If TV’s new season looks disappointing, count your blessings. What you don’t get to see is 100 times worse than what makes it on the air. That’s the inescapable conclusion drawn from this revised version of Goldberg’s encyclopedic Unsold Television Pilots, 1955-1988.
He includes 300 wild turkeys that never got the go-ahead that transforms test runs into full-fledged series. Take America 2100, in which two stand-up comics are put into suspended animation and wake up in the year 2100, where they are befriended by a scientist played by Karen Valentine.
Would you believe Crash Island? Greg Mullavey and ex—Harlem Globetrotter Meadowlark Lemon are pilots whose plane, filled with a coed swim team, crashes on an island. Its only inhabitant, Pat Morita, a Japanese soldier, thinks World War II is still on.
You see? Suddenly Family Man—Gregory Harrison’s cloying sitcom—is starting to sound pretty good.
Some of the shaggy dogs Goldberg catalogs, such as Dan Aykroyd’s sitcom about Mars colonists, never got past concept stage. But most of these shows got shot before being consigned to richly deserved oblivion.
That brings us to another conclusion: Judging by the way actors like Teri Garr, Art Hindle, Barry Van Dyke, Paul Dooley, Granville Van Dusen and Carol Lawrence show up again and again in atrocious pilots, maybe people should pay more attention when they pick their agent. (Citadel, paper, $12.95)