Pilot season must feel like Christmas to TV aficionados and executives, and with the changing landscape of the medium, radically different and more daring programming can find a home on streaming services, HBO, FX - anywhere that'll buy it. But every season, network executives inevitably come down with a serious case of buyer's remorse.
For whatever reason, be it the content too controversial or sub-standard, some shows never find an audience. There's no particular rhyme or reason why certain shows don't find an audience, but executives are numbers guys, and if Nielsen ratings don't spell success, the shows are quickly pulled from the primetime line-up.
Other shows come off as tone-deaf, not echoing the social and political morays of their time.
Even further down the rabbit hole, some of these pilots have crackerjack premises, but ultimately fail to sing when shown to the general public.
All these reasons, and more, amount to why the following shows lasted only a few episodes or broadcast none at all. Some never made it that far into production. But we certainly wish they did
Here's just a handful of shows that, for whatever reasons, just didn't work out.
10. L.A. Confidential Almost Happened...Twice
L.A. Confidential was successfully adapted into a feature film by Curtis Hanson and Brian Helgeland in 1997, excising or condensing the novel's epic scope and whittling it down to its core. Even author James Ellroy, who at that point had seen his work butchered on the big screen, praised the adaptation and shepherded the project in his own creepy, creepy way (he would call star Russell Crowe and leave unusual poems on his answering machine).
Six years after the film's success, a television pilot was ordered starring Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Vincennes, the role originated by Kevin Spacey. It was never picked up, but the episode is available on the two-disc DVD edition of the film. In fairness to networks who rejected it - the pilot doesn't quite gel, despite offering up more subplots from the novel to delve into.
Two years ago, it had another shot at television when CBS announced it was going to shoot a new pilot with Walton Goggins as Vincennes and character actor Shea Whigham as corrupt cop Dick Stensland.
Despite a promising cast, the network pulled the plug on it before it even began. But it definitely appeared to be moving in the grittier direction more in line with Ellroy's prose. Still, CBS is a bit of a warning sign - a network that exists primarily to continue to run shows only your parents watch.
It seems just as Hanson and Helgeland had condensed the novel's sprawling narrative, the networks had difficulty expanding upon it.