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
“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.

Punwatch S01E21 - Hugh Laurie Autographs ‘Dinosaur Sex’ Edition Monopoly With Lewd Signature
Punwatch S01E20 - Oprah Escapes Rude Robot-Armed Neighbour With Racing Catamaran

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