Review Could They Have Been TV Hits?

Doctor Omega

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Maybe it never got past a pilot...

Maybe it never even got further than an announcement... then nothing!

Perhaps, after much hype, it staggered through one dreadful season before being taken out into the barn and shot.

What are the lost shows that maybe never got a fair chance?

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Cooper On HBO’s Abandoned “Shadow Country”


Along with the many shows that have become cultural institutions, HBO is also famous for leaving a pile of dead projects in their wake – some never made it out of development, others were shot or well into production before the plug was pulled.

In recent years David Fincher’s remake of “Utopia,” Steve McQueen’s “Codes of Conduct” and John Curran’s “Lewis and Clark” all died on the vine, and now “Out of the Furnace” and “Crazy Heart” director Scott Cooper has revealed one of his projects at HBO isn’t going to see the light of day – “Shadow Country”.

Speaking with Collider, the filmmaker revealed that he collaborated with “Deadwood” creator David Milch and actor Jeff Bridges on said TV series for HBO based on Peter Matthiessen’s novel of the same name. That series would have followed a Florida sugar cane planter and alleged outlaw who was killed by his neighbors in 1910:

“I will say that the writing that Mr. Milch presented me was as masterful as anything I’ve ever read. This was set up at HBO, and then there was a regime change and the new regime didn’t quite see the merit of what I thought would’ve been one of the great cinematic experiences.

But those things happen. So I certainly am interested in that because you can tell a story in a manner in which you can greatly develop characters that sometimes is difficult in a two-hour timeframe, and I think that the right piece will come along yet again. But that was something I was quite excited about that Jeff Bridges and David Milch were as well, and I think it would’ve been quite exceptional.

It was some of the best writing that I think I’ve ever encountered, and it happened because I was a longtime fan of the novel and Mr. Milch asked me to go to lunch and said that he was a big fan of ‘Out of the Furnace’ and he thought that he would like to write something for me, and I said well this is it.”

Cooper is currently developing several projects including the Guillermo del Toro-produced “Antlers” and the MLK murder drama “Hellhound on His Trail”. Timing wise the regime change he’s referring to was likely when president of programming Michael Lombardo departed and was replaced by current HBO chief Casey Bloys.

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If you are going to do a Doctor Who spin off...

Try to make it successful.....

After a much hyped launch the BBC quietly announced that there would be no second series as the show never really took off....


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Holmes & Yoyo is an American comedy television series that aired on ABC for 13 episodes during the 1976-1977 season. The series follows Detective Holmes and his new android partner Yoyo, on their adventures and misadventures, as Holmes teaches Yoyo what it is like to be human, while trying to keep his quirky partner's true nature a secret from criminals and fellow cops.


Today, Holmes & Yoyo is considered one of the worst television series ever made. It ranked number 33 on TV Guide's List of the 50 Worst TV Shows of All Time.[4] Although the series lasted only 13 episodes (undaunted by the failure of the series, ABC green-lighted a similar concept the same season called Future Cop with Ernest Borgnine alongside Michael Shannon; it had the same lack of success as Holmes & Yoyo), the influence of Holmes & Yoyo can be felt in other "robot cop" series and films that followed, most notably the RoboCop films and TV series[citation needed] and the 1993 series Mann & Machine, which used the same premise as Holmes & Yoyo but had more serious storylines and a female robot instead of the stout Yoyonovich. The 2013 series Almost Human once again revisits the theme.


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Future Cop is an American crime drama television series which starred Ernest Borgnine and Michael J. Shannon. It was based on the TV movie of the same name and predated RoboCop by ten years. The series was aired on ABC in 1977 and was re-piloted as "Cops and Robin" on NBC in 1978.[1] A veteran street cop gets an experimental android that has been programmed by the police lab for his new partner.]

Plagiarism lawsuit

Writers Harlan Ellison and Ben Bova filed a lawsuit against Paramount Television, ex-Paramount exec Terry Keegan, and ABC-TV, alleging that Future Cop was plagiarized from their own pitch for a TV series, which was based on their 1970 short story "Brillo." The lawsuit was settled in 1980, awarding Ellison and Bova $182,500 in compensatory damages and $154,500 in punitive damages.

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LAX 2194 (Unsold TV Pilot) Kelly Hu Ryan Stiles

A rejected television sitcom pilot from 2994 with Kelly Hu and Ryan Stiles working at a futuristic spaceport.

Matthew Perry Almost Turned Down Friends to Star on an Alien Baggage-Claim Show

Matthew Perry was attached to LAX 2194 when the Friends pilot was casting.


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The Vampira Show
Directed by
Hap Weyman
Presented by Vampira
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 50
Hunt Stromberg, Jr.
Camera setup RCA TK-30A
Running time 90 minutes
Original network
KABC-TV (ABC affiliate) (Los Angeles, California)
Picture format Black-and-white
Audio format Monaural
Original release April 30, 1954 – April 2, 1955
The Vampira Show was an American variety show hosted by Vampira. The series aired on the Los Angeles ABC television affiliateKABC-TV[1][2] from April 30, 1954, through April 2, 1955. The series was produced and created by Hunt Stromberg, Jr., and featured the Vampira character created by Maila Nurmi.

Though the show was unseen outside of the Los Angeles area, The Vampira Show has become a cult classic, spawning fan clubs all over the world.


