July 30, 2006

Heat Vision and Jack The full episiode of the unaired 1999 pilot starring Jack Black as an astronaut who gains super intelligence after being "exposed to solar energy" and Owen Wilson as his talking motorcycle, Heat Vision. Ben Stiller directs, introduces, and cameos. Youtube. Previously mentioned here.
  • How is this on Youtube? I thought that they had a 10 minute limit, and that they restricted copyrighted materials. I mean, I'm glad that it is there, because it was funny as hell, but I just don't understand the youtube rules and regulations. Thanks for posting the link, Nickdanger! It really is a pity that this show wasn't picked up, but then, the news that Fox Programming Execs are morons isn't really news.
  • The ways of Youtube are a mystery to us all.
  • Did they get the idea for this from that "They Fight Crime" online random crime-fighting duo generator?
  • I haven't seen that, do you have the link?
  • I was frightened and aroused!
  • It really is a pity that this show wasn't picked up, but then, the news that Fox Programming Execs are morons isn't really news. I don't know. How long could they have kept the quality level up? One season? Half a season? The pilot is funny, but I don't know that my interest could have been sustained over the long term. I just finished watching the much lamented Freaks and Geeks, which I loved, but I found myself glad that there weren't any more episodes past the first 18. They seemed so perfect, and it's far too common for a series that's fantastic in the first season to totally suck in the second (anyone remember Parker Lewis Can't Lose?) Thank god that the internet and dvd can give these shows a second chance independent of the fickle whims of commercial television.
  • Oops, sorry! As a good Monkey, of course I should have linked it. They Fight Crime!
  • I liked the riff on Death Race 2000 in the intro. Um. Maybe my joke and sarcasm detectors are misfiring, but surely this was some manner of joke project and not an actual pilot that Stiller wanted to go into production?
  • According to the wiki, the pilot was commisioned in earnest by Fox, but never picked up.
  • It's not hard to see why. Brilliant though it is, it's hard to imagine that they could have kept up this level of manic energy week after week. Also, the audience for this would be very small since it would go right over the head of the average viewer.
  • I agree with Berek - I doubt this would have made a good series. I really liked it, but I don't know that I would have tuned in every week - the jokes would be too repeditive. Maybe about 4 or 6 episodes would have been plenty to make something funny and satisfying without getting tired - right up to the dramatic confrontation with Ron Silver. But I think that in North America we've gotten too wrapped up in just having long series. There should be a place of television for silly on-off things like this - maybe even about 6 episodes, planned out from beginning to end (so Ron Silver can hunt them down). It would be like a miniseries, but more than just over the top drama. Because there are lots of great stories that aren't suited to being told in a 26 episode, maybe we go on, maybe we don't, format. Establishing viewers might be hard - you would need to do a ton of advertising, and also put the show in a good slot. But if you have a Sunday 8:30 rotating slot of funny mini-comedies, I would tune in each week. The way that BBC radio 4 always has comedy at 6:30, but which comedy they have keeps changing. Or the way that Wonderful World of Disney would show something different every Sunday at 6 - we watched that religiously when I was 8.
  • Or how the BBC will slot a comedy like Black Adder for 9 episodes only. It makes for a higher concentration of quality, and allows for a natural feeling story arc. I wonder if we'll see more of that sort of thing being attempted by American series now that DVD sales can generate a healthy portion of a shows profit?
  • Nickdanger - good example, though Blackadder came out for 4 series of 6 episodes each (with one 15 minute Comedy relief spot, a Christmas special and a millenium special to supplement). I think the BBC has started moving towards 13 episodes from 6 for a standard series (what we in North America would call a season), but they still spend a whole year working to make 13 episodes (eg of Doctor Who), where in North America we would try to make 22 or more.
  • We are weeing some of that with the cable only shows like Nip/Tuck, the Shield, etc.