Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Pilot erroR - "Dafuq?" shows.....

Something a little different, but still within the spirit of this subject matter.
Sometimes, a TV show will be made, and indeed aired, which really shouldn't have been for one reason or another. More often than not, these shows will be pulled from schedules and archived, never to be shown in full again, and only referenced in the odd documentary here and there. Suffice to say that said shows are never given a second series either, and it makes you wonder sometimes as to exactly who gave the green light for these shows to be paid for by TV networks....leading viewers to wonder "what dafuq did I just watch?".

Heil Honey, I'm Home! (Noel Gay TV/Galaxy Channel - 1990)

Probably one of the more well known "dafuq?" TV moments. "Heil Honey, I'm Home!" was a 8 episode series that aired in the early days of what would go on to be called Sky Television.
The premise of the series was that Adolf Hitler and his wife Eva Braun were living in an apartment block with Jewish neighbours, and the shows humour, if you could call it that, was derived from a combination of Hitlers anti-semitic rantings, usually followed by him being outsmarted by the Jews in some fashion.
One episode aired at 9:30pm on the 30th of September 1990 before Galaxy channel (the station on which it was broadcast), quickly removed it from the viewing schedule, due to the massive number of complaints received from viewers who cited it as being tasteless, crass and anti-semitic amongst other things.
The writer and creator of the series, Geoff Atkinson, stated it was his intention to examine the process of the pre-war appeasement of the Nazis in an entertaining manner, so he decided the best way to do this was to create what he called a "farcical sitcom which lampooned American style 50s sitcoms in a satirical manner".

Viewers, and the board of executives at BSB didn't find it funny, and to date, the series has never been shown in full or released for home consumption.

World Series of Dating (BBC Three - 2012)

BBC Three had been trying, with a questionable degree of success, to recapture the BBCs dominance over the comedy genre, a position which BBC 2 had enjoyed for many years throughout the 1990s, but had fumbled and lost to SKY and Channel 4 as the millennium came and went.

One show which the Beeb hoped would be successful was "World Series of Dating", being as it had fly on the wall elements mixed in with a kind of quiz show atmosphere.
The premise of the show was that 6 men would attempt a "speed date" with 6 women, with the winner of each episode being decided by two faux-American accent sporting commentators who would make quips "in the style of" American sports commentators. During the various rounds, points would be awarded and penalties would be given by a man dressed as a baseball umpire.

Quite honestly, having personally watched a few episodes of this series whilst waiting for family guy to come on,  i really, really, really fail to understand what BBC Threes controller was thinking when they gave the green light for this show. Quite literally there was not a single laugh to be had from anything said or done on screen while this show was taking up space on the schedules, with the male contestants visibly uninterested in what they were supposed to be doing, and the female contestants either looking bored or revelling in the attention they were getting from strangers, all while two dickheads with dodgy fake accents talked about their own supposed sexual prowess etc.

After one production run of a dozen episodes, most of which were shunted to post midnight airing slots, and scathing reviews, the show vanished, never to be heard from again.

Show Me The Funny! (ITV - 2011)

ITV has always had a bit of a "hit and miss" relationship when it comes to stand up comedy. On the one hand, shows such as the "An Audience with...." series allowed many successful British stand up comedians to get an hours worth of airtime on a Saturday night prime time viewing slot, whereas ITVs numerous attempts to make a successful copy of the hit US Show "Saturday Night Live" have always been doomed to failure due to their over reliance on unknown or unpredictable alternative comedians.
"Show Me The Funny!" was an attempt to marry up stand up comedy with a fly on the wall type "documentary/journey" series, with he premise that 10 unknown (although this was most certainly NOT the case as it turned out) stand up comedians would compete for a place in the live final to be held at Hammersmith Apollo, with one of the unsuccessfuls being voted off each week by a panel of judges. The grand prize for the eventual winner being that they would receive a nationwide tour (backed up by the two runners up) and a DVD released before Christmas 2011.
While the concept was new and had the promise to be somewhat interesting, the main problem was that for a show which was centred on comedy...it wasn't actually that funny.
The majority of the shows hour long episodes, which ran over 7 weeks during the summer of 2011, focused mainly on the "journey" of the contestants, as they were taken to a new place each week and then expected to come up with a new 5 minute long routine based on their experiences of that week, in essence, limiting their material to purely observational and anecdotal comedy.
By week 3 viewing figures for the series had plummeted to almost nil, as viewers weren't interested in watching what was supposed to be a comedy program which featured little to no comedic content, other than from heavily edited down sets shown at the end, before the judges voted someone off.

