Archive for the Failure To Launch Category

The Summer of Joe Lara – Hologram Man

The Summer of Joe Lara – Hologram Man
Joe fights his ultimate nemesis – another B-movie actor with even 90s-er hair than Joe’s! Or he would fight him, if not for the constant explosions.

 
 

In this final instalment of The Summer Of Joe Lara, Rookie Cop Joe *EXPLOSION* his greatest foe; a beefier, taller version of *MASSIVE SHOOTOUT* incredible hair.

Just when Joe thinks *FLAMETHROWER* in jail forever, this anarchist-terrorist *BIGGER EXPLOSION* a Hologram Terrorist! *LASER PISTOLS* Joe must *MAD MAX-STYLE RAMMING TRUCK* before he *6 COP CARS EXPLODE* a hologram too!

*FORCE LIGHTNING* until *RETIRING COP DIES* *COPS WITH MACHINE GUNS* *ARMS RIPPED OFF* *MULTIPLE RUBBER MASKS* he *COP STANDING ON CAR SHOOTING AT LEAST 20 CRIMINALS DEAD* until *ACTORS WHO CAN’T DELIVER ZINGERS DELIVERING ZINGERS* *FORGETTABLE EXPLOSIONS* *HOLOGRAM BATTLE* *LIMO EXPLOSION*

 


Reviewers: James Ferris, Lisa Dib, Harry Brimage
Soundboard: *EXPLOSION*

 
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The Summer of Joe Lara – Starfire Mutiny

The Summer of Joe Lara – Starfire Mutiny
Joe Lara fights a sleepy white supremacist during what isn’t a mutiny on a ship that isn’t called Starfire.

 
 

Our second Joe Jaunt™ is a piece from the twilight of his cinema career, Starfire Mutiny, another post-apocalyptic sci fi, this time with a complete absence of American Cyborgs (boooo.)

Joe captains the USS Legacy, a massive cryo ship orbiting a dead Earth, holding the last remnants of humanity in stasis. It’s a dull life; a good part of his day to day job is porn distribution (seriously.)

But when a band of space pirates show up, led by the world’s most low energy white supremacist, things quickly get even more boring and extremely sleazy god damn this film is dogshit.

 


Reviewers: James Ferris, Andrew Cherry, Harry Brimage
Soundboard: Lisa Dib

 
You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

The Summer of Joe Lara – American Cyborg: Steel Warrior

The Summer of Joe Lara – American Cyborg: Steel Warrior
Joe Lara fights a cyborg with a bad moustache for the future of humanity, in a film that rips off Children of Men despite preceding it by 20 years.

 
 

Longtime Failure to Launch listeners will be familiar with the work of Joe Lara, either as Tarzan in Tarzan in Manhattan or DJ Matt in Danger Island. You’ll also be aware of our undying affection for the man, and his superb list of b-movie credits on IMDB: Steel Frontier. Hologram Man. Final Equinox. Very Mean Men.

Despite the fact that these are films, not TV pilots, we at Failure to Launch could not leave these glorious titles unexamined. So, over this Australian summer, we’re submersing ourselves in the waters of Joe Lara’s oeuvre (which, turns out, is full of cyborgs.)

First cab off the rank is American Cyborg: Steel Warrior, a post-apocalyptic tale in which Joe, The Man With No Name Who’s Name Is Austin, must save a young woman and her very-dead-looking-fetus-in-a-tube from a killer cyborg with a killer moustache. It’s everything you’d hope it to be; cheap, ambitious, produced by the guys who did Superman IV and Over The Top (the Stallone film about arm wrestling), and it has Joe Lara! Get listening.

 

View post on imgur.com

Joe loses an arm and gains 40 facial expressions.

 


Reviewers: James Ferris, Harry Brimage, Andrew Cherry, Lisa Dib
Soundboard: David Shaw

 
You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S03E19 – Running Delilah

FtL S03E19 – Running Delilah
BILLY ZANE turns not-great-spy Kim Cattrall into a robot after her not-great-spying gets her killed. She’s still not-great at spying, but at least she’s a robot.

 
 

In this week’s episode of Failure to Launch we follow undercover agent Delilah (Kim Cattrall, Sex in the City) working with Billy Zane (Billy Zane, BILLY FUCKING ZANE) to take down a weapon smuggling crime boss from the inside. But when her cover is blown, a deadly game of cat and mou… nope, nevermind, they kill her straight away.

Delilah is brought back to life with a science montage and turned into a crime fighting machine (literally). As Delilah and BILLY ZANE (Billy Zane!) work together to stop a terrorist getting his hands on a nuclear weapon, the sparks fly (literally) as the bad guys wilt under Delilah’s (literally) steely gaze and massive structural damage (literally).

Did we mention Billy Zane is in this?


Reviewers: James Ferris, Lucy Shaw, Harry Brimage, Alex Malone
Soundboard: David Shaw

 
You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S03E18 – Starstruck

FtL S03E18 – Starstruck
In this week’s Failure to Launch we join the Mcallister clan as they dish up their famous homemade apple pie at the Midway Inn. On a space station. In the twenty second century. To aliens.

 
 

1979 was the perfect time to cash in on the Star Wars craze, so what better way than to make the Beverly Hillbillies in the Mos Eisley Cantina.

We follow the Mcallisters getting through breakfast, a singer desperate for a job, a talent agent who can’t get no respect, a megalomaniacal Billionaire intent on buying up all the apple pies, a pair of very sexual Scottish robots and a black guy punching a really big egg.

This may be one of the most insane shows we’ve ever seen. So get yourself some apple pie, a nice warm glass of merk (yes, merk), and relax to our screams of confusion. It’s a doozy.


Reviewers: James Ferris, Harry Brimage, Lisa Dib
Soundboard: David Shaw

 
You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S03E17 – Mr. Ed

FtL S03E17 – Mr. Ed
This week’s Failure to Launch sees the return of a horse of course. Of course, if you’re making a show about a talking horse, of course that horse will be a family-friendly lovable horse, unless of course that horse is Mr. Ed.

 
 

In 2004, Fox decided that everyone’s favourite talking palomino, Mr. Ed, needed a reboot…or should we say re-hoof? No. No, we should not.

Fearing that the concept may be a bit dated for modern audiences, Fox cast George Jefferson himself (or at least Sherman Hemsley), to transform Mr. Ed from a talking horse into to a straight-talking horse. Apparently in 2004, we really wanted Mr. Ed to be edgy.

If you’ve ever thought; “If only Mr. Ed was a misogynistic homophobe that spoke endlessly about his sex-life and fifteen year-old girls”, then you have some serious issues that need resolving, but this is also the perfect show for you. Because for the next 19 minutes, this is exactly what we get.

Meanwhile, Wilbur Pope, has a problem (well he has many problems but we’ll get to those later), his fifteen year-old daughter has gone to a club and vomited, so naturally, he upends his entire family from New York and moves them to the kidnapping capital of the world, Granite Falls, where he plans to run a legal practice from out of his barn.

But if you think this sounds like the actions of a desperate father spiraling out of control, you would be wrong! Because apparently that horse that’s just wandered into his law-barn is talking to him, and he’s going to stop Wilbur from getting pushed around.

Within minutes of meeting Wilbur, Ed becomes obsessed with preventing Wilbur’s daughter from having sex, and while we may never know why he is so heavily invested in this, we do know that he is definitely willing to maim a teenage boy over it.

It’s probably fair to say this version of Mr. Ed isn’t the horse we all know and love, but you have to understand it was 2004, and audiences just expected horses to hate teenagers, hippies, and women.


Reviewers: James Ferris, Harry Brimage, David Shaw
Soundboard: Lisa Dib

 
You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S03E16 – Journey to the Center of the Earth

FtL S03E16 – Journey to the Center of the Earth
F. Murray Abraham fires himself into a volcano and dies. Later, a group of generic arseholes do the same, but without the dying so it can be a TV show.

 
 

This week’s Failure to Launch journeys NOT to the center of the Earth, but just a bit under it to The Inner World, a land of miniature sets, puppet Space Manta Rays and liberal Yetis.

After his uncle Harlech’s attempt to get to this Inner World fails (spectacularly, if also predictably), Captain Chris Turner assembles a crew of generic TV sci-fi types, the world’s most English Englishman and one really angry bloke and sets off after him.

At least, we think for him. They’re also after the supposed treasures of the Inner World, which include new food sources, limitless energy and space age technology, all of which their ship already has oh fuck this thing is a glorious mess just listen we’ll do our best to explain.


Reviewers: James Ferris, Harry Brimage, Andrew Cherry
Soundboard: David Shaw

 
You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S03E15 – Jessica

FtL S03E15 – Jessica
Jessica Simpson, beloved pop-star, struggles to launch her career in television by playing a beloved pop-star struggling to launch her career in television.

 
 

This week’s episode sees the return of Failure to Launches most divisive star, Jessica Simpson, in a 2004 pilot built on one simple fact of life; Beautiful women will instantly turn any male into a desperate blabbering idiot and any woman into a raging ball of jealousy. We meet Holly and Joe, two snobbish, intellectually elitist journalists – who we’re supposed to love I think? – who are forced to work with the kind-hearted, yet dumb as a post singer Jessica Sampson. Cruel sniping and hilarious workplace sexual harassment ensues.

And although the show might occasionally get a little un-pc, in the end it pulls together for a heartfelt message that all young women, nay all people can rally behind; Ladies, if you want a man to like you (and we know that every single one of you thinks about nothing but that at all hours of the day) then don’t talk to him, let him get to know the real you and use that mouth for smiling. Not talking. Boys hate that.

So join us as we become frequently distracted from the barely existent story to focus on more important issues. Such as, the conduct of Russian McDonalds employees, whether Tom Hiddleston and Taylor Swift right for each other and the funniest way to mispronounce hippopotamus.


Reviewers: James Ferris, Alex Malone, David Shaw, Lisa Dib
Soundboard: Harry Brimage

 
You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S03E14 – The Ghost Writer

FtL S03E14 – The Ghost Writer
Anthony Strack is a horror novelist with writers block, a new wife, a dead wife, a creepy son, a deeply confusing housekeeper and a new daughter who needs the child protection services right fucking now. Seriously. Call them.

 
 

Portrayed by Norman Bates himself, the great Anthony Perkins absolutely nails this surprisingly ok three camera sitcom.

We follow Elizabeth (Anthony’s new wife) as she tries to adjust to life with the Stracks and living in the shadow of a massive portrait of Anthony’s deceased wife.

When Elizabeth takes down the painting and unleashes Anthony’s ex wife’s spirit it’s up to Anthony to look dead into the camera and make puns with the speed and determination of a serial killer.

We absolutely loved this bizzare Adams family meets Married with children-esque show and we’re sure you will too.


Reviewers: James Ferris, Harry Brimage, Lisa Dib
Soundboard: David Shaw

 
You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S03E13 – Dr. Strange

FtL S03E13 – Dr. Strange
1970-era Dr. Strange battles Jessica Walters with Kung-Fu, lasers and the best afro/gold chains/porn ‘stache combo we’ve seen outside of World Series Cricket. Guest starring Michael Williams and Sarah Baggs!

 
 

Guests Michael Williams and Sarah Baggs (of Pop Quiz Hot Shot and It’s A Duck Blur fame) join us to ask the question: Is the new Benedict Cumberbatch movie the true live action Dr. Strange, or does it need more boring lasers, villainous poops and guys called Wong who definitely aren’t servants?

When the aforementioned evil poo sends Morgan le Fay to Earth on a mission to kill the Sorcerer Supreme, it’s up to Dr Strange to try to get laid and kinda hope that lines up with stopping le Fay. This makes sense, because this was made in 1978 – the hair is 70s, the special effects are 70s, the racism/sexism is 70s etc. This is maybe the most 70s thing we’ve watched.

Either way, before you go see the new Dr Strange, give this a listen first. Nothing improves a film like lowered expectations. You’re welcome.


Reviewers: James Ferris, Michael Williams, Sarah Baggs & Alex Malone
Soundboard: Andrew Cherry

 
You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S03E12 – Sawdust

FtL S03E12 – Sawdust
Dad accidentally buys a circus, and won’t stop firing people & injuring his kids until he makes it work, damnit!

 
 

Ever wondered what it would be like to run a circus? Chartered Accountant Mac Galpin hadn’t, but that didn’t prevent him from ‘accidentally’ buying one, deciding to run it rather than on-selling the assets and forcing his family to join him on this foolhardy quest, as pre-2000s TV dads were want to do.

This is the premise of Sawdust, another pilot from the late-80s CBS Summer Playhouse (oh, how we love you, you bottomless shitbarrel.) That said, it’s less about circus administration and more about… unionised workforces versus the ruling class? I think? Also, there’s a sexy gorilla at one point.

There’s a lot going on, and not much going on at the same time. This is the paradox of bad television, and Sawdust does not disappoint.


