Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Great Lost/Unaired TV Pilots

This week, Sarah Silverman uploaded her NBC pilot, Susan: 313, onto YouTube. It wasn't picked up for reasons that became pretty obvious pretty quickly, but it reminded me about how YouTube and the internet in general has resurrected a lot of these old, leaked pilots and allowed us to see the beginnings of some of our favorite shows, and some shows that never actually got to happen. I figure now's as good a time as any, with the Silverman release, to take a look at a few of them.

Heat Vision and Jack is probably the Holy Grail of unaired television pilots. Created by Ben Stiller, it involved a pre-fame Jack Black as Jack, and his friend-turned-into-a-motorcycle Heat Vision, played by Owen Wilson. Keep your eyes peeled for Ron Silver as the bad guy, as well.

Honestly, I see why this didn't get picked up, but it doesn't mean that this wouldn't fit in well in some sort of Adult Swim block today. This is certainly never, ever going to happen, but this is worth taking a look at anyway.

It's weird to watch the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer pilot with a totally different Willow and a slightly different character for Xander. It's kind of odd that it got picked up even after this (and let's not forget that the first season wasn't great shakes anyway), but in terms of a bit of a historical document of one of the more significant shows of the last few decades.

The IT Crowd (US Pilot) by FreakStyler

I haven't watched the original IT Crowd, but given the success of The Office in the United States, I suppose it was no surprise that they tried to strike gold again with Americanizing this show. The Chris O'Dowd character is played by America's favorite snark factory, Joel McHale, and, well, this feels soulless and empty and I'm glad it didn't actually happen.

There are a few interesting Family Guy pilots floating around YouTube, but this one happens to be my favorite. It's interesting to see what Seth McFarlane was originally trying to do, and how it eventually morphed into what it became in 2000, and what it is now. Again, I'm not too surprised this didn't get expanded out, and regardless of how you feel about Family Guy as a show, you have to admit that the current version works better, but this is still an interesting relic.

Finally, an oldie but a goodie. I'm actually surprised The Elvira Show didn't get picked up, and I've never found much information as to why that was so. She was coming off of her movie at the time, and the only reason I can think of that this didn't get scooped is that it feels more dated than it is. Coming around in 1993, you could have convinced me this was made in 1973.

Still, I laugh a bit at this pilot, and, as a fan of the weird b-movie-type stuff, I wish there was more of this to go around. Alas, Elvira went back into her niche, and we probably ended up with another Law and Order instead.

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