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Top 10 Weirdest TV Pilots

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Andrew Tejada
It’s not too hard to see why these shows never made it past the first episode. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Weirdest TV Pilots. For this list, we're looking at the strangest and most baffling pilot episodes ever committed to the small screen. We’ll be considering both unaired shows and those that somehow slipped past network executives to be shown to actual viewers.
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It’s not too hard to see why these shows never made it past the first episode. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Weirdest TV Pilots.


For this list, we're looking at the strangest and most baffling pilot episodes ever committed to the small screen. We’ll be considering both unaired shows and those that somehow slipped past network executives to be shown to actual viewers.





#10: “Young MacGyver” (2003)


Angus Macgyver was an agent who fought criminals with improvised weapons instead of guns. About a decade after his popular series ended, WB created the spin-off “Young MacGyver.” Instead of following Angus MacGyver, the show followed his nephew Clay becoming an agent. Since the original character never mentioned having siblings, this nephew’s existence is strange. Outside of the questionable familial connection, the show gets lost in a nonsensical plot about terrorists getting a monopoly on diamonds to fund a deadly attack. Actor Jared Padalecki did his best playing Clay MacGyver, but we’re glad he moved on to “Supernatural” instead of holding this confusing premise together.





#9: “The TV Wheel” (1995)



“TV Wheel”’s concept sounded crazy enough to work. A group of comedians would create sketches and position themselves on different parts of a circular set. Every time one sketch ended, the camera in the center of the set would rotate to a completely new scene without cutting. Unfortunately, this ambitious premise lead to major pacing issues. Most skits were either too long or too short. The show also slowed down in between scenes to introduce cast members or random puppet characters. Despite a few good ideas and plenty of comedic talent, an uneven execution of the concept stopped “TV Wheel” dead in its tracks.





#8: “Wonder Woman” (2011)


Comic book adaptations don’t get much stranger than 2011’s “Wonder Woman.” After an action-packed opening, we cut to the heroine arriving at her company. Although she calls herself Diana Themyscira, everyone seems to know she’s Wonder Woman. She also has a “Diana Prince” alias that she uses to feel normal. The heroine’s identity isn’t the only thing the writers jumbled. Diana’s iconic lasso of truth has no magical powers, her trademark invisible jet can be seen, and she tries to sell Wonder Woman dolls for profit. Taking liberties with source material is understandable. But we barely recognized Wonder Woman after all these odd decisions.






#7: “The Adventures of Superpup” (1958)


As it turns out, there is a comic adaptation stranger than “Wonder Woman.” In “The Adventures of Superpup,” traditional characters from the Superman comics are replaced with walking and talking animals. This led to groan worthy names like “Bark Bent,” “Pamela Poodle,” and the villainous “Professor Sheepdip.” The only thing worse than the puns were how horrifying certain characters looked. And although the show was made for younger audiences, the story is so thin that a kindergartener could point out the plot holes. Fortunately, “The Adventures of Superpup” never made it to broadcast. If it had, Superman himself couldn’t have saved it from cancellation.





#6: “Heat Vision and Jack” (1999)



Before Jack Black and Owen Wilson became household names, they starred in the TV comedy “Heat Vision and Jack.” Black played an astronaut who gains superintelligence during the day after an accident in space. Wilson plays a man whose mind was trapped inside of a motorcycle that he calls Heat Vision. In the pilot, the duo works together to defeat a body snatching alien while running from an evil version of actor Ron Silver. Against all odds, the bizarre premise is coherent and consistently hilarious. We understand why Fox might’ve been hesitant to order a full series, but comedy fans should savor this weird adventure.




#5: “The Orson Welles Show” (1979)


What do Muppets, magic tricks and the manly Burt Reynolds have in common? They all appeared in “The Orson Welles Show.” The program was a unique take on the variety show genre. Instead of interviewing Reynolds directly, Welles had the studio audience ask the actor scripted questions. The Muppets stopped by to talk and provide color commentary. And Welles performed several magic tricks and incorporated a game of Russian Roulette before closing the program with a poem. Although the show content seemed straightforward, it took months to get the pilot ready. The long production schedule and quirky format ultimately silenced this talk show.


#4: “Baffled!” (1973)



Casting Leonard Nimoy to lead a supernatural thriller sounds like a slam dunk. But the writers of “Baffled” still dropped the ball. Nimoy plays Tom Kovack, a suave racecar driver who starts seeing grim visions of a tragedy in England. Upon arriving there, he stops an innkeeper from stealing an actress’ youth and fights a ghost that possesses a wheelchair bound woman’s body. The clunky exposition never fully explains how any of that is possible. And there’s something weird about seeing Nimoy hit on women with cheesy pickup lines. We’ll give the writers credit. The title perfectly captures how it feels to watch the show.



#3: “Poochinski” (1990)




The challenges police officers face when working with animals can lead to great storytelling... or a train wreck like “Poochinski.” In the pilot, we meet officer, Poochinski, an unpleasant yet gifted detective. When he’s killed by a criminal, his consciousness takes over a bulldog’s body. Once Poochinski realizes he can talk, he finds his former partner and starts working again. Throughout the pilot, Poochinski seems weirdly accepting of his canine transformation. We’re also constantly hit with jarring switches between a real dog and creepy animal puppet. These issues lead to an inconsistent tone, strange dialogue, and little reason to endure this rough pilot.





#2: “Steel Justice” (1992)





In a dystopian future, Detective David Nash grieves his son after he’s killed by a gang’s bazooka missile. After describing his strange dreams through noir-style narration, he meets a 2,356-year-old time-traveling guide. The guide tells Nash he has a great gift within him. If you’re wondering why this bizarre story is called “Steel Justice,” let us try to explain. When Nash fights the gang that killed his son, he’s able to transform his son’s robot dinosaur toy into a giant mech that breathes fire. How? By concentrating really, really hard. If you like police dramas but hate logic, watch this confusing mess ASAP.



#1: “Heil Honey I'm Home!” (1990)


Most people wouldn’t put “Adolf Hitler” and “sitcom” in the same sentence. “Heil Honey, I’m Home” demonstrated exactly why you shouldn’t. In the pilot, caricatures of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun attempt to keep their Jewish neighbors from ruining a meeting with Neville Chamberlain. They stumble through painfully corny jokes and sitcom tropes while inexplicably speaking with Brooklyn accents. Although the show was created to satirize sitcoms, the characters are so mean-spirited, dim-witted or, you know, Hitler, that it’s difficult to find many laughs. Additional episodes were planned, but a negative reception from pretty much everyone ensured this sitcom never darkened the screen again.



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