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Did you see the Pilot for “The Robinsons: Lost in Space”?

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In 2004, WB produced a pilot for a reboot of the classic TV series, “Lost in Space”. In this updated version, Brad Johnson was cast John Robinson, Jayne Brook as Maureen Robinson, Adrianne Palicki as Judy Robinson, Ryan Malgarini as Will Robinson, and Mike Erwin as Don West. Sadly the pilot did not have a Dr. Smith (although it did have a robot).

I did not see the pilot back in 2004, but I watched it last night online and it is not bad. Although it lacks the vibe of the original show, it has some potential. Perhaps the show might have had more success if they had not connected the show to the original show and just created a new show that was about a family traveling in space. Comparisons can do a lot of harm.

You can judge for yourself, the entire pilot has been posted online.

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The Coneheads Animated Special (1983)

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First of all I want to give a big thanks to fellow Retroist writer Daniel XIII for taking a moment to cease consuming mass quantities to give me the heads up on this Rankin and Bass 1983 animated special. Until the Ouija Board Kid pointed it out to me I can honestly say I never knew this special even existed!

The Special features all three original Saturday Night Live actors voicing the characters they made popular back in 1977, with Dan Aykroyd playing Beldar, Jane Curtain as Prymaat, and Laraine Newman as Connie. The Coneheads animated special was in fact a pilot episode that was passed on, seems like it was intended for a prime time audience judging by the humor.

So was I just locked in a closet when this special aired? Does anyone else remember watching it back in the day?

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Crashed Pilots: Revenge of the Nerds TV Series

It’s been quite a while now since I did one of these, it’s just hard to get motivated to sit down and watch something, while taking screen-caps, and then write-up some big article on it. This one shifts away from the pattern of my previous Crashed Pilots posts in that it’s about a live-action pilot.

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Yes, that’s right. Revenge of the Nerds almost had its own TV series. Fox aired this pilot episode back in 1991 but dumped the idea when the reviews were too negative, the episode is currently available on the “Panty Raid Edition” DVD of the original movie.

This pilot only features four of the original nerds. They did a decent job of casting most of those, but you’d never guess that the blonde one was supposed to be Booger.

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I think part of the reason the pilot failed is because it was so similar to the original movie, it didn’t offer the viewers anything new (except a laugh track). It’s simply an exact, though somewhat abbreviated version of the first part of the original movie, ending just after they take revenge for the bricks being thrown through the windows. Instead of hooking up the nudie cams like in the movie, they get their revenge in this pilot with an electronic muscle contracting exercise device.

On the jocks’ side, they did keep Ogre (with an actor who does look the part), and Stan. There is a cheerleader who is probably Betty, but she isn’t named in this pilot.

It looks like this series would have been an alternate universe version of the Revenge of the Nerds story, but I think it would have been more successful if it had picked up where the movie left off, or perhaps focus on some entirely new group of nerds. It really wasn’t bad, it’s just that you spend half the episode trying to figure out which characters are new & which ones are supposed to be old returning ones, and the other half waiting for something new to happen. If they had a few episodes instead of just the one, they might have been able to take it far enough in another direction that it would have drawn an audience.

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Crashed Pilots: Wacky Races Forever

It’s been a while since my last one of these. Hopefully this one will be more popular than my previous one. Now, without further ado, let me introduce you to

Back in 2006, Cartoon Network got a pilot for a spinoff of the classic Wacky Races series, titled “Wacky Races Forver”. This series is set an unknown length of time after the original (but at least 16 years, since children of the original racers are now racing themselves). Penelope Pitstop and Peter Perfect married and created “Perfect Industries”, which sponsors the new races, and apparently produces insane creations.

Their children, Parker (brother) and Piper (sister) now race against Prof Pat Pending, the Slag Brothers, a new Gruesome Twosome (with a hot little vampire chick), and Dick Dastardly and Muttley.

While they are nominally competing against everyone, they are primarily competing against each other, their sibling rivalry is quite high.

Dastardly is still up to his old tricks, but now he is working for some greater evil person, one who is trying to take over Perfect Industries.

This pilot is unfortunately short (it doesn’t even have a title card nor credits), but it seems that this series would have had much more plot than the original, and no narrator.

It’s key plot point is a Perfect Industries product, a bridge made out of snakes. Yes, you read me correctly, a bridge made out of snakes. No, this bridge was not designed by Dick Dastardly, it was actually created by Peter Perfect. Go Fig.

…And now, I leave you with this image:

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Crashed Pilots: Doozy Bots

Some might not consider today’s entry to be a “true” pilot since there was never a full episode made, all that exists is a four minute trailer. Still, I found the whole thing intriguing enough to make it the focus of today’s “Crashed Pilots” entry.

