TV Shows That Were Gone Before We Even Knew Them

You guys, did you hear about Tina Fey’s new show? No, not the one with our other other Internet best friend, Ellie Kemper. I’m talking about Tina Fey’s other show, Cabot College. Its premise sounds hilarious: an all women’s college suddenly starts accepting men. And it pains me to say this, but, oh gosh you guys, it’s not going to happen. I don’t know. It’s really sad. Watch this video of puppies trying to climb down stairs to make yourself feel better, because why would anyone want to deprive our world of more happiness, laughter, and Tina Fey? WHY? What are we being punished for?

Even though the show isn’t getting picked up, a pilot was shot, so I guess we can all sit patiently and wait for bits and pieces of it to slowly get uploaded to YouTube. At least it’s in good company; this isn’t the first time a show has shot a pilot that’s never made it to air, let alone seen the light of day. Sadly, some awesome-sounding shows were overlooked by network executives—but that doesn’t mean we forgot about them. Behold: six promising shows from TV’s vault that never even had a chance.

1. The Jake Effect, 2003

There’s no situation where anyone should cancel any Jason Bateman sitcom, but sometimes it happens. No, I’m not talking about Arrested Development. A few years before that show was canceled, too (sigh), Bateman was in another show, that didn’t even get the chance to air one episode. It focused on Bateman’s character, Jake, who quits his job as a lawyer and becomes a teacher instead. Greg Grunberg and Nikki Cox were also in it. The show eventually aired on Bravo (it was supposed to be on NBC) and if you search the Internet hard enough, yes, you can find the pilot.

2. Fearless, 2004

The synopsis for this show is simple and sounds a little bit like a very serious hour-long 21 Jump Street without any LOL. The show was about a group of young FBI agents who are trained to infiltrate “society’s dangerous new class of young criminals.” Also, Rachael Leigh Cook’s character, Gaia, was born without the gene for fear, so she was completely fearless! Get it? That’s the name of the show! Your eyes do not deceive you, either, that is in fact a young Ian Somerhalder. And yes, the entire pilot is online.

3. The Runner, 1998

Produced by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s company, LivePlanet, the premise of this reality show kind of sounds like reality TV grunt work. It was about a “runner” who was literally on the run, across the country, and needed to complete tasks, while not being captured by “agents.” Viewers could play along at home, and also volunteer to be either the runner or the agent. Clues were distributed across the Internet for us common folk to try and find this “runner” and if he avoided capture, he won a cash prize. It actually sounds pretty confusing, but we all would have watched it under the hopes that Matt and Ben would show up from time to time.

4. Emily’s Reasons Why Not, 2006

This show did in fact air its pilot, and the following day it was canceled. The show focused on Heather Graham as Emily who was “unlucky in love.” Crazy twist! Back in the day, it was considered a “less-risque” Sex and the City, and that didn’t really work well at 8pm on ABC. That’s a shame, because Heather Graham is a very funny lady and given the chance, this show probably could have worked through its kinks. The only episode that has ever aired is the pilot, though if you lived in Spain, Australia, or Slovenia, you got to experience all seven produced episodes before they disappeared into the great television abyss.

5. How I Met Your Dad, 2014?

Okay, so maybe this was never a full-fledged TV show, but the pilot for it was shot and it’s somewhere out there. Don’t you guys kind of wonder what it would have been like? Instead of focusing on the guy meeting the girl, HIMYD was going to focus on the girl meeting the guy. The girl was going to be played by Greta Gerwig. Replace narrator Bob Saget with Meg Ryan, and you’ve got yourself a standing date for the next nine years at 8pm on CBS. But sadly, CBS passed on the show. It doesn’t mean it still won’t happen in the future, right? I’ll patiently sit by my TV and wait.

6. Not Another High School Show, 2007

Jennifer Lawrence. Alison Brie. Parodies of your favorite ’90s teen shows. Everything is good about those three things, so what happened to this failed Comedy Central pilot that sounded so promising? Mike Bender’s TV satire, inspired by the success of Not Another Teen Movie, paired Brie (as “Muffy the Vampire Slayer”) with Lawrence in a mock teen high school series that never got to see the light of day. . . until this week, when a clip from the lost pilot was leaked all over the Internet. So what did we miss? See for yourself.

(Images via here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)