We stand by our choices, and odds are you will too once you see them below…
5. Heat Vision and Jack
Just because this is the most well known entry, doesn’t make it any less wonderful. Long before Dan Harmon created the utterly sublime Community, and a moment before Jack Black and Owen Wilson became household names, the world was given a single episode of Heat Vision and Jack directed by Benjamin Zoolander. I can somewhat understand why Fox passed on it, but it has to be said that this kind of thing is perfectly suited to damn near everything currently airing on Adult Swim. Give or take a dearly departed Timecop star.
I’m not quite sure how this thing found its way to the web in a pre-YouTube world, but awareness eventually boiled high enough to stir up talks of a now-forgotten movie deal. Even if you don’t watch the whole things, I implore you to watch the 1st portion of the episode, if only for Stiller’s intro and the opening credits. Amazing.
If you’re not a Mr. Show fan, then your opinion simply doesn’t matter. I’m sorry, I don’t make the rules, it’s just a natural truth. The mid-90s sketch HBO comedy show essentially changed and sculpted my world and comedic outlook, and I know I’m not alone. However, I bet most of you didn’t know that Bob Odenkirk embarked on a incredibly similar show with virtually the same cast, save for David Cross. Oh, and a theme song from The Strokes?
It’s a lot like Mr. Show, actually. Funny, albeit with it’s edge slightly dulled to make network air. To compensate for that, at least you can see a couple of amazing comics before they were Big Time. Patton Oswalt, Nick Swardson, Free Armisen, and Zach Galifianakis all receive bit parts in this sketch comedy series that wasn’t meant to be.
Just before Conan O’Brien landed his late night gig, he produced this rather amazing unaired pilot with Robert “Triumph the Insult Comic Dog” Smigel somewhere in between writing duties on SNL and The Simpsons. To call it “ahead of its time” is an absolute undersell. It’s hilarious, absurd, and stars a man more famous for being himself than fucking Batman. Although Adam West is a bit too old now, I would love to see this show go back into production with the exact same early-90s setting and production values. I’m talking horrific video tape and a 4:3 fullscreen presentation. Perhaps that’s my personal nostalgia, or maybe I’m just that committed to Lookwell getting the shot it deserved.
2. Dog Police
Fucksake, this thing has to be seen to be believed! You’ll think it’s a tongue-in-cheek joke made last year for a Funny or Die (and appearances by Adam Sandler and Jermey Piven would almost corroborate that theory) but goddmaned Dog Police is astounding real and hilariously earnest. A TV show pilot that scrapped the absolute bottom of the barrel of original ideas. They’re dogs. They’re from space. They’re psychic. They’re cops. They’re divorced? Please enjoy eight whole minutes of WTF sizzle!
NEW DEVELOPMENT! Dog Police is understandably hard to research, largely due to the fact that everyone involved would understandably prefer to forget it ever happened. I had just assumed Dog Police sprung from the brain of a couple of cynical network executives completely devoid of ideas, but John Spezzano tweeted me this music video that would seem to imply that the show is actually based on a fucking song?! I could be wrong, but the “makeup,” if you could call it that, is clearly different, somewhat more respectable, than that of the TV show. Keeping in mind the nature of horrible 80s music, it’s totally feasible that some idiot heard the song and became inspired to bring it to series with a significant drop in production value.
Wow… I love the internet
1. 17 Precinct
Strangely enough, this is the funniest of our list of unaired TV shows. It’s also the most expensive, which is unbelievable given the flat-out ridiculousness of its premise: Wizard Cops. Ron Moore brought a large portion of the Battlestar Galactica cast to sincerely and straight-facedly do and say the most outlandish things you’ve ever seen in a world where “science had never been invented.” Special thanks to the secret man who provided us with a studio copy of this magical pilot. We’ve all watched it several times and each viewing reveals something new to laugh uproariously at.
Now you’ve seen it for yourself. Imagine how much more you’ll love the Laser Time episode during your second listen!