Reviewers: James Ferris, Lisa Dib, David Shaw
Soundboard: Andrew Cherry

 
You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S03E11 – Mr. & Mrs. Smith

FtL S03E11 – Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Cam Tyeson helps us examine a TV adaptation of the Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie movie (without Pitt and Jolie, obvs) that gets worse in a way you probably didn’t expect.

 
 

Cam Tyeson joins us to discover: What happens when you take the star power and sex appeal of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and replace it with the um… general pleasantness of Jordana Brewster and Martin Henderson? The answer is domestic abuse, sadly. Go figure.

Brewster and Henderson fill in for the roles as Jane and John Smith, an average suburban couple who are secretly highly paid contract killers and who less secretly hate each other.

When John loses his job, this former professional murderer decides to reroute that energy into obsessively stalking his own wife. Sounds like an improvement, right? (It’s not.)

So join us as we watch these two crazy lovebirds bicker and kill their way across Prague. It’s a wacky and romantic action adventure with a hero who impulsive backhands his wife in the mouth when she disobeys him. If you love laughs, thrills and potentially fatal spousal abuse then what’s wrong with you? Seriously, thats awful. Why would you like that? Get some help. But you’ll probably dig this episode at least, you monster.

Find Cam on Twitter!


Reviewers: James Ferris, Cam Tyeson, Andrew Cherry
Soundboard: David Shaw

 
You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S03E10 – Justice League of America

FtL S03E10 – Justice League of America
90s live action Justice League! Which means no Superman. Or Batman. Or Wonder Woman. Plus, it’s mostly about relationships. Also, David Krumholtz.

 
 

To make any sense of Justice League of America, you need to remember that Lois and Clark was a big thing. Which is why there’s no Superman. Batman and Robin was also a thing, so there’s no Batman.

Lois and Clark being a thing might also explain why the pilot’s mostly about relationships rather than, I dunno, superhero stuff. Lois and Clark doesn’t explain the stalking though. Or the JLA kidnapping people. Or the odd casting choices. Or why the writers couldn’t think of anything remotely useful for the Atom to do.

The 90s does explain David Krumholtz, though. We love you, David Krumholtz.


Reviewers: James Ferris, Fabian Lapham, David Shaw, Lisa Dib
Soundboard: Andrew Cherry

 
You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S03E09 – Parallels

FtL S03E09 – Parallels
Martin Dunlop joins us to ask: Hey you guys remember Sliders? Well apparently somebody at Fox apparently didn’t since they tried to make this shit in 2015.

 
 

What to say about Parallels? I could tell you about how the most sympathetic character in the show is gun toting conspiracy theorist, who sets out to bomb his own people with nuclear weapons. I could tell you that the main characters are a desperate whining loser with an severely unhealthy crush, a violent bully without a Facebook account and a bratty sociopath who considers their impending death a time to make jokes and get laid. These are our heroes. So likeable!

I could tell you about how these monstrous jerks end up in a magical skyscraper, chasing their mysterious (and frankly deranged) father across a multiverse of parallel universes, while being chased by three of the ugliest sons of bitches you’ve ever seen. Just… damn. Those dudes. Gross.

But all I really need to tell you is that it’s Sliders. It’s just basically Sliders and that was alright wasn’t it? Yeah this is kind of alright too I suppose.

Oh also I think there’s a girl in there or something. She might be brunette. I’m not sure, they didn’t really get into it.

Find Martin on Twitter, or check out his website Nihilisticles!

Show notes:

Wiki – Parallels
IMDB – Parallels


Reviewers: James Ferris, Martin Dunlop, Andrew Cherry
Soundboard: Lisa Dib

 
You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S03E08 – Secret Talents of the Stars

FtL S03E08 – Secret Talents of the Stars
Claire Sullivan guests on this week’s Failure to Launch, in which Elaine’s boss from Seinfeld hosts a talent show with b-list celebrities doing things they’re OK at.

 
 

Talent shows are the shredded iceberg lettuce to broadcast TVs salad; a great space filler that, while nutritionally void, is hard to get wrong. You just need talent, or failing that, star power.

(Alternately, core it first, remove the thinnest leaves, chop finely and refrigerate until serving #icebergtips)

But what if you have neither? Well, you get Secret Talents of the Stars, a show where you can watch B to C list celebrities a) do something one step removed from what they’re already famous for, b) do something they’re not great at, or c) do something they’re really quite bad at.

(Alternately, a) rocket lettuce can work if dressed to counter it’s iron-rich bitterness, b) carrots & radish, grated at length and topped with ginger and lime zest is a Thai-inspired delight, or c) cabbage is a reasonable swap, but be sure to finely slice any coarse leaves to prevent them from overwhelming any subtler flavours in your salad #greensRgreat)

Or, d) watch George Takei put on a cowboy hat and have some dickhead hurl homophobic slurs at him.

You know what? Iceberg lettuce sucks.

 

Claire is performing in 2 shows at this year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival, because she’s an intrepid go getter: PO PO MO CO and I Wish I Owned A Hotel For Dogs. Check them out!

Show notes:

Wiki – Secret Talents of the Stars
IMDB – Secret Talents of the Stars
Reality TV World on STotS cancellation


Reviewers: James Ferris, Claire Sullivan, Andrew Cherry
Soundboard: Harry Brimage

 
You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S03E07 – Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again

FtL S03E07 – Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again
Eternal teenagers Archie, Betty & Veronica are transformed into adults with ‘adult’ problems. Serious ‘adult’ problems.

 
 

Ever heard of The Bradys? In 1990, ABC were kicking afternoon butt with the Full House/Family Matters power hour, and CBS needed something to compete. Why not steal ABCs own Brady Family and use them against ABC?

Starring the original now-20-years-older cast, The Bradys reworked the original sitcom into a dramedy, with the following setup:

– Bobby is a former racecar driver, paraplegic after a crash
– Peter is trapped in an abusive relationship
– Jan and her partner are unable to conceive
– Marcia is an alcoholic whose husband is fired by Mike

It still had a laugh track.

The show was canned after 6 episodes due to poor ratings. Some suggest that Uncle Jesse and Urkel were a source of unlimited power foolishly squandered, but others suspect a) the characters were worn out and b) even i they weren’t no-one wanted to see the most innocent characters TV ever saw thrust into such cartoonishly adult situations.

If this sounds like a colossal train wreck, bear this in mind; NBC tried to do the same thing with Archie comics 2 months later and fucked it up worse.

Show notes:

Wiki – Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again
IMDB – Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again
Cult Oddities’ entry on this pilot
People Magazine’s review from 1990


Reviewers: James Ferris, Lisa Dib, David Shaw
Soundboard: Alex Malone

 
You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S03E06 – Rag and Bone

FtL S03E06 – Rag and Bone
Two cops. Ones a priest, the others a ghost. If you’ve ever heard a better pitch, it probably made it past the pilot stage.

 
 

Dean Cain plays a Louisiana cop who is also a priest and a little league coach. But things get complicated when he shoots down one of his former baseball players, putting him under investigation by internal affairs. Things become additionally complicated when his ex lover is embroiled in a political scandal of murder and blackmail.

Things get really complicated when he starts being haunted by the ghost of Robert Patrick who doesn’t seem to want to help with anything at all. Shit gets just plain messy when that ghost cop has his own murder at the hands of prohibition era gangsters to solve and finally everything just basically falls apart when his partner starts telling him stories about alligators.

How do all these events tie together? They don’t. But it’s Dean Cain! Isn’t he great?

Show notes:

Rag and Bone – IMDB


Reviewers: James Ferris, Harry Brimage, Andrew Cherry
Soundboard: David Shaw

 
You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S03E05 – Mr. Stitch

FtL S03E05 – Mr. Stitch
Wil Wheaton and Rutger Hauer spice up Frankenstein with car chases and giant eyeballs. Contains traces of blackface.

 
 

Here’s the scenario; You’re writer/director Roger Avary. It’s 1995. In the last two years, you’ve won a Best Original Screenplay oscar (Pulp Fiction) and had a successful directorial debut (Killing Zoe). For your next project, you’ll be working with Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner) on a modern reboot of Frankenstein he’s producing and starring in. Ron Perlman (The City of Lost Children, Hellboy) and Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: TNG) are also attached. What could go wrong?

Just about everything.

Awful dialogue, Year 8 pseudo-philosophy, inexplicable giant floating eyeballs and 40 goddamn minutes spent in a white void. There were severe ‘creative differences’ on set, and it shows. A waste of a Ron Jeremy cameo (Porn).

Show notes:

Mr. Stitch – Wikipedia
Mr. Stitch – IMDB
Review – Entertainment Weekly
Wil Wheaton’s Blog about Ron Jeremy


Reviewers: James Ferris, Andrew Cherry, Harry Brimage
Soundboard: Lisa Dib

 
You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S03E04 – Clerks

FtL S03E04 – Clerks
Kevin Smith’s Clerks, adapted for TV. So, no swear words. Or sex jokes. Or charm.

 
 

In 1994, the indie film Clerks won Kevin Smith critical acclaim and the beginnings of a cult following, praised for it’s witty writing and authentic voice. Touchstone attempted to capitalise on the film’s success by snapping up the TV rights and producing a pilot.

Trouble is, they wanted a family sitcom. So, uh, try to imagine Clerks without Jay & Silent Bob. Or swear words. Or sex talk. They also took all the charm out and made everyone a jerk. That didn’t seem totally necessary for a sitcom, I think that’s what they thought Clerks brought to the table? Either way, it’s shit.

Show notes:

IMDB – Clerks
LostMedia Wiki – Clerks


Reviewers: James Ferris, David Shaw, Lisa Dib, Harry Brimage
Soundboard: Andrew Cherry

 
You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S03E03 – NYPD 2069

FtL S03E03 – NYPD 2069
A frozen cop wakes up in 2069 (nice) and plays Failure to Launch Cop Show Pilot Bingo – No Fun Edition™.

 
 

Alex Franco is a tough New York cop investigating a rape and murder (like in Nikki & Nora) who gets frozen (like in 1994 Baker Street) and travels through time (like in Out of Time) to a dystopic future where all the world’s terrorists have banded together (like in Nick Fury) and the cops use stupid guns (like in 17th Precinct) and unrealistic gene therapy (like in Fearless).

He has to team up with a distant relative (like in Out of Time again) who is now a dog (Poochinski) to solve crimes whilst on a dirt bike (Evel Knievel) and wearing synthetic skin (Darkman) for a reality TV show (Hollyweird) about a fight between Angel and Demon-themed professional wrestlers (Earth Angels, Tag Team).

Okay, I started making things up somewhere in there, but this really is a Failure to Launch Cop Show Pilot greatest hits album.

Show notes:

IMDB – NYPD – 2069


Reviewers: James Ferris, Timothy Clark, Lisa Dib, Alex Malone, Harry Brimage
Soundboard: Andrew Cherry

 
You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S03E02 – Model By Day

FtL S03E02 – Model By Day
Famke Janssen is a supermodel with a secret: she also beats up carjackers whilst wearing underwear and a StackHat. Also, boobs. Sexy?

 
 

Two years before her big break as Xenia Onatopp in GoldenEye, Famke Janssen played another sexy femme fatale of sorts; World-famous, globe-trotting supermodel Lex. After seeing her best friend/same-birthday-haver Amy seriously injured in a carjacking, Lex begins a double life as Lady X, a sexy vigilante who uses her martial arts skills to fight crime in the name of downtrodden women everywhere.

Hmm. Well, we say fights crime, but the crimefighting stops being a priority for Lex pretty early on, if it ever was the priority. Also, we say in the name of women everywhere, but it’s really only about Amy, and, um, she’s probably fine, sooooo… Also also, we say sexy, but whenever Model By Day’s attempts at sexy stray beyond, “Look, boobs”, they get a little… confused.

Confusion is rife in this episode of Failure to Launch; this one took us a while to unpack. Rest assured, though, by the end we’ll get to the bottom of everything that went wrong in Model By Day.

Except the StackHat. I’ll never understand the StackHat.

Show notes:

IMDB – Model By Day


Reviewers: James Ferris, Lisa Dib, Harry Brimage
Soundboard: Andrew Cherry

 
You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S03E01 – The Best of Times

FtL S03E01 – The Best of Times
Nic Cage and Crispin Glover star in an 80s teen variety sketch… thing? We think?

 
 

Failure to Launch is BACK with one of the most divisive, confused, dare we say Baffling™ pilots we’ve seen Crispin Glover try on jeans during.

Nicolas Cage, Crispin Glover and a slew of other teenagers bring us many, many, MANY vignettes of life as a 1980s All-American teen; a life that’s often musical and only occasionally involves serious property damage and/or existential despair.

Also, Jackie Mason’s there, playing a character with the last name ‘O’Reilly’. We’d tell you more but, honestly, we’re still not totally sure what this thing was.