The costume of Nurmi's Vampira character was inspired by the spooky The New Yorker cartoons of Charles Addams,[3] later adapted for the TV series The Addams Family in 1964. As Nurmi told Boxoffice in a 1994 interview, she had dressed as Addams' at-the-time nameless ghoul-woman to attend Lester Horton's annual Hollywood costume ball the Bal Caribe in 1953. Nurmi's ghoul woman beat out over 2,000 attendees to win the evening's prize for best costume where she drew the attention of Hunt Stromberg, Jr., a Hollywood producer. When Stromberg approached Nurmi about doing the character for television, Nurmi then re-imagined the character and costume as a buxom and glamorous single vampire instead of the mother of a family, and she named her creation Vampira. Nurmi told Boxoffice that her intention was to invent a unique creation of her own that was "campier and sexier" than the mute and flat-chested Addams character, in part to avoid plagiarizing Addams' intellectual property. Vampira was known to appear in broad daylight in full costume.[4] Her husband Dean Riesner refused to appear in public with his wife in her Vampira costume.[5]

Vampira's personality was based on elements of several silent film actresses including Theda Bara and Gloria Swanson. The Vampira character was influenced by the Evil Queenfrom Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and from the Dragon Lady character in the Terry and the Pirates comic strip.[6] The new costume was inspired by the artwork of John Willie featured in the fetish magazine Bizarre.

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Each show began with the spectral image of the wasp-waisted Vampira gliding through knee-deep fog down a dark corridor toward the viewer. At the end of her trance-like walk she would suddenly let out a long, piercing scream as the camera zoomed in on her face.[7] She would then smile and coyly remark, "Screaming relaxes me so." After that Nurmi would sit on a Victorian double-ended sofa decorated with skulls and introduce the movie of the night, sometimes pausing to play with her pet spider Rolo, talk with off-camera ghosts, torment her advertiser, Fletcher Jones, in amusing commercials, or drink a Vampira Cocktail at her poison bar. The show's theme music was from the Adagio movement in Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta by Béla Bartók and excerpts from Uranus from The Planets by Gustav Holst. Nurmi's salary for the show was $75 per week.

The show's concept of having a themed host introduce films was fresh at the time and had never been done before.[citation needed] In later years, stations all over the world would duplicate its format with similar hosts. The Vampira Show was seen in the Los Angeles area only but was featured in articles and photo spreads in Newsweek, TV Guide and Lifewithin weeks of its first broadcast. The show and its hostess were an instant success and led to Nurmi's appearance on numerous 1950s television shows including The Red Skelton Show and Ed Sullivan's Toast of the Town.[8]

In David J. Skal's book, The Monster Show, Skal revealed that James Dean, a friend of Maila's at the time before he became famous in films, appeared with his back to the camera in one Vampira episode, where she was dressed as a dominant schoolteacher and rapped his knuckles.[9]


Despite its popularity, the series was canceled in 1955 when Nurmi refused to sell her rights to the character to ABC.[10] Nurmi revived the series for a short time in 1956 on KHJ-TV.[11]

After the series' demise, Nurmi appeared in the cult film Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959), dressed as Vampira and credited under that name but out of character. Nurmi told Boxofficethat Wood's dialogue was so awful she sought and received permission to perform her entire role in a mute and spellbound manner she referred to as "Maila in an Alpha state." Nurmi also performed as Vampira in a Las Vegas stage show titled Come as You Are with Liberace.

Revival and changes

In 1981, KHJ-TV hired Nurmi to recreate The Vampira Show.[12] When Nurmi quit the project, a new character, Elvira (portrayed by Cassandra Peterson), replaced her. By 1982, Elvira's Movie Macabre was syndicated in over 80 markets across the United States. Nurmi later sued Peterson for copying the Vampira persona. However, the case was dismissed.[13]

In a 1987 interview with Skip Lowe, Nurmi stated there were over 150 similarities between Elvira and Vampira, including her closing remark "Unpleasant dreams, darlings"

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Episode status

The original Vampira Show has never aired outside the Los Angeles area due to it being originally broadcast live and not being preserved as kinescopes for future airings. No footage of the show is known to exist, however, in the 1990s a kinescope advertising the station's ability to draw clients to advertisers featuring Nurmi in character was discovered. The clips used in the kinescope were re-shot segments using a previous episode's script.

Scenes from the kinescope film were featured in the 1995 Finnish documentary about Nurmi, About Sex, Death and Taxes, and in the 2006 film Vampira: The Movie.

In 2007, the kinescope film of Nurmi in character was restored by Rerunmedia, whose previous work includes restoring footage from The Ed Sullivan Show and Dark Shadows. The restoration utilized the LiveFeed Video Imaging process developed exclusively for the restoration of kinescopes. The restoration was funded by Spectropia Wunderhaus and Coffin Case.

A reconstructed episode of The Vampira Show was released from the Vampira's Attic web site in October 2007. The release imitated a complete episode by using existing footage of the show combined with vintage commercials and a full-length feature film.

In popular culture

In 1994, director Tim Burton cast actress Lisa Marie as Nurmi/Vampira for the film Ed Wood. The film also featured a short recreation of The Vampira Show.


Doctor Omega

I do think HOLMES AND YO-YO could have been a laugh.

But my good taste senses were destroyed by both STAR TREK V and SUPERMAN IV, so my judgement is suspect.