Back in 1991, Sunrise decided to try bringing the Gundam franchise to US TV in the form of a cartoon called ….wait for it…. “Doozy Bots”! Most people who’ve seen the trailer for this show rag on it like there’s no tomorrow. It can’t be denied that this wasn’t any high-quality, cerebral adventure, I think it looks like it would have been a fun, screwball kind of series. As long as it didn’t take itself seriously, it could have been very entertaining. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be. Not only are there no full episodes in existance, even the available copies of the trailer are all low quality & over-compressed.

Now, this series was not going to use the full-size Gundam designs, this was going to be based on the SD Gundams. Some of you might remember when some higher quality SD Gundam series aired on Cartoon Network, but those were vastly, VASTLY different from what this would have been.

While normal Gundam were mindless robots with human pilots, and SD Gundam were sentient robots, Doozy Bots actually had human minds teleported into them. Both the good robots & the evil robots were created by this mad scientist guy named Doozy (hence the name of the show), with the evil robots having been created first & then gone haywire, and the good robots created for the purpose of stopping them (shades of Mega Man, anyone?).

The kids who become the minds of the Doozy Bots consist of four stereotyped atheletes (cheerleader, football player, surfer dude, and hockey player), and a dude in a wheelchair. Considering that this last character is not just the only one in less than perfect health, but also the only black character, they should have saved time and just tattooed “token” on his forehead. (He even gets the only Gundam without legs. Adding insult to injury? You decide.)

…Now lets move on to the villains. While the heroe-bots all have big, cutesy eyes, the villain-bots just have sinister black holes in their faces.

…But the yolk’s on them, because these eggheads are totally shell-shocked:

Seriously… This is really how these guys spread themselves. This giant, fire-breathing, robot chicken sucks on powerlines, belches flames, then lays a bunch of eggs, which hatch into more evil bots.

This is actually a reference to Japanese pop culture. They have “gashapon” machines over there, which dispense toys in capsules. The difference between those, and the trinket machines in the entryway of any large store here in the states boils down to target audience. Gashapon toys typicallys cost around $1 (100 yen), are much higher quality than the cheap trinkets we’re used to, are collectible, and are generally intended for older consumers. Due to the squat design of the characters, SD Gundam got their first big break as gashapon toys.

The heroes compat the villains with some very screwy weapons, including bubblegum bombs to (very literally) gum up their guns, tars bombs to really stick it to them, footballs, lassos, and skateboards.

This show would have even had a couple annoying dweebnicks to spice things up:

Unfortunately, that’s about all there is to say about this show. Nobody liked the trailer, nobody picked up the series, and all we’re left with is four minutes of what might have been.

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Crashed Pilots: Bravo!

In 1988, Filmation was sold to the L’oreal company. In 1989, L’oreal closed the studio. At the time of the closure, a spinoff to the Bravestarr series was in the works, one episode of which had been fully animated. This spinoff was originally titled “The Quest of the Prairie People”, then “Bravo!”, then “Bravo!: The Quest of the Prairie People”. While it was never aired, it did make it onto DVD in 2007, as a bonus feature on one of the Bravestarr DVDs.

The connection between Bravo! and Bravestarr is minimal at best, merely the titular Prairie People. The plot has nothing in common, and even the overall atmosphere is different. Bravo! seems intended for a notably younger audience and is very much a comedy, in sharp contrast
to Bravestarr’s focus on action & drama.

The story takes place in a stone-age setting, and feels a lot like The Flintstone Kids. The villains in the story are a group of humanoid plants (mostly cacti), led by a caveman, and the evil weed/mastermind Bitterroot. The heroes are the Prairie People, led by Bravo, a witch, some cavemen, and an oversized (but highly intellectual) blue goat.

As the story begins, the Prairie People have travelled into the past to fight Bitterroot and his Weed Riders. After trouncing their foes, they then meet Goatah and Fossill, who in turn lead them to the witch woman Leedra and the cave people. After a brief interlude where Bitterroot screams at the Weed Riders while some rats play cards, Ruckus leads the Weed Riders to attack the home of the cave people. Ruckus goes and steals the Prairie People’s Trek Ark (a flying car made out of rock), leaving the Weed Riders free to attack. Leedra and Grumpa (the Prairie People’s resident magician) start arguing about the best type of spell to use against their foes, while everyone else simply joins the fray, everyone except the titular Bravo. Bravo runs off to recover the Trek Ark and rescue Teeta (but winds up being rescued by her instead). The two of them return with the Trek Ark and use it’s jet engines (yes, rocks have jets, apparently…) to send the evil weeds flying into a volcano. Meanwhile, Leedra and Grumpa are still arguing about spells and haven’t cast a single one, a fact which doesn’t dawn on them until they hear the others talk about how the fight’s over. They do get to take part in the action though when Bitterroot shows up. Showing that they learned their lesson (at least for now), they both blast him with their magic & send him flying off into the sunset.

It’s unfortunate that the Filmation studio was shut down before this series made it into full production, it looks like it would have been a fun show, perfect for saturday mornings.

Poker, it's not just for dogs anymore!