The show was eventually won by the Irish/Iranian comedian Patrick Monoghan, who by the time he won, had already performed several times at the Edinburgh fringe festival, and had received several comedy awards.

The show was, understandably, not picked up for a second series.

Australia's Naughtiest Home Videos (Nine Network, 1992)

Produced as a spin off to the show "Australia's Funniest Home Videos", the show attempted to show some of the more "risque" clips sent in by viewers which would not normally be shown by the more family orientated version.
The story goes that on the night of transmission, the Director of Nine Network, Kerry Packer, was out to dinner with friends when he spotted the show on a television, and was so offended by what he saw, he rang the station up immediately and told them to "get that shit off the air now!". The show went to a commercial break at the halfway mark, and was then hastily replaced by a repeat of an episode of the American sitcom "Cheers".

Osbournes Reloaded (Fox - 2009)

Hoping to cash in on the success of the Osbournes previous docu-drama show, as well as the somewhat reknewed interest in variety shows, this strange program had members of the Osbourne family presenting a musical variety program.
After one episode had aired, reviews were scathing, causing many Fox affiliate channels to either shelve the show or play the remaining 5 episodes of the series in late night slots.
Fox themselves never aired any of the remaining shows.

Married...For Life (ITV - 1996)

The US sitcom "Married...with Children" had garnered a cult following in the UK (where it was most affectionately called "The Bundys" in our house and the homes of several friends) however in 1996 ITV decided to try and make a British version of the show. This concept had previously been successful in the form of "The Upper Hand", which was a British remake of the American show "Who's The Boss?", so, what on earth could go wrong?....
Starring Russ Abbott as "Ted Butler/Al Bundy" and Hugh Bonneville as "Steve Hollingsworth/Steve D'Arcy", the series lurched through seven painful episodes which saw gags from the original series "Britishified" and failing miserably, as well as the other members of the "Butler" household having little to none of the dynamic that the members of the "Bundy" family had in the original.
The series got shunted around as is the norm with these things, before never being mentioned again...but ITV didn't learn their from their mistake of trying to "Britishify" American sitcoms.....

Days Like These (ITV - 1999)

An attempt by ITV to remake the successful American sitcom "That 70's Show" which took the basic premise and characters and transplanted them from 1970s Wisconsin to 1970s Luton.
Needless to say, it lost a lot of what had made it funny in the transatlantic journey, with many jokes being recycled from the original, albeit with some slight name changes to link it to 1970s Britain, and one big mistake in making the character "Rasmussen" into an extremely racist stereotype of east European people.
Originally airing in a prime time Friday night slot, the show was quickly moved to a less conspicuous graveyard slot, before vanishing altogether with only 10 of the 13 filmed episodes being shown.

Minipops (Channel 4 - 1983)

A rather bizarre program which came about after a novelty music album, the titular "Minipops" was released featuring preteen children singing versions of popular songs was released in 1982.
Consisting of 6 30 minute episodes, the show featured children aged between 5 and 10 singing and dancing along to various pop songs.
Although initial viewing figures were somewhat encouraging, it soon dawned on the public, critics and network executives alike that the concept of a show featuring preteen children dressed in provocative clothing and singing various adult themed songs was somewhat disturbing, and soon enough, the show was quite rightly being described as a "paedophiles dreams come true".

The show was not renewed for a second series.

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