Crispin Glover definitely tries on jeans though. That happened. We think.

Show notes:

IMDB – The Best of Times
Wikipedia – The Best of Times


Reviewers: James Ferris, David Shaw, Harry Brimage, Lisa Dib
Soundboards: Alex Malone, Andrew Cherry

 
You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

The Failure To Launch Season 2 Best-Worst Wrap Up: Part 1

The Failure To Launch Season 2 Best-Worst Wrap Up: Part 1

Season 2 of Failure to Launch has tied up, so it’s time to crack out something to replace this week’s Punwatch the Best Of/Worst Of Wrap-up!

In Part One, Ferris, Lisa & Fabs run you though their personal best & worst season 2 pilots. Once again, just the ones they watched, in case you were wondering why Juiced or Gay Robot wasn’t everyone’s worst pilot.


James Ferris, Host & Pilot Excavator

Ferris’ Best

3rd Best: The Nick and Jessica Variety Hour
The juries still out on just how intentionally bad this show was, but I’m an optimist so I’m going to go ahead and assume this particular show was very deliberately left in the hands of two bumbling (although very sweet) idiots.

I still have no idea why anyone ever thought reality stars should transition to variety stars, but I hope to God there’s more of these pilots out there. I lay awake at night, burning with the curiosity of what the cast of Duck Dynasty or The Only Way is Essex could do with the format.

2nd Best: Hollyweird
I gave this a lot of shit when we first reviewed it, but the more I thought about it, the more I realised that I would have loved this show in highschool. In fact I can easily see myself in some parallel dimension, having nostalgic all day marathons of this show now, had it been picked up.

Sure it was needlessly cynical, way too dark, and shallow to the point of meaninglessness. But it was also fun and silly and occasionally capable of a sort of okay one-liner. So basically this show and Highschool-Ferris were exactly the same.

The Best: Tarzan in Manhattan
What an utter joy. I’ll never forget where I was the first time I witnessed the power and majesty that was Joe Lara. Actually, I couldn’t tell you exactly where I was since I’d become lost in the soulful, bottomless pools that are his eyes. But even putting aside the pinnacle of masculine beauty, how could you not love this show? A naturist Tarzan travels to New York where he meets a sarcastic, jaded cabbie and her trigger happy, dangerously traumatised father, to combat a mad scientist bent on gaining super intelligence by eating monkey brains. Thats not a TV show, it’s proof of a loving God.

Also, had this gone to series it would have involved these three lunatics starting a detective agency with a monkey! The fact that it didn’t get picked up kind of disproves the whole “proof of a loving God” thing, but Tarzan in Manhattan is still a treasure.

Ferris’ Worst

3rd Worst: Blood Ties
None of the characters talk about the incest!! None of them! Like, it’s just totally not an issue for any of them. Was this show actually supposed to be set in a world where vampires secretly rule California and there is no societal taboo regarding sex with blood relatives? Because if so, they leant way too hard on the vampire part.

Maybe the vampires are cool with it, I can handle that. Vampires regularly kill innocent people to survive, and they don’t reproduce sexually anyway, so sure if your vampires want to keep it in the family, I can roll with that.

But when the very human reporter discovers that the powerful, corrupt dynasty she’s been trying to unravel for years are just one big family fuck-puddle even she doesn’t blink and eye. And that’s before she realises that they’re vampires! If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s poor fictional journalism.

2nd Worst: Wheel of Time
This isn’t even technically a pilot so much as a negotiation strategy in an intellectual property dispute, but nevertheless it’s out there and it exists. Even the great Billy Zane himself can’t drag this wet dog fart of a show into anything that would fit a sane person’s definition of entertainment.

It’s genuinely amazing how little happens in this 20 or so minutes of television. A man wandering around an empty house calling out “Ilyena” on repeat is somehow made even more boring than it sounds, and these characters apparently aren’t even really followed in the books. But as lazy as it is and as shallow as it’s motivations for existing may be, this pilot doesn’t manage to take the title of worst show of the year. Mainly because Billy Zane is (as always) fun and charming to watch and at no point does the show actually condone a real life murder.

The Worst: Juiced!
This actually exists. Here. On Earth. This show that turns the brutal murder of two innocent people into an excuse for a series of barely intelligible hidden camera stunts and long distance photography of a sociopath flirting with disinterested women, actually really exists. The same planet where you play with puppies and had your first kiss, also had OJ Simpson getting paid to drunkenly joke about selling a bullet-ridden Bronco in a used car lot.

This thing happened, and we all stood by and let it. The world is a filthier, nastier place because this exists, and if I were a better person I would have let you all carry on with your lives, blissfully unaware of it’s existence. But I am not a good person. Because I – like all of us – have been Juiced.


Lisa Dib, Dog-loving Panellist

Lisa’s Best

3rd Best: Shangri-La Plaza
Although I wasn’t on this FTL episode, I watched Shangri-La Plaza after listening (despite, or perhaps because of, Dave’s seething hatred for it) and really enjoyed it. As a devotee of musicals, comedy and screen depictions of terrible customer service, I found SLP very odd – compliment – and weirdly fun. So much was incongruous and misshapen, but that is no doubt why the thing never got off the ground in the first place, so we take it as a point of it’s charm.

2nd Best: Baffled!
Considering the time period (1973), I expected Baffled! to be a whole lot worse. I was pleasantly surprised when the plot ticked along fairly routinely (save some bizarre cuts), the cast was made of competent actors and the idea – tolerably silly – was executed without the long, dull expositions and cheesy, hammy and other lunchables-y OTT acting that seems to run through 70s cinema and TV. Plus, Nimoy! Nimoy, bitches!

The Best: The Nick and Jessica Variety Hour
If you had sat through as many pseudo-intense action dramas as I have for this podcast (though, in fairness, not nearly as many as Ferris has- god have mercy on his soul), you would long for some comedic relief and light funtertainment, too. Some sweet soft cheese to wash away the bitter offal. This show was – I maintain – very tongue-in-cheek funny, silly and nice-weird, especially the way Nick Lachey keeps demanding to shave you. Yes, you.

Lisa’s Worst

3rd Worst: Darkman
What the hell, pilot? WTF were you even doing? Why all the yelling at homeless children? Why so much brooding expositional voiceover? Why was Darkman such an whining diaper baby? Why was there no logic to a show that presumably took at least a few minutes to make?

Why did I have to sit in my home, where I live, and be exposed to this pilot’s hideous laziness and Nine Inch Nails film clip aesthetic? Who cared so little for the medium of television that they allowed this to happen? No questions answered, and now I die.

2nd Worst: Faceless
Even though I could technically see the merit of Faceless, I was so unendingly bored while watching it that I made better use of my time by categorising my cornflakes by size, shape and flake density.

1st Worst: Juiced!
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Although it would seem like the relatively small reach we have as a wee podcast would not do much to stem the tide of evil detritus and visual filth coming from TV land, it was imperative that we did something. How can any decent human being who watched Juiced! have the temerity to withhold warnings to others? How would I have slept at night if I had not alerted our listenership to the horrors awaiting them on YouTube, should they find themselves in the vicinity of this televisual abortion?

I am not a perfect person; I bestow goodwill where I can, and try my hardest to make this god-forsaken planet as bearable as possible for myself and those around me. I could not have lived my life with honour knowing that I had sat and shrugged as helpless men, women and children had seen Juiced! with their human eyes. Short is the path to hell for those who see evil and turn away. God help us.


Fabian Lapham, Rankled Nerd Panellist

Fabs’ Best

3rd Best: Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Quite a lot of Marvel mythos made its way into this Hasselhoff vehicle. It’s a bit of fun, but I’m glad Jack Kirby was too dead to watch it.

Memoir From Another Timeline:
This long-running show continued to use all it could from the Marvel Universe, including X-Men, Spider-Man and Iron Man. The gaudy TV versions of these characters appealed to the hardcore fans, but they reportedly put the kibosh on several film adaptions of these characters after the studios saw how the characters fared in this shit-fest. As such, there has been no Marvel films since the Blade trilogy. It’s perhaps for the best, some characters just don’t work on screen.

2nd Best: Tarzan In Manhattan
The chemistry Tony Curtis has with chimpanzees goes a long way. This whole thing is dumb fun, and though the ‘dumb’ is grossly disproportionate to the ‘fun’, I would have watched this show when I was a little kid. I don’t think that’s the hypothetical demo the show wanted, but that’s the hypothetical demo the show’s getting.

Memoir From Another Timeline:
All the kids at lunch-time would play ‘Tarzan’; the coolest kids, of course, would opt to be Tarzan, or sometimes Sherlock (after the big S5 crossover with 1994 Baker Street). Because I am overweight I am usually forced to play ’The Ringleader’, a S3 villain who repeatedly tries to catch Tarzan & Cheetah so he can put Tarzan in his circus (and so he can eat Cheetah). One day I find a faithful comic book adaption of the original Tarzan – it is dark, largely set in the jungle, and almost entirely devoid of long-lost twin shenanigans. I report my findings to the other kids who duly report to me that if I can’t commit to the “real” Tarzan then I can’t play with them anymore.

The Best: The Time Tunnel
As fleetingly mentioned on the podcast, I’m a sucker for time-travel fiction to the point where I’m compelled to give a time-travel story a chance against all other odds. It’s hardly an addiction… why, I waited a full two years before I watched Richard Curtis’ hot diarrhoea painting About Time… but time travel does indeed grease m’old cockles*, which is why The Time Tunnel manages to eke its way into my Top 3.

* I was going to say “time travel curries my favour”, but I decided mentioning curry so soon after diarrhoea was poor form. I’m not sure “grease” was a terrific replacement.

Memoir From Another Timeline:
As Time Tunnel dominated the ratings, NBC pulled the plug on Heroes before it could reach a second season (fleets of Heroes-devotees badgered NBC to renew the show which was no doubt ended just as it was starting to get good). Meanwhile, Time Tunnel stays the course, swapping out big-budget spectacle for an entertaining season-antagonist The Tempus (Hugh Laurie). I watch it on TV unless my dipshit housemate John is home, as John still watches Secret Life of Us, which is on at the same time. It’s easier just to torrent Time Tunnel, as no one in the house owns a VCR anymore and nobody is ever going to put up a torrent of Secret Life of Us.

Fabs’ Worst

3rd Worst: Driving Miss Daisy
Like nibbling at a stale cake that an elderly relative forgot to bake sugar into, and just as you reach the centre, the elderly relative yells the n-word at you.

Memoir From Another Timeline:
I have a painful memory of my Auntie marathoning of this show very loudly while I was extremely sick with the flu. Torture.

2nd Worst: The Nick & Jessica Variety Hour
Sure, there might have been good writers involved who were doing the best they could with what they had, but what they had was Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson performing comedy, and I just can’t get behind that. It’s like if a world famous chef prepared a meal for monkeys at a zoo, and instead of savouring the meal the monkeys instead performed a 6 minute country & western song.

Memoir From Another Timeline:
I have a painful memory of my housemate marathoning this show this very loudly while I was severely hungover. Awful.

1st Worst: Neighbours with Benefits
NETWORK NOTE:
“Hi Mark, I just googled this ‘sex’ thing everyone’s been talking about and realised there’s absolutely none of it in the pilot. I understand the censors won’t let us show the act, but could we still allude to it or have some sort of build-up to it? Failing that, let’s just have the cast just talk about how good the “lifestyle” is. This will probably be more appealing than porn. Good work.”

Memoir From Another Timeline:
I have a painful memory of my ex-girlfirend marathoning this show this very loudly while I died from pneumonia. Nightmare.


FtL S02E25 – Baffled!

FtL S02E25 – Baffled!
Leonard Nimoy is a psychic race-car driver who has to a foil a fountain of youth/identify theft mystery in an old English mansion. What don’t you understand?

 
 

In the Failure to Launch season finale, we go out with a baffling bang. Or, I guess, a crash, a premonition and age-disguising lighting.

Old mate Leonard Nimoy plays Tom, a race-car driver who develops psychic powers somehow and get whisked off to “merry” old England to solve a number of odd mysteries in one big creepy mansion. We couldn’t really grasp why a lot of it was happening but after last week’s episode, we were just happy not to have been violently vomiting onto the floor.

That’s it for this season; Failure to Launch returns early next year. See you then, Internet!

Show notes:

IMDB – Baffled!
Wikipedia – Baffled!


Reviewers: James Ferris, Lisa Dib, Harry Brimage
Soundboard: Andrew Cherry

 
You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S02E24 – Juiced with OJ Simpson

FtL S02E24 – Juiced with OJ Simpson
A hidden camera prank show starring…*sigh*…OJ Simpson. Sure, why not.

