If you know anything about typical network TV, you know that each season, there are always pilots that get ordered, made, and generate hype…but the studio passes on the series and the other studios pass on the series, and the show fades into obscurity. Not if I can help it!
Enter Eden: here to save the quarantine. Yes, I know there is still some new content dropping, but it's not nearly what it would be, especially when we get to the fall lineup. RIP networks – good thing they all have streaming services. Oh, wait – they have all these pilots sitting around and a rapt audience literally at home waiting for new content to stream. Bonus points if these pilots either go somewhere or inspire a re-iteration of the show's premise! I present to you, my list of unaired pilots that will otherwise never see the light of day.
"Funny in Farsi"
Based on the book of the same name, ABC ordered a series based on Firoozeh Dumas' memoir in 2009. It shot early 2010…and was then passed on and never heard from again. It's a shame because it's about an Iranian family who emigrates to Newport Beach, California in the 1970s. An aside, Dumas sold to ABC for an adaptation because she saw no representation of her culture on TV; she lobbied and auditioned to narrate the show, but was not cast because she didn't sound "Iranian enough"…to tell her own stories. ABC, please quit being racist and release this, the book is hilarious and this show sounds amazing.
"Rex Is Not Your Lawyer"
This NBC gem had a lot of buzz around it back in 2007…until the writer's strike happened. It resurfaced and actually got made in late 2009, with a renewed buzz – mainly because David Tennant (fresh of Doctor Who) was cast in the main role. It was expected to shoot the whole season after winter break, but that never happened. No official word aside from Tennant being quoted as saying it's "truly and sincerely dead" at the 2010 Emmys, but the unofficial word is that after two screenings, it tested poorly and the network buried it.
"Heat Vision and Jack"
I am totally here for anything early Jack Black, but that's not the only name this pilot has going for it. Directed by Ben Stiller, written by Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab, it also stars Ron Silver as Ron Silver, Owen Wilson as a talking motorcycle, and (naturally) Christine Taylor. Yes, this pilot is up in full on YouTube, but despite FOX passing on this 1999 piece of absolute gold, they should give it a full "forgotten gems" release and bring back everyone involved to either create a new iteration or talk about where this was headed if they were actually picked up. It would have been absolutely at home on Adult Swim and I'm very bummed we live in the darkest timeline and not the one where this was given a sensible but beloved 4 seasons before the team moved onto other projects together.
"Lipshitz Saves the World"
Sadly, this Dan Fogelman comedy would just be one for posterity as it stars the late Leslie Nielsen, but it looks hilarious – like a similar vibe to The Good Place but in 2006. NBC, I'm glad you realized Fogelman's genius eventually, but you mean to tell me Nielsen could have been on my television every week, but you blew it? Surely you can't be serious…
Now, this is the most recent on the list and probably the only one that would have a prayer of actually being saved and brought back from the grave with cast and creatives intact if it were to air on Disney+. It's Marvel live-action that was earmarked for Freeform, but they passed on it, and then it couldn't find any of the Mouse's other properties to air on, so it was officially killed last September. But they actually filmed a pilot and judging from the cast and what I've gathered from it, it looks so good! We get a live-action version of Squirrel Girl! Disney, come on – you've got a whole marvel section on your streaming site – give the people the squirrels we want!
I mean, come on, networks – you've already paid for these shows, you have nothing to lose by releasing it out there on the internet and seeing if anything takes. I mean, best-case scenario, you find a hit that people love. What do you have to lose? Release the pilots, you cowards!