For those who don’t know the TV lingo, a pilot is a standalone episode of a television production created in order to test the waters and sell the project to a network. Nowadays networks use this format for most TV shows. First comes the pitch of the idea and concept, then they throw some budgetary money for a pilot, and depending of the outcome of the episode, test drives, focus groups, and/or critical reception, the executives decide if the project is worth of a greenlight for a full series. If so, executive notes or changes of mind from the creators and producers can cause several design or outline changes between the pilot and the actual show. This happens every time.
Now that paragraph is oversimplifying things of course. The development process of a TV show can be far more complicated than that, and take a lot more time too. But back to the matter at hand, Adult Swim has just released four brand new pilots online. Monday morning around noon eastern, as part of the brutalist tabloid-style homepage of adultswim.com that changes every week, they took advantage of the platform to present their new ongoing projects there, some of which were announced last year. That doesn’t mean just fresh new content to watch, but a very special chance for the viewers to get involved in development decisions, because these four pilots include an odd rating system from “Laugh” to “Kill This” where people can vote on each. The mix of receptions from the public this week will most likely influence the greenlight or rejection on these projects.
The last time Adult Swim has released some of their pilots on the web was in 2013, where all pilots competed on brackets with the votes of the public for the chance to air on TV, and among these pilots there were projects like King Star King, Mr. Pickles and Übermansion [now on Crackle]. Even now, there are a lot of other pilots that were announced years ago on the Upfronts but never got a press or public update, such as WorldStar Hip Hop, Team Unicorn, Sperm Boat or Harold & Kumar. Maybe some of them are still on production, or in development limbo, or simply canned inside digital vaults.
Here are the premises of each of the pilots, according to their press release from Turner:
- HOT STREETS – FBI Agent Mark Branski and his partner David French investigate supernatural phenomena, secretly aided by his niece and her cowardly dog, Chubbie Webbers. There will be alien invasions, government conspiracies, monster infestations, and more. This quarter-hour animated pilot is created by Brian Wysol, with Seth Green, Matt Senreich, John Harvatine IV, and Eric Towner (Robot Chicken), Justin Roiland (Rick and Morty) and Wysol serving as executive producers. Produced by Stoopid Buddy Stoodios.
- BAD GUYS – Taste. Design. Marketing. Looking fresh to death. These are things that are lost on modern-day terrorists, but one man is going to change the game forever. Bad Guys is a quarter-hour animated series about a bombastic, megalomaniac terrorist and his upstart terrorist organization; and their quest for global domination. World Governments and Fashionistas your days are numbered. Created by Paul Scheer (Fresh Off the Boat, The League) and Nick Giovannetti, produced by Bento Box.
- APOLLO GAUNTLET – Trapped in another world, a cop from Earth can finally fight crime the way he wants after acquiring talking magical gauntlets. Based in the Rug Burn webseries, it’s an animated quarter-hour pilot created by Myles Langlois and produced by Six Point Harness.
- THE HINDERBURG EXPLODES! – The quarter-hour live-action pilot is created by Rob Corddry (Childrens Hospital, Ballers), Josh Perilo (Wedlock) and Jonathan Stern (Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp). On May 6, 1937, the infamous Hindenburg zeppelin made its final voyage from Nazi Germany to New Jersey, where it exploded over a landing field. The Hindenburg Explodes! follows that flight and its unusual crew and passengers. The pilot is executive produced by Corddry, Stern and Becca Kinskey (Adult Swim Late Night Infomercials) and produced by Abominable Pictures.
So there you go. Are these any good? Would you want to watch more of them? Is everything like Rick and Morty now? Are you still bitter about an old cancelled show instead? Go to this site to watch and rate all of the pilots, you have all week to push the buttons.
Also, if you like to get more information, watch more obscure pilots and projects, or even plug your stuff or pitch your own show ideas for Adult Swim, then watch and get involved on the streaming show Development Meeting, live from Burbank, where VPs of Development Walter Newman & Cameron Tang listen to show pitches from callers, talk with show producers and special guests, show freshly baked exclusives and derail themselves with internet memes and WorldStar every Thursday at 7:30pm eastern time on adultswim.com/streams.