 
 

This week, we allegedly murdered our collective will to continue the podcast by subjecting ourselves to “Juiced”, a hidden camera prank “show” starring sportsman, actor and…guy OJ Simpson. OJ does what Jackass was doing when those guys were 13, only with more gratutious female nudity, bad rapping and poorly thought-out “ideas”.

Now that we have seen this slight against God of a pilot, we can only pray for future generations, and you, to never have to witness the birth of the spawn of the Dark One, or this show.

Have mercy.

Show notes:

Vice – I Was OJ Simpson’s Accomplice (on His Hidden-Camera Prank Show)

Filmdrunk – Remembering ‘Juiced,’ OJ Simpson’s Bizarre, Punk’d-Style Prank Video

IMDB – Juiced with OJ Simpson


Reviewers: James Ferris, Lisa Dib, Alex Malone, Harry Brimage
Soundboard: Dave Shaw

 
You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S02E23 – Alexander the Great

FtL S02E23 – Alexander the Great
William Shatner & Adam West star in the sort of 60s historical war epic your dad would’ve fallen asleep in front of on a Sunday afternoon.

 
 

The year is 1964. Producer Selig J. Seligman convinces the American Broadcasting Corporation to dump a truckload of money into the pilot episode of Alexander the Great, a historical war series on an epic scale (for TV, at least). ABC watched it, said no, and as this was the 60s and there wasn’t some dumb cable channel to dump it on at 2am, the pilot was placed on a shelf to gather dust, never to be aired.

At least, that was the plan, until the bloke who played Alexander (William Shatner) and the bloke who played, um… someone else (Adam West) became Captain Kirk and Batman. ABC realised they could probably trick Star Trek & Batman fans into watching this thing, and chucked it on air in 1968.

And thus, the concept of “pretending a dead pilot is a TV movie” was born.

…sorry? Oh, the pilot! It’s old and dumb and nobody can punch. Also, it was the 60s, so take a guess how well the one female character was portrayed.


Reviewers: James Ferris, Lisa Dib, Andrew Cherry
Soundboard: Alex Malone

 
You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S02E22 – Darkman

FtL S02E22 – Darkman
A 1992 pilot based on a 1990 Sam Raimi movie based on horror film noir of the 1930s. Plus weird face stuff.

 
 

Payton Westlake (Chrisopher Bowen) is Darkman, a man with an only occasional face who likes yelling at homeless children, and old mate Larry Drake is back in villain form as Durant.

This reimagining/weird cut-and-paste job of the Sam Raimi film answers all those questions you might have had about the Darkman character, like: If he’s homeless, how does he get all the gadgets? What’s his beef with bad grammar? Why does synthetic skin boil like lava after an hour and a half? All that, and less!

If you like 90% voice-over explanation dialogue, you’ll love* Darkman!


Reviewers: James Ferris, Alex Malone, Lisa Dib, Harry Brimage
Soundboard: Fabian Lapham

 
You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

*why would you like that what’s wrong with you

 

FtL S02E21 – Battletoads

FtL S02E21 – Battletoads
Based on the video game, this pilot ticked all your 90s cartoon boxes: Bizarre catchphrases? Check! Poor animation? Check! BDSM pig monsters? Check!

 
 

Far out! Geekomatic! Hypnotronic! Battletoads!

Written by David Wise, who should have known better, and made for probably 95 cents, Battletoads is a battle courageously yet dumbly across galaxies in the vein of their more famous turtle cousins, to save someone from…something. It’s not super clear. There’s a lot of portals.

We were pretty unanimous on the creepy bird doctor, though.


Reviewers: James Ferris, Fabian Lapham, Lisa Dib, Harry Brimage
Soundboard: Andrew Cherry

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S02E20 – The Nick & Jessica Variety Hour

FtL S02E20 – The Nick & Jessica Variety Hour
“America’s favorite young married couple”, because that’s a thing people say or think ever, Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey (98 Degrees) host an 70s-style revue with music, sketches, guests and some wacky surprises that surprise no-one.

 
 

Pop stars Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey for some reason host this deeply Sonny and Cher-reminiscent old-school variety show, without the glorious absurdity of Steve Martin or Telly Savales’ giant creepy head. There’s bygone-era musical guests, hackneyed comedy sketches and more duets than you would ever need or want! Variety has never been more various!

We were divided quite harshly on this one: was it bad TV? Was it knowingly and ironically tongue-in-cheek? Was it bad but still ironic? Why all the mentioning of pole vaulting? We couldn’t decide but, in fairness, neither could the show.


Reviewers: James Ferris, David Shaw, Lisa Dib, Fabian Lapham
Soundboard: Andrew Cherry

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S02E19 – Danger Island a.k.a. The Presence

FtL S02E19 – Danger Island a.k.a. The Presence
Imagine if Lost had been made in the early 90s and featured way more exploding fruit and giant man-fish monsters. Welcome to Danger Island.

 
 

This early 90s adventure series tells the tale of a disparate group of castaways, stranded on a mysterious tropical island, following a harrowing plane crash. But it’s not Lost. As they battle against the elements and each other, they discover that the island is home to all manner of bizarre unexplainable phenomena. But it’s totally not Lost. Alright?

Things begin to fall into place when they discover an abandoned military outpost. I swear it was over a decade before Lost. An outpost that was conducting bizarre paranormal experiments. Holy shit, I know it sounds like we just watched a few episodes of Lost, but I swear we didn’t.

But if you loved Lost, or hated Lost, or never saw even a single episode of Lost, then Danger Island is just awful either way.


Reviewers: James Ferris, Andrew Cherry, Lisa Dib
Soundboard: David Shaw

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S02E18 – K-9000

FtL S02E18 – K-9000
To help solve a break in at a laboratory, an old school, tough as nails cop gets teamed up with his new partner, a stuffy, by the books, clean cut young rookie. Who is also a robotic talking dog.

 
 

LA detective Eddie Munroe hates machines and machines seem to hate him, so it’s a twist of cruel fate that sees him teamed up with a German Shepard who’s brain has been replaced with a hitch computer. To be honest Eddie actually rolls with the whole scenario pretty smoothly.

Along the way they’re joined by a sexy scientists who claims to love animals despite performing numerous, painful tests on them as well as helping to build a machine that exists entirely to remove dogs brains while they’re still alive. For money.

But who can get hung up on that when there’s international thieves to thwart, human shields to use and so, so much glass to break? Through it all Eddie and his new pal K9000 learn to laugh, to love and eventually to make dick jokes together.


Reviewers: James Ferris, Alex Malone, Harry Brimage
Soundboard: Andrew Cherry

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S02E17 – Driving Miss Daisy

FtL S02E17 – Driving Miss Daisy
CBS tried to convert the touching 1989 Oscar winner into a laugh-track sitcom. Even more boring than it sounds, except for, ah… this one bit.

 
 

This week we examine Driving Miss Daisy, an attempt by CBS to cash in on the Oscar winning film by converting it into a laugh-a-minute sitcom, with such wacky antics as “Hoke fixes the cabinet door”, and “Miss Daisy meets Eleanor Roosevelt and it goes fine.”

This sounds dull (and it is), so it might surprise you to know that this pilot garnered protests when it aired in 1992. Give this episode a listen and… you just might understand why.


Reviewers: James Ferris, David Shaw, Fabian Lapham
Soundboard: Andrew Cherry

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S02E16 – Gay Robot

FtL S02E16 – Gay Robot
Nick Swardson’s pilot about a Gay Robot who’s gay, and a robot. He says lots of gay stuff, ‘cause he’s a Gay Robot. Gay. Gay gay gay.
 
This is one for the FtL history books.

 
 

From the Book of Failure, S2-16:

“The man, who was named Ferris, toiled in the fields of the Internet, searching for a pilot which was of formidable quality. He went up from Rutube.ru to Torrentfreak, but he would not be satisfied, and no merchant of pilots whose lights were not green could impress him with his wares.

After many days wandering the desert of Wiki, he collapsed, and at this time the Lord of Bad Pilots appeared to him in a vision, taking the forms of Billy Zane and Adrianne Palicki. “Oh Lords”, cried Ferris, “End my suffering! Provide unto me a hyperlink to the pilot which shall destroy television, and bring about the end of all screen entertainment!”

With these words, the Lord Billy Zane did smile upon him, as the Lord Adrianne Palicki speaketh, “Don’t really have anything like that. We’ve got this thing called Gay Robot though. Will that do?”

“Fuckin’ done!” cried Ferris

And then Ferris saw some children, and he cursed them in the name of the Lord. And two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the boys.”*

*That bit is from 2 Kings 2:23-24. Seemed appropriate though.


Reviewers: James Ferris, Harry Brimage, Alex Malone, Andrew Cherry
Soundboard: Fabian Lapham

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S02E15 – Blood Ties

FtL S02E15 – Blood Ties
An early 90s attempt at “sexy vampires” for TV, except the sex was all incest-based. We can’t prove this show single-handedly delayed the genre by a decade, but I’d drop a tenner on it.

 
 

This week we examine Blood Ties, a 1991 attempt to bring the “vampires live among us, and they’re SEXY” genre to life over a decade before HBO did it with True Blood.

The problem, however, was that this was a network show. So where HBO added sex appeal into True Blood with Tons o’ Nudity and Sex™, Blood Ties had to settle for sexy innuendos. When it turned out they couldn’t write sexy innuendos (there’s a twinkie metaphor that isn’t the obvious one), they tried adding incest to spice things up, which is akin to spicing up a curry with a small scale chemical fire.

Also, one of the vampires was named Corey Puckett. Even without the incest, this was the level of sexiness we were working with.


Reviewers: James Ferris, Harry Brimage, Alex Malone
Soundboard: David Shaw

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S02E14 – Mickey & Nora

FtL S02E14 – Mickey & Nora
Textbook 80s sitcom in which a former CIA agent juggles his new job, new wife, and wacky best friend/disgraced West-African dictator Colonel Ntsunge (okay, not quite textbook.)

 
 

This week’s FtL examines Mickey & Nora, a boilerplate 80s sitcom about the travails of a young newly-married couple and their wacky, disgraced West-African dictator sidekick, Colonel Ntsunge. And wacky side-characters don’t come much wackier than the Colonel, as he bumbles through American customs, mispronounces catch phrases, and threatens his political enemies with ethnic cleansing.

Mickey is a former CIA agent now working as a go-go eighties lawyer, only (wouldn’t-ya-know-it) nobody believes he’s left the agency! And for some reason everybody knows that he was in the agency! And he still acts and works and behaves like he’s in the agency!! And – I can’t stress this enough – his best friend is a disgraced Senegalese dictator hell bent on returning to power. It kind of seems like he’s still in the agency!

Only he can’t be in the agency, see, because if was still in the agency then that would mean he wouldn’t be allowed to nail his wife… and he really, really, really wants to nail his wife. Like, give it a rest Mickey. There are people over. People who have been charged with war crimes.


Reviewers: James Ferris, Andrew Cherry, Alex Malone
Soundboard: Harry Brimage

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S02E13 – Out of Time

FtL S02E13 – Out of Time
A cop from the future travels to 1988 to wreck the future. Isn’t the bad guy. Time Travel has never been so much like a student art film.

 
 

Channing Taylor is a cop from the future who’s out to prove that policing is a people’s job and not a computer’s. So he goes back in time to convince his Grandpa (Bill Maher) that Adam Ant’s evil plot to cure all diseases has to be stopped, and the only way to do it is to break every time travel rule and irreparably ruin the future. But Bill Maher is determined to make policing a computer’s job and not a people’s.

Can Channing and Grandpa see eye to eye? Can you wrap a man in fruit loops? Can you cut to every single shot in a feature length pilot with the sound of a broken jack-in-the-box? Only TIME will tell.


Reviewers: James Ferris, Harry Brimage, Alex Malone, David Shaw
Soundboard: Fabian Lapham

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S02E12 – Faceless

FtL S02E12 – Faceless
Sean Bean is Eddie Prey, who is actually John Robson, who is in fact played by Brett Cullen. Look, you might wanna take notes on this one. It gets dense.

 
 

This week, Failure to Launch examines Faceless, a gritty crime drama in which Game of Thrones star Sean Bean actually lives to the end credits for once! Although the opening scene is him getting shot in the face. So y’know, grain of salt.


Reviewers: James Ferris, Martin Dunlop, Lisa Dib, Alex Malone
Soundboard: Harry Brimage

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S02E11 – Evel Knievel

FtL S02E11 – Evel Knievel
In the mid 1970s, CBS noticed that America was in love with famed motorcycle stuntman Evel Knievel. That’s why decides to slap his name on this show, which features no actual Evel Knievel and very few stunts.

 
 

Sam Elliott brings his distinctive southern charm to this series about the beloved dare-devil travelling the country with his trusty pit crew. Along the way they deal out action, adventure and good old fashioned 70s style misogyny you just like your dad used to make.

