I recently decided that my five-star rating system, while great for hard and fast final judgment, is a bit too restrictive when it comes to grading the specifics of premise, execution, performance, and potential for TV pilots as I've been doing for the last couple weeks. So I've switched over to a letter grading system and gone back and edited my pilot reviews accordingly.
You know from school how letter grading works, but just to clarify my own scale:
An F signifies not only failure but horrifying and incomprehensible failure, and is so rare that it might as well be a Horseman of the Apocalypse. Even Whitney didn't get any Fs, and that's a show I described as failing to improve on staring at an off television.
D- to D+ indicate abject failure, albeit at slightly varying ranges.
C- to C+ scores are for the clearly flawed but not wholly devoid of merit. A show that I thought had good aspects can have a C-range score in a certain category; such as Prime Suspect, which was a decent cop show but got a C+ in premise for being kind of just another cop show, and Terra Nova, which got a C in performance for generally bland acting.
B- to B+ are for what I feel I can start to describe as "good" without grimacing, especially once you get up into the plus range. They have to be earned, but I'm not too stingy: eight of the twelve pilots I've reviewed so far have a B-range score in at least one category.
A- to A+ are for the awesome. An A+ in particular is just as rare as an F.
So that's that. I'm just a little bit behind on my pilot discussion, but over the next week I'll try to catch up with reviews of Pan Am, Charlie's Angels, Person of Interest, A Gifted Man, Hart of Dixie, Suburgatory, and Homeland, in more or less that order.