellboy II) plays bodyguard to her mob father Andrei Lazarev, a bodyguard who is then assigned to look after her and the kids. Lee Tergensen (Oz) plays a foot soldier in the crime syndicate.

ABC has not announced a series order for its other Vancouver-shot TV pilot Beauty and the Beast and is not expected to. And earlier today, NBC passed on the Squamish-filmed mystery pilot Midnight Sun, starring Julia Stiles. So four out of eight.

UPDATE: At the New York Upfronts, ABC presented Vancouver-shot Red Widow (formerly Penoza) and provided an official cast photo but I’m not sure where this apparently short eight-episode series is going to land on the ABC schedule yet.

Then in a surprise move, The CW announced the teamup of two of its Vancouver-filmed series on Wednesday nights: the new Arrow at 8 p.m. and a relocated Supernatural at 9 p.m. (moving from Fridays to the more high profile Wednesdays in its eighth season!). Arrow star Stephen Amell and Supernatural star Jensen Ackles posed with their twin hiatus beards at the afterparty to celebrate the pairing of their two kick-ass umbrellas-are-for-sissies shows.

Earlier Amell and co-star Katie Cassidy took to the New York Center stage following  a stunning teaser featuring east Vancouver’s Terminal City Ironworks Complex as derelict Queen Industrial Inc. and a ripped Amell learning how to be a super hero. A photo still  shows grey t-shirted Amell with his bow and arrow.

Later it was Mamie Gummer and Justin Hartley’s turn to introduce their new series, the renamed Emily Owens, M.D. (formerly First Cut), following a teaser of the show. The network released a cast photo too of the hospital drama scheduled to air Tuesdays at 9 p.m.

Next, a bright-red-pants-wearing Matt Davis and co-star Jessica Lucas introduced their mid-season series Cult after a teaser which has not been released publicly yet. I haven’t seen a proper cast photo either but there is a poster of some kind.

The CW president had a few more surprises for the media and advertisers. The Vancouver-shot but passed-over pilot The Selection isn’t dead. Not at all. It’s being redeveloped for a possible mid-season launch. Star Aimee Teegarden stays but a new script is needed that veers away from the source material of the books. So maybe 5 out of 8, up from 4 out of 8.

9 thoughts on “Four Vancouver-Shot American TV Pilots to Series – ARROW, CULT, EMILY OWENS M.D. & RED WIDOW – Updated”

  1. Oh great… another filmed in Vancouver t.v. show? Enough already! How about some filming in Seattle? And why does Vancouver always double for Seattle? Is anything current being filmed in the Emerald City? Time for the city 140 miles south to get some attention too. Contrary to LOCAL belief, Vancouver is NOT the best place in the world for filming, nor the center of the universe.

    BTW, I used to live in Vancouver, so I can have a harsh opinion, besides, before anyone gets foolishly offended, the above comments ARE valid!

    1. Vancouver doubles for Seattle because they are very similar in landscaping. Filming in Vancouver is also cheaper than filming in Seattle. So why film in Seattle when you can film a few KILOMETERS away for nearly the same quality and for less?
      And BTW, Vancouver is the centre of the universe. 😛

      Sincerely, a Vancouverite.

    2. Just because you use to live in Vancouver doesn’t mean that you the right to dump all over it. Vancouver is the best place in the world to live. If Vancouver is not the a good place for filming, then where is? What makes Seatle a better place to film? People don’t have to agree with your comments.

      I agree with Kevin, Vancouver is the center of the universe!

      1. Ever been to Denver? Of course not, cause your opinion would not exist. No one else was offended! Waah! My Mother ( Who LIVES in Vancouver) is right: “Vancouverites have an inferiority complex; they always cry when someone critisises their city!” If you read the post properly, the question was asking why Vancouver always doubles for Seattle, not visa versa. I am aware of LOTS of productions in Seattle. NEXT topic!

  2. One of the things I like about NBC’s Grimm is that it’s filmed in Portland where it’s set. I don’t know why Seattle doesn’t have much filming. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t but there’s not much infrastructure for it as far as I can tell.

    Vancouver has 20 years of it. Ever since The X-Files debuted in 1993. So there are plenty of studios, locations, experienced crews, VFX houses etc. It takes a lot to be a big production centre and I don’t see anything approaching that at the Seattle government film office —

  3. Actually the castle looking house is in Victoria. It is Hatley Castle at Royal Roads U. Also seen as Professor Xavier’s school in the X-men.

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