But, when Evel threatened by a female stunt rider, him and the boys must band together and do everything they can to put this young upstart back in her place.
But, when Evel is threatened by a mad bomber, determined to end his career and his life, him and the boys don’t really give two shits.

And neither will you! We promise.


Reviewers: James Ferris, Harry Brimage, Lisa Dib, Martin Dunlop
Soundboard: Andrew Cherry

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S02E10 – Hollyweird

FtL S02E10 – Hollyweird
Melissa George teams up with some hip young Los Angelenos to catch a murderous psychopath, who is literally impaling people because he misses some ponies. Can the gang catch him with just a handi-cam and the power of free association? Yes. Yes they can.

 
 

The year is 1998 and the world has recently discovered ironic detachment. Scream 2 is but a fading memory, and Scream 3 is still a glimmer in Courtney Cox-Arquette’s eye. Somebody had to fill that gap.

In steps Shaun Cassidy, Failure to Launch’s favourite snow globe enthusiast-cum-director, with another of snow-globe filled romp. It’s fun. It’s sexy. It’s shot like a Smash Mouth video. It’s almost certainly meta.

Two aspiring film-makers team up with a generic 90s slacker-dude to make 1998’s most daring reality show: Hollyweird. They bait, trap and torture suspected criminals, all on film, and all while apparently evading legal sanction.

Then they have a nice pot of Ovaltine. At least I think they do. Or at least we spent a long time speculating that they might. Or on what exactly Ovaltine is. It’s all a little hazy. All I know is that Americans should at least consider drinking Milo.


Reviewers: James Ferris, David Shaw, Harry Brimage, Alex Malone
Soundboard: Andrew Cherry

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S02E09 – Neighbors With Benefits

FtL S02E09 – Neighbors With Benefits
Grown men and women engage in very adult activities, mostly by acting like idiot teenagers.

 
 

This week’s pilot documents the real-life exploits of several couples who practise “the lifestyle”, and what a life style it is! There’s terrible parties, clumsy innuendo and even the occasional game of truth or dare. Well, that, and constant extra-marital affairs, so it’s not all lame.

This reality series about suburban swingers aired 2 episodes, so it’s not technically a failed pilot. But as Neighbors with Benefits teaches us, it’s not cheating if it doesn’t break the rules.


Reviewers: James Ferris, David Shaw, Fabian Lapham
Soundboard: Alex Malone

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S02E08 – Island City

FtL S02E08 – Island City
Kevin Conroy (Voice of Batman) and his team have 48 hours to find a colleague lost in a future wasteland filled with murderous mutants. They’ll get to it at some point.

 
 

In this week’s unexpectedly raunchy episode of Failure to Launch, we examine Island City, a world ravaged by formerly-human-now-super-strong-neanderthals, the victims of a genetic experiment gone wrong. The remnants of humanity cower inside the fortress-like Island City, desperately searching for a cure.

Well… I’ve used words like “cower” and “desperate”, but for the most part everyone’s really relaxed about the whole situation. So much so, that when a rescue worker is lost in the mutant-infested wasteland and given 48 hours to live, the rest of his team just grab a drink, catch up on some sleep, kinda, y’know, have a bit of R&R. Just 48 hours of “me” time.

Also, Abraham Lincoln hits on someone’s mum. Oh, and there’s eugenics, and everyone’s cool with it (including the writers). This was a weird one.


Reviewers: James Ferris, Harry Brimage, Alex Malone, David Shaw
Soundboard: Fabian Lapham

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S02E07 – Shangri-la Plaza

FtL S02E07 – Shangri-la Plaza
An unwilling donut store owner becomes the center of a love triangle for two creepy mechanics. Everybody sings about it. Poorly. Except for those who rap about it. Poorly.

 
 

This week’s Failure to Launch examines Shangri-La Plaza, the musical strip mall where everything you need is under one roof. Provided you’re somehow capable of sustaining yourself on donuts, frozen yogurt and child neglect.

Along for the ride is the world’s most indignant cafe employee (who is as likeable as she sounds), a crippled gang leader (who is even less threatening than he sounds) and a precocious 8 year old (who is actually fine. We’ve got no beef with her).


Reviewers: James Ferris, David Shaw, Alex Malone
Soundboard: Andrew Cherry

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S02E06 – The Robinsons: Lost in Space

FtL S02E06 – The Robinsons: Lost in Space
1965’s Lost In Space gets rebooted for the 21st century. Somehow, Dad dragging his unwilling family across space because Dad Says So™ doesn’t quite work anymore.

 
 

This week’s Failure to Launch examines an attempt to reboot 1965’s Lost in Space for the early 2000s. As with any reworking of a series with a strong, loyal fan base, it’s important to carefully examine the source material, find the elements that made the show work, then make those elements the core of a modern, exciting retelling, that pays loving homage to the original series.

Thing is, the element they took from the original was Dad Knows Best™. And what Dad reckons sounds best is uprooting his family and dragging them across killer alien-infested space to start a new life on a farming colony, even though his family’s opinion on the matter ranges from “I’d rather not” to “I will never forgive you for this”, and there’s no particular reason to go beyond Dad Knows Best™. Dad may be legitimately insane.


Reviewers: James Ferris, Harry Brimage, Alex Malone
Soundboard: Andrew Cherry

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S02E05 – Wheel of Time: Winter Dragon

FtL S02E05 – Wheel of Time: Winter Dragon
A madman kills his own family (off screen) and then kills himself (off screen) by exploding into a volcano (off screen). From Robert Jordan’s expansive Wheel of Time Universe (Off screen).

 
 

In further proof that The Consumption will watch anything that Billy Zane puts his name to, we travel this week to the vast fantasy world of Robert Jordan’s 14-volume Wheel of Time series. Or, rather, one house in the vast fantasy world of Robert Jordan’s 14-volume Wheel of Time series. Or one smoke filled room in one house in the vast fantasy world of Robert Jordan’s 14-volume Wheel of Time.

It’s the story of one man’s desperate search for his wife and family, which ends in anticlimax when it turns out he’s just playing hide and seek. Or tragedy when you consider that he’s hallucinating and murdered them days ago.

Either way, we’d watch paint dry if the paint was played by Billy Zane. He could do it too. He’s got the range.


Reviewers: James Ferris, Harry Brimage, Alex Malone
Soundboard: Andrew Cherry

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S02E04 – Frankenstein

FtL S02E04 – Frankenstein
Two cops. One mad scientist. A shit ton of super sad monsters. And a thick layer of grease slopped all over all them.

 
 

How about a modern adaption of a literary classic, created by Martin Scorsese & Dean Koontz, starring Parker Posey, Michael Madsen and Adam Goldberg? Sound good? It sure sounded good to USA Network in 2004.

Except all they got out of it was your standard gritty cop show. Except it stars a modern day Frankenstien. Except he’s not called Frankenstien. Except the show is called Frankenstien. Except there’s…

God dammit, this thing’s a mess.


Reviewers: James Ferris, Andrew Cherry, Harry Brimage, Alex Malone
Soundboard: David Shaw

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S02E03 – Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

FtL S02E03 – Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
David Hasselhoff plays the Marvel super spy in this 1998 pilot, delivering a performance that David Hasselhoff agreed (several times) was better than whoever’s doing it now.

 
 

What do you think of when you think of Nick Fury? War hero? Super spy? Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D? Well, in the 90’s, he was all of those, only he was still a smoker. Oh, and he was played by DAVID FREAKIN’ HASSELHOFF.

In ’98 the former Baywatch star played the comic book legend in a portrayal that Stan Lee and The Hoff himself agreed was better than “that other guy”. No one else did, apart from a few bad poetry enthusiasts and hobbyist miners.


Reviewers: James Ferris, Fabian Lapham, Alex Malone
Soundboard: Andrew Cherry

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S02E02 – The Time Tunnel

FtL S02E02 – The Time Tunnel
An old 60s sci-fi gets remade for 2002 – now with more Nazis, bubonic plague and false rape allegations. Fun for the whole family.

 
 

For everyone who watched Stargate and thought, “I wish this had more Nazis!”, comes “The Time Tunnel”. A remake of the classic 60s sci-fi series in which a group of scientists, soldiers and a polygraph operator with a peanut obsession travel through time, saving history from the reality warping effects of a “time storm”.

So if you’re curious about what would happen if New Jersey didn’t exist, what the hell a “time storm” is or what it it takes to make Ferris sympathise with Nazis, then this episode is for you!


Reviewers: James Ferris, Fabian Lapham, Andrew Cherry, Harry Brimage
Soundboard: David Shaw

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S02E01 – Tarzan In Manhattan

FtL S02E01 – Tarzan In Manhattan
It’s a Tarzan for the go-go 80s when the ape-man wages war on crime and pants in the Big Apple.

 
 

The season premiere of Failure to Launch examines the pilot for Tarzan In Manhattan, a fun, light hearted romp involving murder, animal torture and post-traumatic stress disorder.

When Tarzan’s ape-mum (she was in the book), played by some dude in a gorilla suit (not in the book), is shot and inexplicably left behind by poachers, Tarzan heads for the Big Apple to track down her assassins (sort of in the book). Along the way he meets Jane (she was in the book), a tough New York cabbie (not like that though) and her dad, a PTSD-suffering ex-cop private detective whose favourite disguise is Elizabethan dandy (fuck the book at this point).

Can Tarzan keep his clothes on long enough to find his mother’s killer and rescue his chimpanzee friend before Jane’s dad shoots yet another person with one of the several guns he probably shouldn’t own?


Reviewers: James Ferris, Fabian Lapham, David Shaw
Soundboard: Andrew Cherry

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

The Failure To Launch Season 1 Best-Worst Wrap Up

The Failure To Launch Season 1 Best-Worst Wrap Up

Now that Season 1 of Failure to Launch has wrapped up, and Season 2 won’t appear until mid-March, it’s time to crack out some filler content a Best Of/Worst Of Wrap-up!

Read on, and let the Failure to Launch panel run you though their personal best & worst pilots. Pilots picked from the ones they watched, mind you, in case you were wondering why Work It wasn’t everyone’s worst pilot.


James Ferris, Host & Pilot Excavator

Ferris’ Best

3rd Best: Where’s Rodney?
I think I might be judging these shows on a different criteria than the others. I can only marvel at the fact that some of these shows made it as far as they did, and that brings me a joy stronger than any quality of writing or performance or production value. For example, Where’s Rodney? isn’t a good show, it isn’t an okay show or even really a show at all. It barely even counts as a thought.

This show, about a boy with the magical ability to summon smutty old comedian Rodney Dangerfield to him whenever he needs life advice, is truly bewildering. The fact that it was developed to any point beyond somebody’s opium-induced fever dream, let alone all the way to the pilot stage, is a true mystery and one that I have obsessed over ever since. As a curio of television history, Where’s Rodney? can only be marvelled at.

2nd Best: Annihilator
Unlike the other two shows in my top 3, Annihilator is one that I would sincerely watch. I could go on about the wide reaching conspiracy plot, the constant homage to The Terminator, the amazing synth soundtrack – occasionally interrupted by David Bowie – or many other reasons I would have loved to see this go to series.

But I won’t. I will however point out that in one scene, a lady robot rips her own arm out of the socket and chases a man down the street, beating him with it. Why haven’t you watched this already? What is wrong with you?

The Best: Bates Motel
I doubt that Bates Motel will appear on anyone else’s list. It’s overlong, boring, horribly written and without doubt the single most amazing piece of television I’ve ever seen. Try as I might, I can not even being to theorise how a tv series spun off from the classic horror movie Psycho could have turned into a fish out of water comedy about a lonely mental patient living with a runaway in a chicken suit and throwing sock hops for the ghost of Jason Bateman. But here we are.

There is no greater mystery in my world than how this show came to be. It haunts me.

Ferris’ Worst

3rd Worst: Fuzz Bucket
A whimsical adventure comedy about a young boy and his magical furry friend without a single drop of whimsy, adventure or comedy. This series should have been a straightforward rip-off of E.T., but was somehow turned into the most depressing, bland slice of real life drama imaginable. For the first 40 minutes you could honestly believe this is the sad story of a young boy slowly disconnecting from reality, tumbling further into hallucination and madness as his family continuously fail to notice or care.

Then, after mixing a magical concoction of household chemicals together (based on the advice of a voice only he can hear), a filthy, garbage eating rat monster appears before him. The fact that it appears before him without any skin shows you how far out of their way the creators went to make this darker and more disturbing than it had to be. This vision of a peeled Gobbledock made me wish I actually was watching a story of a child suffering from mental illness amongst an uncaring family, instead of this infinitely more disturbing nightmare.

2nd Worst: Young MacGyver
Yaaawwwwnnnnn… This is another show that has no right to be as dull and dragging as it is. You just take MacGyver and make him younger and sexier. Okay, so casting someone sexier than Richard Dean Anderson is genetically impossibility but other than that, it’s not that hard is it? Instead, we get a MacGyver who is only capable of building explosives out of other explosives and fights terrorism by shaving people’s heads and causing avalanches. Why? Who cares? This thing bored the hell out of me.

