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5 Television Shows You Thought You Dreamed Up

The late 90s/early 00s were littered with television shows never given a full chance to spread their wings from start to finish on prime time. Big shout outs to IMDB, YouTube and DVD box set sales.

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1. Earth 2

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Rather than the current TV trend of disappearing or reappearing humans from existence (The Leftovers, The Returned, The 4400, Resurrection), the late 90s was ripe for science fiction set against paranormal activity (The X-Files), Stargates (Stargate SG-1), parallel universes (Sliders) or in Earth 2’s case, a new planet.

Earth 1 is uninhabitable because humans are scumbags so everyone lives in space stations. Problem solved, right? Wrong. Due to the lack of “Earth-like” conditions a disease affecting only children causes them to die around the age of nine. Yeesh, get me to Earth 2 asap!

The cast included medium-ish names for the era including Rebecca Gayheart (Urban Legend - an enjoyable and often overlooked trashy horror film), soap star Antonio Sabato, Jr., a bunch of unknowns and of course a few Hollywood stalwarts in Tim Curry and Terry O’Quinn. Kelly Rowland even dropped by so you know that shit is relevant when she’s on your alternative Earth.

Dreamed Up Level: HIGH

Earth 2 was the kind of TV show that is hard to remember due to the fact that it lasted for one season but also because it had a Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman in Space vibe and as amazing as that sounds, it’s a very dreamt up concept.

2. Early Edition

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Before he was “clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose”-ing all over Texas whilst being shown up by his Friday Night Lights co-star (Connie Britton’s Hair), Kyle Chandler was receiving a subscription to an EARLY EDITION of the day’s Chicago-Sun Times newspaper.

Chandler’s character, Gary Hobson, uses this information to prevent reported tragedies from occurring. He’s a far more noble person than any of us could hope to be. I’d probably flick to the lotto numbers, steal the funnies by retelling them as my own and let the editor know about upcoming editorial mistakes, but hey, each to their own.

Dreamed Up Level: MEDIUM

Early Edition already had the feel of a show that wasn’t quite a soap, but a little too cheesy for night time viewers, therefore an extended primetime slot was not to be. At least we got a few seasons out of the concept and then Kyle Chandler was able to go on to bigger and better things aka Friday Night Lights and being Mr. Connie Britton.

3. The Pretender

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Watching The Pretender was every child's chance to show off maturity. This was no Baywatch or Caroline in the City. There were hard-hitting cases of the week to unravel and seasonal arcs to follow.

Michael T. Weiss (who?) played Jarod, a prodigious child, taken away to a mysterious scientific laboratory called the CENTRE to be prodded and poked in the name of information recon used in black-ops… doesn’t that sound all fancy?

As an adult, Jarod escaped and used his intelligence to right the wrongs of his past all while trying to escape the clutches of the Centre employees; grandfather-y Sydney (Patrick Bauchau), conniving yet headstrong Miss Parker (Andrea Parker) and bumbling techie Broots (Jon Gries).

Dreamed Up Level: MEDIUM

The Pretender was must-see prime time drama at its best until it wasn’t and then it got bumped all over the place, from the dawn shift to daytime television. Some of the best commercial television twist endings happened on The Pretender but the real twist is that Weiss never landed another successful role. Some say he wasn’t so good at... pretending.


4. seaQuest DSV

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Mother of god. seaQuest DSV (Deep Submergence Vehicle, duh) was everything. A sci-fi show, set under water, with a guy who has gills and the kid from The NeverEnding Story 2. Round it off with Roy Schnieder and you had all the ingredients to make Sliders: H20 (gee wasn’t Sliders also great?)

These days, a re-watch of seaQuest DSV shows up the naff special effects and irritating ‘chatter’ of Darwin the communicating dolphin. But there were good times too. Jonathan Brandis (R.I.P) made his big television break and Schnieder jumped successfully from needing a bigger boat on top of the water to commanding an Enterprise-esque vessel under the water.

Dreamed Up Level: LOW

Despite relatively strong ratings at the beginning, seaQuest DSV was plagued with cast disputes which resulted in lead changes that the show never quite recovered from. Despite all that seaQuest DSV was required Sunday night viewing with the family.

5. The Oblongs

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For some reason, The Oblongs landed on television surrounded by controversy in no small part *ahem* due to the addition of a penis shaped growth on one of its young character’s heads. Although there had already been a few years of swear-y South Park and Family Guy was in the early stages of jamming non-sequiturs in audiences faces for cheap laughs, ire was aimed squarely at this edgy, animated humour.

The programmers of the era probably weren't known for their bold choices, so naturally picking up a cartoon about a dysfunctional and mostly disabled family was never going to go down well with the ‘90s wowsers.

Will Ferrell starred as the limbless father Bob Oblong and another Hollywood alum, Jean Smart, took voice duties of chain-smoking, alcoholic mother, Pickles Oblong.

Dreamed Up Level: HIGH

Although it only lasted one episode on Australian TV before being given the flick, the entire series can still be found alive and well on the internet. Bless.

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