Our ongoing look back at sci fi / fantasy TV shows that were cancelled way too soon or pilots that never made it to series.
This 2004 pilot delivered a second attempt to reboot the infamous Irwin Allen series from the 1960’s (after the 1998 feature film misfired) and it went for a darker approach similar to Battlestar Galactica‘s spin on a campy old franchise that was just getting started on the Sci Fi Channel. It takes place in the late 21st century after Earth has fought off an alien invasion and humans are setting out to colonize the stars. Col. John Robinson (a decorated hero from the alien wars) leads the charge as one of the many to take his family into deep space and find a new beginning. But a second alien attack preempts these plans and Robinson and his family find themselves lost in space after averting disaster. Somewhat grim in tone, this show was definitely not going for the light, family drama angle and it also lacked a Dr. Smith character (who became the focus of the original series). It added another son for the Robinsons, David, who was captured by the aliens in the pilot and who presumably they would try to rescue in the series. And it did have a robot character which was voiced again by veteran Lost in Space actor Dick Tufeld. It was directed by John Woo and starred a young Adrianne Palicki as Judy Robinson and it showed some promise, though it definitely had some kinks to work out. But struggling WB, the network that ordered the pilot, decided to pass on it, probably because it would be too expensive for them to keep going on a weekly basis (and reboots weren’t all the rage on television at that point). Interestingly, the set of the the Jupiter 2 spacecraft created for the pilot was then sold off to the BSG production and was retooled as the Pegasus in that series. Currently, yet another attempt the revive the franchise is underway and Netflix has given a direct to series order for the reboot which will likely bow at some point in 2017. But if you would like to take a look at the 2004 version that failed to fly, it regularly shows up on YouTube (currently at this link) and it is worth a gander, for curiosity’s sake at least.
Aired: Never Aired
Developed By: Kevin Burns
Starring: Brad Johnson, Jayne Brook, Adrianne Palicki, Dick Tufeld