The Worst: Work It
This was an early one, but it remains one of the absolute worst things I’ve ever seen. If this series had been made in the 70s or 80s, the horrible jokes, lousy production values and mind blowing levels of sexism would make it a mild curiosity at best, but this show is only two years old. Destiny’s Child have been and gone, dispensing independence to women world over, and yet here was a major network sitcom still making jokes about the rape scene from The Accused. Just awful.

It really says something about me that I have all the other episodes of this show, and though I know I will never ever watch them, I still can’t throw them out. Send help.


Fabian Lapham, Rankled Nerd Panellist

Fabs’ Best

3rd Best: Wonder Woman
Perhaps it’s nostalgia for our very first episode (we were all so young then, so innocent), but after 27 episodes, the sheer batshittery of David E. Kelley’s Wonder Woman still stands out in my mind as a cultural curiosity, as it might for you if you’re a fan of DC superheroes or prolific TV show-runners who have gone mad with power.

2nd Best: Manchester Prep (aka Cruel Intentions 2)
Again, I feel this one is somewhat anchored to a sort of nostalgia. I never saw it growing up, but it’s predecessor certainly left a mark on my adolescence. Embarrassingly, I’m starting to remember things from the late 90’s with a non-ironic fondness. They say it happens in the winter years…

The Best: 1994 Baker Street: Sherlock Holmes Returns
Once again, a strong 90’s-ness to this pilot has certainly curried my favour, but there’s much more to it than that. Though it’s definitely bloated and overlong, this stupid show still has some very enjoyable comedic moments – some that are very knowing, and others that are definitely in the “so bad it’s good” territory. It’s a delicate symphony.

Fabs’ Worst

3rd Worst: Doorways
Sorry, G.R.R. Martin, but you offered a show with magic doors and inter-dimensional terrorists, and you made it boring. I still haven’t watched Game of Thrones, is it as bad as your first attempt at television? I bet it is. I’ll probably never watch it now based on this educated deduction.

2nd Worst: Osbourne’s Reloaded
This one was really hard to get through. Seriously, fuck this obnoxious piece of shit, it can fuck right off.

1st Worst: Bates Motel
Sweet Jesus, was this thing a mess. Out of the pilots I watched that were too long, this one felt like it was the longest. As we mentioned on the podcast, the story feels like it’s a wandering anecdote that a drunk old man is telling you while you’re stuck sitting next to him on a bus. Terribly shot, too.


David Shaw, Indignant Panellist

Dave’s Best

3rd Best: 1994 Baker Street: Sherlock Holmes Returns
Sherlock Holmes comes back from the dead in mid 90’s San Fransisco, with nothing but the clothes on his back and his trusty stash of cocaine to solve a series of murders committed by either tigers or tiger-themed animals. Best premise ever.

2nd Best: Annihilator
Okay, so our protagonist doesn’t have a personality, he doesn’t seem overly bothered by the death of his fiancee or his dog, there’s a four-minute video clip of David Bowie’s Ashes To Ashes just inserted in the middle of the show, and it seems to be suggesting that all women are robots.

But for all its flaws (and yes, there are many), Annihilator is one of the most genuinely entertaining shows we’ve covered. Annihilator seems to be simultaneously ahead of its time, and behind its time. It’s the kind of high-concept, high-budget serialised action-drama that we see all the time on network television today. But at the same time, Blade Runner, Stepford Wives and The Terminator had all well and truly happened by the time this was made.

The hardest thing to figure out about this show is whether it’s taking itself seriously. The cinematography, special effects, and subject matter would suggest that it’s a gritty, pompous sci-fi melodrama. However the evil robots are called Dynamo-tards, we see the same car chase three time, and our hero shoves a live cat down his pants. So it’s hard to know what to make of the show. Not perfect, but it’s a lot of fun and it’s never less than intriguing.

The Best: Tag Team
I genuinely loved this. I would have been a huge fan of this show if it got picked up in 1991. Actually, I would be a huge fan of this if it got made today. Having heard a podcast with Roddy Piper and Jesse Ventura discussing Tag Team, I’m fairly sure they’d still be happy to do it, so let’s make it happen!

Again, it’s not perfect. People complained that being good at wrestling doesn’t necessarily mean that you would be a good police officer. People also complained that being good at wrestling probably wouldn’t protect you from gunfire. I can’t explain either of those things, I also can’t explain what accent Jesse Ventura was trying to do, or his wardrobe, or his fascination with grapes. Despite this, it was refreshing to see a show where everybody were at least trying to create a great piece of entertainment. It was this buoyant enthusiasm that made Tag Team so much fun to watch.

Dave’s Worst

3rd Worst: Young MacGyver
The premise of MacGyver is fairly simple, a government agent applies practical scientific knowledge and uses everyday objects creatively to solve otherwise unsolvable problems. The premise of Young MacGyver is even simpler, a young guy takes a guess at how to solve otherwise unsolvable problems, and it turns out he’s right (but never explained how).

Setting this light-hearted action adventure romp in a post-9/11 America is very troubling. MacGyver was a non-violent, ethical government operative with integrity. But for some reason we see Young MacGyver gleefully torturing terror suspects, and shooting at people.

The worst thing about this show is that it lacked imagination, which was the entire point of the MacGyver character. He was imaginative, creative and was able to improvise. Young MacGyver (or should I say, Clay MacGyver?) on the other hand, well, he solves the avalanche problem by causing another avalanche. A good avalanche (that’s a thing right?).

This show is littered with terrible writing, but that first scene in the Phoenix Foundation is just breathtaking. After spending a good two minutes detailing each one of Young MacGyver’s positive traits, the General actually recounts an entire conversation between him and Real MacGyver verbatim. The General stops short of doing an impersonation of MacGyver, but the damage is done. I almost felt sorry for them, the Phoenix Foundation set was basically a shrine to Richard Dean Anderson, it was decked with framed photos of him and that mullet and they had obviously written that scene for Richard Dean Anderson, and he clearly wouldn’t do it. I don’t blame him.

2nd Worst: Earth Angels
It would have been easy blame the failure of Ann Rice’s supernatural drama series on timing. Though I think we can all agree that New York wasn’t the best city to stage an epic good vs evil battle between angels and demons in 2001, the show had other flaws. The most obvious of these flaws is that nothing really happens. Most pilots that we review fail because they try to be everything and succeed at nothing, but this doesn’t seem to be aiming at anything. All that happens in the entire episode is an angel lands on Earth, a woman dies, and a crow flies out of somebody’s head. But even that description feels like an overstatement of the excitement delivered here.

The performances are flat, the script is weak and there’s no energy. It is an utterly drab and lifeless mess. Despite being mercifully short, Earth Angels seems determined to waste every second of its limited screen time either wandering around aimlessly or engaging in philosophical debate that never rises above; “It is better being good”, “No it isn’t, being bad is better.” I know I’m not the target audience, but it’s really difficult to imagine who this is for. To be honest, I don’t think anyone involved could tell you either. It really doesn’t seem like anyone cared about this show.

Fair enough too, it’s a complete waste of time.

The Worst: Work It
I am a worse person for having seen Work It.

Unbelievable that this could of aired in any time ever, let alone in 2012. This is the most offended I have been watching television; it’s almost impressive just how offensive Work It manages to be within the space of twenty minutes. It’s misogynistic, racist, transphobic, and probably bigoted in several other ways that I haven’t understood. But even if it wasn’t offensive, it’s still terrible. So many scenes end with the characters just sort of shrugging, and the actors are standing around like they’ve forgotten their lines. Work It fails on almost every level, there is no silver lining or saving grace that justifies its existence.

Utterly horrendous. Do not watch.


Harry Brimage, The King of Burgers

Harry’s Best

3rd Best: Fearless
Fearless is about an FBI or CIA or something something agent who was born without the Gene for Fear, which gives her super powers that manifest in the form of no facial expressions. Despite the flawed premise, the characters aren’t totally unlikable, and at least one person involved in the making of Fearless knew what fun was.

I admit that I’m putting a pretty flower on some dried shit, but of all the bad shows, I wanted to like this one the most.

2nd Best: Bates Motel
Bates Motel is a spin off of the Alfred Hitchcock movie Psycho. We follow the story of the heir of the Bates Motel (and not Norman’s turkey) trying to bring the motel back the way Norman would like it and never kill anyone, despite being manipulated by everyone he encounters, from the evil bank dude who tries to Scooby Doo villian not-Norman out of the Motel to a squatter in a chicken suit. Naturally, I found myself giddy with bafflement and confusion.

By no means am I recommending Bates Motel, but it is such a mistake the entire way through that it remains utterly memorable, and that is a lot more than most of these shows can claim.

The Best: Miracle Man
“MONDAY IS… TWO DAYS AWAY”

Five stars. Mwa.

Harry’s Worst

3rd Worst: Steel Justice
A show about a man battling depression, corruption and more depression and a giant robot dinosaur that comes out of his dick to fight crime and breath fire. Steel Justice is like a fucking slog through a swamp. Where dinosaurs would live. Except there aren’t any.

This show promised me a giant Robot Dinosaur! Where’s my giant robot dinosaur, show?! Not appearing until the last 10 minutes in this 90 minute marathon of weird existential-time-travel-dead-kid-noir-global-warming-saxophone-solo-fuck-up of a show, its first and final appearance is OK.

Not good enough.

2nd Worst: Hysteria
This is a slow, dumb show about how teenagers are bad and YouTube is bad and everyone is bad and the whole world is bad and dark and out to get you and also there’s a literal virus that is spread through social media. Hysteria gets so caught up trying to be dark and grim that all the characters are dour and unlikable and mostly shitheads.

What it does achieve by the end is being the saddest episode of Scooby Doo ever made. And this isn’t the only show I’ll compare to Scooby Doo.

The Worst: Emily’s Reasons Why Not
Emily is a fuck up who fucks up all the time, but how can she get a fuck if she’s such a fuck up? Shut the fuck up for 20 minutes and meet the most judgmental awful human being on the planet.

After a huge marketing campaign, this show received a huge backlash and was pulled after its first episode.

Made by what must be a Turducken committee (that is a committee stuffed in a committee stuffed in a…) it manages to fit in EVERY stereotype and offend everyone on the way. This show wanted to be Scrubs and Sex in the City and it is, but a monster. Run.


Alex Malone, Contrarian

Al’s Best

3rd Best: Annihilator
Actually just an awesome show. Awesome premise. Awesome car chase (x3). Awesome woman using her own arm as a cudgel.

Also the entirety of David Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes. Which is a pretty decent song.

2nd Best: Invincible
“Okay Billy this is your big scene. Your big moment. The big inspirational speech to rally the troops to stand against the forces of evil. Only, I’ve been thinking… Do you think you could deliver it while riding a small BMX bicycle?”

Billy Zane looks back with a glint in his eye.

“Somebody fetch me a fro-yo”

If the goal of a good network pilot is to be a baffling and surreal piece of performance art (and I think we can all agree that it is) then this is an unmitigated triumph.

The Best: Tag Team
Joyous from start to finish, except for that bit where they murdered that guy. The only show we’ve watched where I could say I would have watched it religiously.

Now, granted that’s because I was seven when this came out and I would’ve watched ‘Work It’ if it had “Rowdy” Roddy Piper in, but the fact remains.

Al’s Worst

3rd Worst: Wonder Woman
I don’t know, maybe it’s just nostalgia for our first episode or some sort of misplaced sentimental longing for a simpler time, but Christ I hate libertarians.

2nd Worst: Cruel Intentions 2: Manchester Prep
As I said on the podcast, the worst part about Cruel Intentions 2 was that I saw it when I was 15 and didn’t despise it. I hate my 15 year old self. In my defence, it does feature boobs.

The Worst: Work It, Obviously.
Sometimes in my worst imaginings, this is how I think people who aren’t white, middle-class, straight males think that people who are white, middle-class, straight males think… which conveniently enough makes me the real victim here.

Add that to the list of offensive stereotypes this show trots out.


Andrew Cherry, Shouty Soundboard/Shouty Panelist

Doing a “Top 3 Bottom 3” list is a bit tricky for me, because 3+3=6, you see, and I only watched 5 pilots this season. One of the benefits of being the sounding board is not having to watch this dreck.

And when I say dreck, I mean, dreck. I cannot understate just how hard it is to sit through some of these pilots. As much as you might enjoy watching and dissecting awful TV, unless it’s “sets off some sort of endorphin-packed gland near your cerebral cortex” level enjoyment (I’d recommend surgery), you’re either going to be very, very bored, or bewildered to the point of intense aggravation when watching some of these.

Most of the pilots aren’t quite that bad though. So, as I don’t have the runs on the board for the Top/Bottom 3, I’ll rate the pilots I did see on a sliding scale for watchability. You (are about to) have been warned.

