Feb 7

Back Door Pilot


The Discovering Trek blog reflected my frustration at the use of Season 2 screen time to promote a new show. Section 31 will no doubt feature again but this episode was a little heavy handed. However it did make my think what's the best back door Pilot? A backdoor pilot is defined in the following way;


" backdoor pilot. A backdoor pilot is a movie or miniseries that serves as a proof of concept for a full series, but may be broadcast on its own even if the full series is not picked up. The term may also be used for an episode of a currently running show that serves to introduce a spin-off. "


I think my favourite show introduced in this way is Millenium a spin off from the X-files. What are your favourite successful or failed attempts at spin offs?






The Millenium BDP was a thousand times better than the one X-Files did for The Lone Gunmen.

Stargate (1995) as a pilot for the series. I'm not sure this qualifies because the idea for a series may not have existed when movie came out.


Stargate: Atlantis from Stargate SG1 was pretty good. As was Crusade from Babylon 5.

Stargate did really well spinning off Atlantis, which I think I enjoyed more than the original.

I feel like Angel as a Buffy spinoff deserves an obligatory mention here, even though I wasn't as in love with it as Glenn!


And c'mon, guys. Who could forget Kirk's role in Boston Legal (spinoff of The Practice)?!

Angel was great though, especially ghost Spike and Lorn (!?)

I thought I was the only one, but it also turns out that one of our Gene Wolfe listeners also really loves this show. There might have to be a spin-off podcast in the future.

Feb 11

I came late to BSG, as others of you did, I guess because I had not been very turned on by the original series. It was basically contemporaneous with TOS, IIRC, and at the time I was busy writing NBC begging them to renew it for a third season. I remember writing with a pencil on a piece of paper and having to put a stamp on an envelope in order to send it. ;)


Another show which has not garnered a huge viewership, but does have an avid fan base, is The Expanse. It was on SYFY for three seasons and then abruptly cancelled last year. The fans organized to save it even going so far as to rent a plane toting a banner saying "SAVE THE EXPANSE" over Amazon HQ. It worked. The fourth season will be on Amazon this year, however obviously it, too, will be behind a paywall. It's about the nearer future in which people have colonized Mars and the asteroid belt, and features the crew of a space freighter as the core cast. It's well worth a look-see.


Speaking of SYFY, you all may not be aware that the creature designers on Disco were the judges on a show called Face-Off which ran for several seasons. I became acquainted with the work of Glenn Hetrick and Neville Page on that show, and it's no surprise to me that their aliens are so believable , , , and beautiful. I had almost begun to think that sculpting was a lost art until I watched that show. Michael Westmore was the mentor and his daughter McKenzie the host. If his name sounds familiar, it should. He did the make-up on the earlier series of Trek, and his father was a make-up artist in Hollywood, so they go back a long way. Face-off may still be available on demand. It aired its last season in 2018.

I've seen the first season of The Expanse, but never continued with it. Now that it'll be available on Amazon, I'll probably catch up ... during the Discovery hiatus. I'll have to check out Face-Off, as well -- I'd never heard of it, so thank you for the recommendation.

Feb 12

@Glenn The Expanse is pretty good, it's one of those programs that you have to pay attention to. You can't just have it on in the background and expect to understand it. The books are great and I am glad that it is continuing . I really like it.

Feb 12

@kev may Don't you find it generally true that F&SF films and TV shows tend to have rather complicated plots these days? I know I have to watch each episode of DSC more than once to fully grasp everything that transpired. In last week's ep - or was it the week before - I was thrown off by the quick cut of Ash washing blood off his hands. After a rewatch, I discovered it wasn't blood but paint, and that I had missed him scratching at Kol-Sha's face I think because I was reading the subtitles. Yikes! Anyhow, want to have fun sometime? Turn off the sound and just watch the pictures. You'll be amazed at what you've missed. Try the converse, too, just listen to the sound. I've done that and was shocked to find that it was easy to determine that an actor's voice had been dubbed, something that I hadn't noticed at all when watching the movie and "seeing" the words coming out of a different face. BTW, in the days before videotape had even been thought of, I recorded all 79 episodes of TOS on audio cassette tapes.

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Awesome @Glenn Shatner is hilarious in Boston Legal but my wife and I enjoyed the whole show

New Posts
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