The television industry is extraordinarily fast-paced, with new shows and ideas bouncing around like Tigger if he had ADD and a crippling caffeine addiction. For every five that make it onto the air, there were hundreds in the works that were canceled for any number of reasons, from budget cuts to acts of God. We’ve collected a sample of some of the more bizarre ideas that crawled out of the woodwork.
“Heat Vision and Jack”: Originally a 1999 television short, the story would have followed Jack Austin, a former astronaut exposed to solar radiation (which grants him super-intelligence when looking into direct sunlight), and heat vision, Jack’s best friend who has been turned into a talking motorcycle by a cosmic ray of sorts. Yeah, I wish I was kidding.
Despite sounding like a four-year-old’s poorly-written fanfiction, the project was supported by a surprisingly large amount of star power. Jack Black and Owen Wilson starred as Jack and Heat Vision respectively, the pilot was written by Ben Stiller, and the show itself was conceived in part by “Community’s” Dan Harmon. Fox decided against producing the show, which would have been a parody of science-fiction programs, but there is a chance the show could be revived as a feature film. Considering “Guardians of the Galaxy’s” success, a film based on a ridiculous premise might be just what Hollywood needs.
“Bruce Wayne”: The Dark Knight has long been a media cash cow, with animated programs and blockbuster films and triple-a video games. Considering an eight-year-old Batman wouldn’t make for interesting television, it’s not hard to imagine why the series failed to make it past conception. Perhaps we missed out, because the script was penned by Tim McCanlies, who wrote the screenplay for “The Iron Giant”, arguably one of the greatest animated films of all time.
But the failed show had a spiritual successor: Warner Brothers saw potential in the idea of a superhero prequel and “Smallville” was born. Apparently McCanlies still receives royalties from episodes of “Smallville”.
“Who’s Your Daddy?”: 2005 was a big year for game shows. “Deal or No Deal” quickly became a huge success, and raking in plenty of profits for NBC. Fox attempted their own new game show the same year, though the game being played was significantly stranger.
Adults who had been adopted as babies were placed in a room with 25 men, and attempted to guess their biological father for a prize of one-hundred thousand dollars. If they guessed incorrectly, the money would go to one of the men instead. Adoption groups tore into the premise, scorning the idea of cheapening possible reunions of families with the intent of winning money. Despite five episodes being produced, Fox quickly pulled the show from air (although they later aired the other four episodes on Fox Reality).
“The IT Crowd”: Don’t mess with success. The US has been pinching programs from our friends across the Atlantic for years. “House of Cards”, “The Office” and “American Idol” were all programs in the United Kingdom originally, and NBC hoped to accomplish the same with an American version of the popular sitcom “The IT Crowd.” “Community’s” Joel McHale was set to star, but the show never officially made it into production. Considering the absolutely gargantuan success of “The Big Bang Theory”, we can only wonder if an Americanized “IT Crowd” would have brought in the same kind of revenue for NBC as BBT does for CBS.
“Wonder Woman”: Be thankful this one never made it onto the airwaves. Not much is known about the actual production since it was cut off so early, but there was a particularly violent reaction when the Amazonian Princess’ costume was revealed. It was garish and rubbery and looked like something straight out of a porno. Hilariously enough, a porn version of the costume looks significantly better. Maybe the budgets for the two ‘projects’ were switched, but one thing’s for sure: we won’t be seeing Princess Diana of Themyscira in her own show anytime soon, although she is slated to appear in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” starring Ben Affleck and “Man of Steel’s” Henry Cavill).
(This list was cobbled together from various entertainment and news aggregate sites, including USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, io9, and A.V. Club)