1st Worst: Bates Motel
Truly great so-good-it’s-bad stuff still needs to frequently entertain you, usually by doing new bad stuff. While Bates Motel has many beautifully awful moments, they aren’t frequent enough. Between these moments you are going to be SO. GODDAMMED. BORED.

It’s too long. It’s just too long.

“Should I watch it?”: Only if you have that gland thing.

2nd Worst: Fuzzbucket
While Fuzzbucket isn’t as aggravatingly bad as Bates Motel, it also doesn’t have as many wonderfully bad moments either. No big peaks and troughs, just generally poor for 90 mins. An overlong entry into the “invisible alien friend” genre made by people who didn’t understand what makes that genre work.

The cop offering a ride in the squad car to the grieving parents is pretty funny, though.

“Should I watch it?”: Depends how you feel about sexy home invasions.

3nd Worst: Still Life
Sappy family dramas aren’t the sort of thing I’d watch. This makes it hard for me to speak about Still Life’s strengths as a genre piece. There are other things I can talk about though – the judgy arsehole ghost narrator, the weird strip club maybe-a-vampire stalker, the conflict-free plot with the parents, and the twist ending that involves the main character not bothering to let his family know he was alive at any point in THE PAST YEAR.

This was a dumb show. I don’t think “being dumb” is a staple of the genre.

“Should I watch it?”: Yes, after you’ve read my fanfic that ties it into Supernatural’s canon.

4th Worst: 17th Precinct
Although I chucked on my Comedic Angry Pants™ for this episode, 17th Precinct really wasn’t that bad. It’s perfectly watchable, the actors all do a decent job, and the basic idea is a good one.

That faint praise aside, it’s impossible to get past the laziness of the world building. They started with a huge, change-the-entire-world concept, and brought almost nothing to the table beyond one-for-one swap-outs (wat if printers were steam pipes such magic wow) and a couple of sorta-cool ideas. The lost opportunity is kind of annoying.

“Should I watch it?”: The twist is amazing. I can’t take that away from them.

Actually not bad: Global Frequency
Of the shows I watched, Global Frequency was the one that seemed like it could have worked. Apart from a couple of odd choices, it hit a 7 Days/Buffy/MacGyver/Xena/Lois & Clark-ish Action-Light-Sci-Fi TV note that I have a soft spot for.

That said, if this had been picked up and I saw this on TV, I probably wouldn’t have kept watching. Even the good pilots aren’t THAT good.

“Should I watch it?”: Eh.


FtL S01E27 – Miracle Man

FtL S01E27 – Miracle Man
Jesus fights demons (kind of), builds houses, spreads love and doesn’t care if his friends die in modern-day Phoenix. Made on a budget of 1 potato.

 
 

In this Christmas themed season finale of Failure to Launch, we examine the pilot for Miracle Man. An independently produced pilot, shopped to a few Christian networks, the series asked the question, quote, “What would it look like if Jesus came today?”

By “came”, they mean lived in Phoenix repairing foreclosed houses, running a faith healing/prayer group out the back of some store that’s totally not a cult, saving children from car accidents with his psychic power* and not bothering to use those powers when blue demons arrange for his Best Buddy™ Lazarus to die in a car accident as a way to crush JC’s will.

Luckily for JC, he doesn’t really care if his friends die, so… all good.

*Yep.

Reviewers: James Ferris, Harry Brimage, Lucy Shaw
Soundboard: Andrew Cherry

 



Still not clear if he was curing or imparting the cancer.



Jesus and the resurrection of Lazarus with shit lens flares.



The off-screen demon Ferris might have mentioned once or twice.

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S01E26 – Annihilator

FtL S01E26 – Annihilator
A newspaper editor’s wife is replaced with a murderous robot. He kills it, along with several other female robots, but not before having sex with most of them. No one believes him.

 
 

Terminator fans and robot fetishists rejoice! This week’s pilot features a secret conspiracy of world domination, and an inexplicably British protagonist who sleeps with not one but two lady robots.

In 1986 NBC commissioned Annihilator, a pilot about a man who discovers that humans are being replaced by dog killing, limb severing, chain smoking robot dopple-gangers. Obviously, his immediate reaction is to tell everyone and act completely surprised when nobody believes him. His second plan is to perform a ridiculous amount of property damage, trust anyone who puts out, and then frame his crimes on homeless people.

Longtime listeners will understand this – get ready for an Invincible-level pilot.

Reviewers: James Ferris, Lucy Shaw, Alex Malone, David Shaw
Soundboard: Harry Brimage

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S01E25 – Steel Justice

FtL S01E25 – Steel Justice
Promises a giant, fire-breathing robot Tyrannosaurus. Delivers a Blade Runner ripoff about a man going mad with grief over the death of his child.

 
 

It was 1992, and NBC aired a made-for-TV movie (code for failed pilot) based around a crime fighting robot dinosaur. You would think that NBC’s blatant cash in on Robosaurus‘ popularity would actually feature the 2.2 million dollar car eating machine, but if you’ve been listening to our show then you should know better.

In a post global warming future (it’s a little bit warm), we follow the story of David Nash, an ace cop trying (and failing) to come to terms with the death of his child. He puts everything in jeopardy to pursue his son’s killer, a man who pretends to be a Colonel and has a warehouse full of super suspicious boxes.

Then Nash meets a man who claims to be magic and ejaculates up the ghost of his dead son in the form of a giant robot Dinosaur after he learns to believe in himself. Not a comedy.

Reviewers: James Ferris, Harry Brimage, Fabian Lapham
Soundboard: Andrew Cherry

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S01E24 – Hysteria

FtL S01E24 – Hysteria

This week’s failed pilot TL;DR:
Mena Suvari investigates a virus spread via social media that infects 3 people, sort of. Entire town panics. Made in 2014(!).

 
 

Earlier this year, Amazon boldly invested in a TV pilot that tried to dissuade their customers from using the Internet. Unfortunately/fortunately for Amazon their risk didn’t pay off, and now we may never really know the mysteries of the “Hysteria” universe.

A universe where everyone freaks out over a contagion that only infects three people (maybe). A universe where Laura San Giacomo plays an elderly grandmother. A universe where the only cure for this mystery illness is not spending 9 hours at your computer watching the same YouTube video.

Might not be that implausible though, considering we live in a universe where a show that thinks a viral video could spread an actual virus was made in 2014 by an internet-based company.

Reviewers: James Ferris, David Shaw, Harry Brimage
Soundboard: Alex Malone

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S01E23 – Earth Angels

FtL S01E23 – Earth Angels

This week’s failed pilot TL;DR:
Angels & demons fight for the souls of humans with boring conversations and free tequila shots. Wishes it was The Matrix.

 

 

Anne Rice is one of the most beloved horror authors of the modern era. After the runaway success of her Vampire Chronicles, the middling success of her Lives of the Mayfair Witches and the bewildering publication of her middle school diary, Rice was ready to move to TV!

In 2001, she wrote the pilot for the original series, Earth Angels, detailing the secret war between armies of Angels and Demons for the souls of all mankind.

Although, it’s not really a war. More of a series of petty spats and arguments. And there’s really no armies, more like a volleyball team’s worth of angels and, like, 3 demons, absolute max. And it’s not really a TV show, because in a TV show stuff happens.

But it does have Krycek from the X-Files. So, there’s that.

Reviewers: James Ferris, Alex Malone, David Shaw
Soundboard: Fabian Lapham

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S01E22 – 1994 Baker Street

FtL S01E22 – 1994 Baker Street

This week’s failed pilot TL;DR:
Sherlock Holmes is unfrozen in mid-90s California to solve a bunch of tiger-based murders with nothing but the clothes on his back and a shitload of cocaine.

 
 

1994 was a big year for TV. ER. Friends. The episode of Ellen where she dated Nitro from American Gladiators. Which could explain how CBS executives dared to pass on the pilot for Sherlock Holmes Returns, in which the world’s greatest detective is unfrozen in 1994 San Francisco to solve a series of murders that involve throwing tigers at people.

With a wit as sharp as Holmes himself and an enthusiasm as pure as the drugs he’ll fight you for, this show will change the way you think about cement trucks full of beetles.

Reviewers: James Ferris, Fabian Lapham, David Shaw
Soundboard: Andrew Cherry

 



World’s Greatest Detective.™



Our hero gallantly defends his coke stash from a group of children.



Beetle murder. It’s a livin’.



Chances are they would have pussed out and dropped the tiger from the team by episode 3.

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S01E21 – Generation X

FtL S01E21 – Generation X

This week’s failed pilot TL;DR:
Painfully 90s teen X-Men come together to fight Jim Carrey’s version of Freddy Krueger (played by Matt Frewer).

 

 

It was 1996, and Marvel wanted to do a live-action X-Men TV series.

But these weren’t your granddad’s X-Men! Heck no! These were hip, young X-Men that no one’s ever heard of or cares about, with amazing new powers like sexual harassment, kinda ripping off Cyclops and being quite muscular for a girl!

When these kids go up against a dream invading pedophile (it doesn’t come up much, but it’s in there) it’s thrill-a-minute stuff packed with high impact diatribes about new age meditation techniques and electrifying casual misogyny!

Reviewers: James Ferris, Fabian Lapham, Alex Malone, Harry Brimage
Soundboard: Andrew Cherry

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S01E20 – Bates Motel

FtL S01E20 – Bates Motel

This week’s failed pilot TL;DR:
Norman Bates’ best buddy from the asylum inherits the Bates Motel, and tries to get it running again. Utterly, utterly baffling.

 
 

After Psycho 3 flopped at the box office in 1986, Universal thought TV might be a better home for the Psycho series. The success of 2014’s Bates Motel suggests that Universal had hit upon a good idea.

It’s the other ideas they had, though. Like Lori Petty’s chicken suit. Or Robert Picardo’s mental health treatment plan. Or Moses Gunn’s armed standoff with the police that no one cares about. Or the sleazy 80s banker’s plan for the Bates Motel. Or the bit where a 35 year old woman almost makes out with 17ish year old Jason Bateman.

It’s these other ideas that form the batshit curio that is 1987’s Bates Motel. It wasn’t picked up. You won’t wonder why.

Reviewers: James Ferris, Fabian Lapham, Andrew Cherry, Harry Brimage
Soundboard: David Shaw

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S01E19 – Global Frequency

FtL S01E19 – Global Frequency

This week’s failed pilot TL;DR:
An out-of-work cop very, VERY luckily stumbles across/into a spy agency whose primary weapons are Nokia 3310s. Based on a Warren Ellis comic.

 
 

In 2005, the unaired pilot for Global Frequency gained a little infamy; it was one of the first TV pilots to ever leak onto the internet. The WB had already passed on the pilot, so it’s possible whoever leaked it was trying to get the network to change their minds.

According to Warren Ellis, who created the comic this series was based on, the leaking annoyed the WB execs so much they killed the entire project, despite a positive reception it received from those who torrented it. That is possible, but with all due respect to Warren Ellis*, it may also have been killed because The WB wasn’t interested in a show about a spy agency who specialises in conference calls.

Reviewers: James Ferris, Alex Malone, David Shaw, Andrew Cherry
Soundboard: Fabian Lapham

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

*Seriously. Go read Transmetropolitan. Or Supergod. They’re amazing.

 

FtL S01E18 – FutureSport

FtL S01E18 – FutureSport

This week’s failed pilot TL;DR:
Dean Cain saves the world by betting Hawaii on a game of FutureSport, possibly the dumbest fictional sport ever created. Also stars Wesley Snipes as a “Jamaican”.

 
 

The year is 2025. The Hawaiian Liberation Organisation wants Hawaii to secede from the North American Alliance. War seems inevitable, until Dean Cain, the most popular man in the world, steps in and announces the war will be decided by a game of FutureSport, the dumbest fictional sport since Quiddich. The world agrees to this.

Turns out, in 2025, everyone in the world is a goddamn idiot.

Reviewers: James Ferris, Fabian Lapham, Alex Malone
Soundboard: Andrew Cherry

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S01E17 – Fearless

FtL S01E17 – Fearless

This week’s failed pilot TL;DR:
Rachael Leigh Cook is an FBI agent born without the gene for fear. Based on books from the author of Sweet Valley High. Dumb, and surprisingly dull despite a scene with an attempted milk drowning (really).

 
 

Gaia Moore (Rachael Leigh Cook) was born without the gene for fear (not a thing). Because of this, her body doesn’t produce adrenaline, so she has heightened strength and reflexes (also not a thing). The FBI send her undercover into an identity theft ring who are convinced she’s not a cop because she’s not scared of stuff (maybe a thing? Are hackers really dumb?)

Turns out, not feeling fear isn’t all that useful. Even against milk*.

*Just listen to the podcast. We’ll try to explain it.

