What does a TV geek do for fun during summer hiatus? If you guessed watching YouTube, the internet phenomenon/web site where thousands of users post short video clips for all to view, you’d be correct, but not for the reasons you think. YouTube is definitely the hottest thing on the web since podcasting. Its freely open-for-upload web site allows anyone with a video file to put it up to share with the digital world. I just wasn’t that keen on all its home-made content: everything from less-than-funniest home videos of people acting drunk or stupid to Star Wars and Matrix spoofs. Some of these clips may have become the stuff of internet legend, but they weren’t the reason that I eventually hopped on board. It was the buried treasure that I found on YouTube in the form of unaired pilot episodes to defunct and not-yet-aired television series that really made my day.
Aquaman was the one that started it all for me. I read about how iTunes was selling the pilot episode of this cancelled-before-it-aired show. It was to be another Smallville (but with water) and actually shared the same creators. After a much-publicized development, which included the recasting of the lead character, the show did not make it to the fall schedule of the new CW network (much to my disappointment). When I heard about the first episode being available for free viewing on YouTube, I headed straight for the site that I had not visited up to that point. The episode was not bad, I give it a 3.5 out of 5.
Some of the dialogue was corny, but it was a well-paced story that set up a lot of potential for future episodes (too bad there won’t be any). They stick to the DC comics premise: a young guy with super swimming abilities learns that he is actually the prince of Atlantis (which exists secretly within the Bermuda Triangle). Factions among the sea beings are after him as a pawn in oceanic politics. I know, it sounds really cheesy, but these comic book elements are not the main focus. It’s more about a young man learning about his past and his place in the world. Check it out. (Because of file limitations, the entire episode comes in 5 separate clips.)
I also viewed two more pilots for never-aired shows. Fearless was about a young FBI agent played by Rachel Leigh Cook (famous as the ugly duckling from She’s All That) who (don’t laugh) is missing the gene for fear. This show almost made it to air on WB, but didn’t. The pilot was mediocre. It featured an undercover operation to crack an identity-theft ring and included Ian Somerhalder (who played the doomed character Boone from Lost). A bit of a snore, and I’m always skeptical of FBI shows where virtually all the characters are under 30 years old (2.5 out of 5). Check it out, if you want.
Finally, I’d never even heard of If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home Now, but it wasn’t half-bad (which is unfortunate for a show that will never air). It’s a sitcom about a huge cast who all move into a short-term luxury apartment complex in L.A. There’s a great mix of characters with all kinds of different back-stories. It had potential, and it was funny in parts. The person who gave me the most laughs was Jennifer Coolidge (last seen as Joey Tribbiani’s crazy agent on Joey) who played a single mom to a teenage son who moves to L.A. to make it as an actress. She’s brazen and stupid, but quite humourous. Other neighbours include a cute farm girl searching for her birth parents, a man who lost his wife and job in the same week, the hotshot corporate consultant who fired him, and a wacked out guy with a lot of mysterious cash. I give it a 3 out of 5. Check it out.
I also got to preview a couple of shows for the fall season that did make it on the network schedules (so maybe I’ll talk about them later): The Class (a pretty funny sitcom from David Crane, co-creator of Friends, for CBS—check it out) and Hidden Palms (a drama from Kevin Williamson—creator of Dawson’s Creek—for the CW. Think Desperate Housewives meets The O.C. Check it out.)
I don’t know how long it will be permissible to put this kind of stuff on YouTube so enjoy it while it’s there. Geek out on YouTube!