The Top 6: Animated Pilots that Would Make Great Series

For every El Tigre or Samurai Jack that makes it to TV superstardom there's dozens of animated abortions littering the cutting room floor. I think it's a given that there are reasons (whatever they may be) for why these cartoons get snubbed before you or I ever get a good chance to see them, but the following are five that really should be given another shot. Who knows— maybe we'll someone out there is listening...

#6 Bam Margera Presents: Bamination

Bamimation is an MTV dropout courtesy of Bam Margera and the musical group CKY, all of whom appear in this pilot episode which involves shrink-rays, scalping and (naturally) Bam's adolescent sense of humor. As interesting as this one could have been given the Looney Tunes style of slapstick, the quality just doesn't really compare to the others listed here.

#5 Plastic Man

Now here's a pilot that lends itself to some possibilities. Take Plastic Man's "elastic" charisma and give it John Kricfalusi's (Ren & Stimpy) visual style style and you have a toon that's built for laughs and larger than life action. They even had the perfect leading voice actor in Tom Kenny of Spongebob fan.

#4 The Amazing Screw-on Head

Thanks to Andrew for pointing this one out to me. Seems as though the tv debut of Mike Mignola's quirky detective, The Amazing Screw-on Head, was actually intended to be a Syfy Channel exclusive back in 2006. The network put the pilot to an online vote (which it apparently lost) which is unfortunate given the its unique style of action and comedy, not to mention it's steampunk aesthetic. Fortunately the pilot was released on DVD, though a series still would have been pretty sweet.

#3 Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Animated Series

This animated pilot has some real "bite," especially since it was backed by creator Joss Whedon and comic scribe Jeph Loeb. Stuck in development hell thanks to Fox Kids ultimate demise, this pilot was produced in 2004 to try and sell the concept to networks. Unfortunately, the concept was deemed to adult-oriented for kids' programming yet not adult-oriented enough for prime time. Shame.

#2 Rat Bastard

Based on a late 90s comic created by Cliff Galbraith, this pilot features Detective Roscoe Rat in a Blade Runner-esque world where mutants and monsters are commonplace thanks to DNA experimentation gone wild. Part hard-boiled noir, part sci-fi Rat Bastard would easily become Adult Swim's crown jewel if given the greenlight.

#1 Korgoth the Barbarian

Without a doubt Korgoth is the most bittersweet pilot on this list. A classic spoof of Conan the Barbarian, this short was directed by none other than Genndy Tartakovsky (Samurai Jack, Star Wars: Clone Wars) with Diedrich Bader, Corey Burton, Susan Spano and Tom Kenny filling out the voice talent. This one has it all... it's funny, action-packed, loaded with ludicrous amounts of gore, and there's even a (semi)intelligent plot.


  1. Andrew Barr said...:

    you left out "the amazing screw on head" it was set to run on scifi but it didn't get enough audience votes or something stupid like that.

  1. Strange Kid said...:

    Really?! I never knew it was meant to be a full-fledged series. That makes it all the more bittersweet as it captured Mignola's style to the letter.

    'Screw-On Head' definitely bumps 'Bamination' off the list. Perhaps I should make it the Top 6...? :)

  1. Andrew Barr said...:

    Top 6's are always more awesome than top 5's cuz there's one more...

  1. Strange Kid said...:

    Touche, my good friend. Behold... the power of democracy at work!

  1. Taranaich said...:

    What's insane is that Korgoth is arguably a more faithful adaptation of the original Robert E. Howard stories than any of the films, television shows or cartoons. What does it say when the parodies are doing a better job than the supposed "adaptations"?

  1. Strange Kid said...:

    @Taranaich: Couldn't agree more. Seems as though the wellspring of creativity in mainstream media is all but a distant memory, even for "adult-oriented" late night programming like Adult Swim.

  1. Anonymous said...:

    Korgoth was too awesome. Although I miss the original Adult Swim line-up when "Home Movies" and "Sealab 2021" would come on. Got me through some tough nights at work!

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