Reviewers: James Ferris, Alex Malone, Harry Brimage
Soundboard: David Shaw

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S01E16 – Emily’s Reasons Why Not

FtL S01E16 – Emily’s Reasons Why Not

This week’s failed pilot TL;DR:
Heather Graham plays a single self-help book editor, in a sitcom that was written either by or for 15 year olds (contains repetitive use of the phrase “that’s gay” and a poo joke).

 
 

In January 2006, ABC had a lot invested in Emily’s Reasons Why Not. A racy, light-hearted comedy in the vein of Sex and the City, starring Heather Graham at the peak of her fame, and based on a best selling novel.
They spent millions on publicity, covered Los Angeles and Times Square in billboards and dropped it into a prime spot as the centrepiece of their post-football Monday night prime time. Then, after airing only a single episode, it was yanked from the air and disappeared immediately.

Some say their decision was a little rash. We say it was too little too late.

Reviewers: James Ferris, David Shaw, Harry Brimage
Soundboard: Andrew Cherry

 



Emily discovers her boyfriend’s stock photo model fetish.



Emily thinks this is poo. This actually happened.



This actor’s “happy” face.



This also actually happened. We’ve paraphrased slightly.

 

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S01E15 – Still Life

FtL S01E15 – Still Life

This week’s failed pilot TL;DR:
Jensen Ackles (Supernatural, again) brings his brother’s ashes back to his family after stealing them from the funeral a year ago. It’s 7th Heaven, but serious to the point of being sillier than 7th Heaven.

 
 

Still Life follows the Morgan family, as they struggle with the death of the eldest child, killed on his first day on the police force. It’s like 7th Heaven, if it was darker and had more people in strip clubs talking about the time a building collapsed inside their bodies or something.

Reviewers: James Ferris, David Shaw, Andrew Cherry
Soundboard: Harry Brimage

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S01E14 – Young MacGyver

FtL S01E14 – Young MacGyver

This week’s failed pilot TL;DR:
Jared Padalecki (Supernatural) stars in a 2003 attempt to make MacGyver current and sexy! We think. It was hard to pay attention due to intense boring. Really, really needed a Richard Dean Anderson cameo.

 
 

You may remember MacGyver, the mulleted TV action star who could escape from the stickiest of situations by improvising complex machinery out of everyday objects.

Young MacGyver focuses on his nephew, who can really only improvise bombs out of other bombs. And those bombs explode into big clouds of boring.

Reviewers: James Ferris, Lucy Shaw, David Shaw, Harry Brimage
Soundboard: Andrew Cherry

 
You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S01E13 – Osbournes Reloaded

FtL S01E13 – Osbournes Reloaded

This week’s failed pilot TL;DR:
The Osbournes who aren’t Ozzy drag Ozzy into a 50s style variety show. In 2006. An ill-conceived mess with a stunt that goes as badly as everyone should have expected.

 
 

Remember back in the mid 2000’s when we were all in love with the dysfunctional antics of the Osbourne family? Then remember by the late 2000’s when we were all completely over them? Well they didn’t!

In 2009 the Osbournes decided that the world hadn’t had enough of them yet and offered this attempt at a weekly live variety hour. The world has, so far, not responded.

Reviewers: James Ferris, Lucy Shaw, Fabian Lapham, Alex Malone
Soundboard: Andrew Cherry

 



…and then, for one fleeting moment, Kelly Osbourne saw herself as if for the first time. And she didn’t like it.



Be grateful. He was doing Juno next week.



His look there? Definitely the look you want on your future husband’s face on your wedding day.



The pot plant of love. (Check minute 48:50 of the podcast for Alex’s further ruminations on wedding pot plants.)



It wasn’t the good sort of tension.



The only shot of Buff Canapé Dude.



Not to victim blame, but these people came voluntarily to the taping of an Osbourne family variety show. They deserve worse than this.

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.
 

FtL S01E12 – Doorways

FtL S01E12 – Doorways

This week’s failed pilot TL;DR:
George R. R. Martin creates Sliders about 3 years before Sliders, but forgets to make it any fun. At all. Stars Poochinski’s partner, Robert Knepper and Red from That 70’s Show.

 
 

As the creator of Game Of Thrones, George R. R. Martin is responsible for the biggest show currently on television. But as Malcolm Gladwell once said, to be truly good at anything, you must do it for 10,000 hours.

Doorways was somewhere around his 36 hour mark. It’s like Sliders, but with weird alien sex slaves.

Reviewers: James Ferris, Fabian Lapham, Alex Malone
Soundboard: Andrew Cherry

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S01E11 – Tag Team

FtL S01E11 – Tag Team

This week’s failed pilot TL;DR:
Jesse “The Body” Ventura and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper get fired from wrestling and become cops, with surprisingly charming results.

 
 

If you were a broke, down on your luck wrestler, would you turn to fighting crime to pay the bills, or just star in a shitty TV action series about two broke, down on their luck wrestlers fighting crime to pay the bills?

In 1991, Jessie “The Body” Ventura & Rowdy Roddy Piper attempted to answer this question. They were incorrect.

Reviewers: James Ferris, Lucy Shaw, Alex Malone, David Shaw
Soundboard: Andrew Cherry

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S01E10 – Poochinski

FtL S01E10 – Poochinski

This week’s failed pilot TL;DR:
Peter Boyle is a detective. Then he dies, and his soul is trapped in a creepy puppet dog. Not as much fun as it sounds.
 

 
Throughout the 1980s, stories about cops teaming up with dogs who could solve crimes were all the rage. Then somebody had to go and take it too far.


Reviewers: James Ferris, Lucy Shaw, Fabian Lapham, Alex Malone
Soundboard: David Shaw

 



To be fair to Peter Boyle, that one 11-year-old did have a switchblade. Probably cool to pull a gun on pre-teens in that situation.



Gotta wonder where the dog’s soul went.



Making a no-CGI, 100% real puppet that somehow inhabits the uncanny valley is impressive, in an odd sort of way.

Also, watch out 1990 Pennsylvanians.



George Newbern’s look of shame is entirely appropriate.



This is the extent of their teamwork. Almost the extent of their police work, come to think of it.

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S01E09 – Invincible

FtL S01E09 – Invincible

This week’s failed pilot TL;DR:
Billy Zane is an immortal bad guy turned good guy who trains knockoff-planeteers to fight other Billy Zanes in this Matrix-era piece of martial arts themed batshit insanity. Filmed in Australia, also starring the guy from the Oak Hungry/Thirsty ads.
 

 
We don’t know how to describe Invincible. In lieu, here are some of the IMDB Plot Keywords:

Telekinesis. Katana Sword. Rave Party. Slow Motion Fight Scene. Billy Zane. Cigar Smoking.

Admit it: You’re intrigued.

Reviewers: James Ferris, Lucy Shaw, Alex Malone, David Shaw
Soundboard: Fabian Lapham

 

Invincible Location

Os’s home, to help illustrate our confusion.

Invincible Lightbulbs

The elemental power of “Fucking up art installations”.

Invincible Ribbons

Ribbons: Even less effective than you assumed.

Invincible CDs

Nailed it in one, DJ.

Invincible Club Spikes

Club spikes.

Invincible Bunnyhop

Yep.

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S01E08 – Nikki & Nora

FtL S01E08 – Nikki & Nora

This week’s failed pilot TL;DR:
Two female detectives, who are secretly lovers, investigate an overly-horrific crime in New Orleans. Being fairly progressive for its time doesn’t save it from also being really bad.
 

 
Nikki and Nora are two tough New Orleans detectives. Partners on their beat… and in the bedroom. Apparently back in 2004 the world wasn’t ready for a lesbian cop show. But ten years later, with progress marching on and society becoming more accepting of other people’s…

Oh wait. This is still just a terrible show.

Reviewers: James Ferris, Alex Malone, David Shaw, Harry Brimage
Soundboard: Fabian Lapham

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S01E07 – 17th Precinct

FtL S01E07 – 17th Precinct

This week’s failed pilot TL;DR:
A police department investigates crime in an alternate universe where magic has replaced science. A half-decent concept, let down by the most hilariously lazy/utterly insane execution we’ve ever seen.

 

 

Of the shows we’ve reviewed so far, this fantasy-set police procedural is the most high concept. Here’s the simplest way to explain it:

If you mixed Harry Potter with Law & Order and an incredible amount of not giving a shit, you’d get Precinct 17.

No GIFs. It was too boring.

Reviewers: James Ferris, Lucy Shaw, Alex Malone, Andrew Cherry
Soundboard: David Shaw

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S01E06 – Cruel Intentions 2 (Manchester Prep)

FtL S01E06 – Cruel Intentions 2 (Manchester Prep)

This week’s failed pilot TL;DR:
Amy Adams replaces Sarah Michelle-Gellar in a prequel to Cruel Intentions, where everyone tries to fuck the underage main cast. Including their step-parents. It’s meant to be sexy (very much not.)

 

 

Manchester Prep, recut & released as Cruel Intentions 2, was intended to be the prequel TV series to 1999s Cruel Intentions, using lesser actors to explore two rich, narcissistic teenagers incestuous relationship, and is exactly as classy as it sounds.

Watch it with your siblings. We dare you.

 


Reviewers: James Ferris, Fabian Lapham, Alex Malone, David Shaw
Soundboard: Andrew Cherry

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S01E05 – Fuzzbucket

FtL S01E05 – Fuzzbucket

This week’s failed pilot TL;DR:
A Disney “TV Movie” about a boy and his invisible friend. Was probably supposed to be whimsical & fun. Instead, has a creepy puppet and about half an hour’s plot stretched over 90 minutes.

 

 

In 1986, a Disney executive ran into a writers room, shouting, “We need our own E.T! Young boy, magical friend. Kids are eating that shit up! But all that magic and whimsy is old hat. Make it dark, gritty, and completely joyless!”

This Is What Happened Next.™

 


Reviewers: James Ferris, Alex Malone, Lucy Shaw, Andrew Cherry
Soundboard: David Shaw

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S01E04 – Work It

FtL S01E04 – Work It

This week’s failed pilot TL;DR:
Two unemployed men disguise themselves (poorly) as women to get jobs, because women control the world since the GFC. Not an alternate universe. Horribly offensive in all the ways you’d think, plus a few extra.

 

 

We’re breaking one of our rules by reviewing Work It, as a series was commissioned from this pilot. However, a) it was cancelled after 2 episodes, and b) this is the most misogynistic half-hour of television since Chris Brown was on The View.

 



The one on the left seems to believe women’s hips are only for birth,
and therefore contain no actual joints.


Reviewers: James Ferris, Lucy Shaw, David Shaw, Alex Malone
Soundboard: Andrew Cherry

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S01E03 – Aquaman

FtL S01E03 – Aquaman

This week’s failed pilot TL;DR:
The creators of Smallville gave Aquaman a go in 2006. It looks like 1996. Ving Rhames is in it. It’s real dumb.

 

 

Smallville, despite never being more than a mediocre show, managed to run for 10 seasons thanks to the popularity of Superman. Here’s what happens when you do basically the same thing, but replace Metropolis with a bunch of fish.

 

FrostedTipMan

This show was made in 2006. A period piece, presumably.


Reviewers: James Ferris, Lucy Shaw, Fabian Lapham, Alex Malone
Soundboard: Andrew Cherry

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S01E02 – Where’s Rodney?

FtL S01E02 – Where’s Rodney?

This week’s failed pilot TL;DR:
Rodney Dangerfield (of No Respect fame) gives a 15 year old kid life advice. By life advice, we mean schtick about how dumb Rodney’s wife is/his alcoholism. We’re still worried about that kid.

 

 

Rodney Dangerfield was a slobbish, alcoholic, kinda misogynistic standup comic, and as such, the ideal magical-teleporting-life-coach for a 13-year-old boy. At least, that’s what Hanna-Barbera thought when they produced the 1990 pilot for “Where’s Rodney?”


Reviewers: James Ferris, Lucy Shaw, Fabian Lapham, Alex Malone
Soundboard: Andrew Cherry

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

FtL S01E01 – Wonder Woman

FtL S01E01 – Wonder Woman

This week’s failed pilot TL;DR:
David E Kelly brings us a borderline-psychotic Wonder Woman who, when not running a billion-dollar multinational corporation that only makes Wonder Woman dolls, kind of fights crime, but mostly fights the justice system. Also stars Cary Elwes (Princess Bride, Men In Tights).

 

 

Sometimes, it’s quite difficult to put your finger on why a given TV pilot doesn’t work. This episode covers David E. Kelly’s attempt to resurrect Wonder Woman in 2011, and as such, wasn’t one of those times.

Reviewers: James Ferris, Lucy Shaw, Fabian Lapham, Alex Malone
Soundboard: Andrew Cherry

 

You can subscribe to the podcast, if you’re so inclined, via RSS or iTunes.

 

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