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May 28 2010

Pilots that never made it to air - guess which Whedon show features? Surprisingly not Buffy.

The original Dollhouse pilot is actually something I'd watch more than once, it's so interesting.
Not so surprising that it's not Buffy, because Buffy's pilot was aired essentially intact and was merely re-shot with some changes, not scrapped altogether. Therefore it wouldn't really qualify. It's a very common practice to re-shoot a pilot with minor changes, and most "unaired pilots" are really just variations on the aired version. Dollhouse, on the other hand, was completely scrapped, story changed, and started anew. Unfortunately.
Am I alone in finding the grounds for inclusion in this list confusing/inconsistent?
I had a hard time watching the original Dollhouse pilot because I thought everything about it was better than most of Season 1. Like, legit one of Joss' best episodes of television. Dollhouse reached some great places, but I can't help but wonder...
What a shame. I was looking forward to Martin Freeman as Sherlock. I read about it a while back and it looked good. I hope it leaks.

I really liked the Dollhouse pilot. and I remember the pilot of Being Human, which I loved, more than the series.
For some reason that James Gunn/Joss Whedon '90s sitcom idea flashed before my eyes when I saw that headline. But I don't think that ever got filmed.
They're definetly missing the great Bryan Fuller crafted Screw-On Head pilot. At least it's on dvd.
I had no idea Blackadder had an unaired pilot. Wish they'd put it on the dvd collection. I'd really like to see it! And I'm really glad that Dollhouse did put Echo on the dvd set. Best extra ever.

Frankly, I think it was a bit too fast - reveals came (who is a doll) before they really had any impact (we don't really know these characters yet, having just met them). I wish they had kept the same general storyline from it, and done something between Echo and the "six pilots" approach. Ballard's obsession over Caroline made a LOT more sense in the unaired version.

I'd be curious about a longer list of unaired pilots. Also, since so many pilots are filmed and then never aired, why can't they release them? At least make back some of the expense? I'm sure there are many great sci-fi pilots out there that never got to series that would be worth watching on their own. I'm glad we got Virtuality's pilot (as a tv-movie), and that we got Mulholland Drive (as a movie), but I'm sure there is more great stuff out there sitting in a network's vault.

Edit: never heard of Screw-on Head, and I loved Bryan Fuller's other work (particularly Pushing Daisies and Wonderfalls). I'll have to check it out, glad to see it's one of the few that got released.

[ edited by AnotherFireflyfan on 2010-05-28 20:57 ]
The famous "unaired Buffy pilot" was not really a pilot as such, and therefore doesn't qualify. It was a half-hour promotional video made by Joss to sell the show to networks. It would have had to be reshot even if they hadn't recast Willow.
Interestingly Whedonverse must have the most varied cases of "scrapped pilots". I just don't get ZodKneelFirst about suprisingly not being Buffy.

Both Buffy and Angel had what can be called presentations, which are not really intended to be pilots, however due to length of Buffy's one (I believe it's around 20 minutes long), a lot of people mistaken that for the pilot, as it tell in very broad strokes the same story shown in Welcome to the Hellmouth+The Harvest, without Angel and without Alyson Hannigan playing Willow.
Buffy's one was never supposed to be leaked to the public, that's the reason Joss never included that in the DVD collections. Although bootlegged copies can be easily found with a simple internet search.

However the more polished 5-minute presentation of Angel, it's actually included in the Angel DVD sets. If you haven't seen it it's the 5 minute presentation that has Doyle and Angel talking, Cordy organizing the office and some of posed shots that were used in early promotion and if I'm not mistaken was shown during The WB upfronts back in May 1999.

On a similar note, there's the presentation produced for the Buffy Animated that was leaked last year. It's bummer that they never went ahead with that.

Firefly and Dollhouse are two completely different cases.

Serenity (the pilot, not the movie) was scrapped as the 1st episode by the network, but the DVD release returned its pilot status. However with changes, the earliest scrapped version of Serenity, didn't had the initial Serenity valley defeat scene and there were a few other tweaks (some of the cut scenes can even be found as extras in the DVD set). I do have a bootlegged copy of this original version of Serenity that I obtained way before the DVDs were released, I don't know how hard it would be try finding it online if someone is really curious to check it out.

Dollhouse has the only really completely scrapped pilot episode in the whole Whedonverse history. Echo was stripped down and sequences were cut and inserted throughout several episodes during early Season 1 and also in Epitaph 1 and several other parts were completely trashed, including sequences that were heavily featured in the early promos Fox released for the show.
The article seems a bit lazy. "Here's a few undeveloped tell me the rest!"
That article says the unaired Black Adder was "set in Elizabethan times". Surely one of the main characters being a King would suggest that was not the case? Unless he was actually King Elizabeth....
Numfar PTB I know for a fact that the original version of "Serenity" was 'findable' as recently as last year.
racheltng & Numfar are correct. Buffy didn't have a pilot. It had a "pilot-presentation" which is usually about 1/2 the length or less of an actual episode. These presentations are usually done when a network likes the show idea, but can't see investing in a full pilot (they are expensive - much more than a regular episode). So they ask for a very condensed version which will get fleshed out if the show gets picked up.
I don't see why the article was problematic Ashley, it's not really unheard of so they can't really list out every single one. (I remember seeing a Mary Tyler Moore one within the last decade where she played a mayor or something in a city flooded by corpses and caskets?)

I assume these were all just relatively high profile ones that involve people their demographic might care about. (Like whatever happened to that Mr. and Mrs. Smith TV show?) That said, I'm a little bit bummed out about the modern day Sherlock Holmes thing even if it is going to mini-series since I was intrigued by the casting.

Also, why exactly are pilots more expensive than regular episodes? Does that mean in terms of all that overhead that comes from a new production (and/or location shooting since they won't have sets of their own yet). Is there some sort of implied stipulation or suggestion that more money must be spent on the first episode to draw audiences in and then the show can downgrade to whatever their normal budget would be?
AnotherFireflyfan, I totally agree on releasing pilots in some way or form, especially with all the digital possibilities available today. Had no idea Mulholland Drive was originally planned to be a series!

zz9, many of my friends are kings, but only a few of them are transvestites?

And now, of course, I want to see all of them!

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