Our Worst Script

seaquesttitlecard300Here’s an excerpt from “About Face,” the worst script that William Rabkin and I ever wrote…but before I share it with you, here’s the story behind it (which I originally shared on this blog back in July 2006)

We were working as supervising producers on the third season of SeaQuest, a scifi show about a phallic submarine exploring our oceans in the year 2032. We were a day into writing episode 14 when the series got cancelled. But studio and the network were still obligated to pay us for the script — the catch was that we actually had to write it if we wanted our money.

In other words, we had to write a script we knew would never be shot and that we were pretty certain nobody would ever read. But we weren’t about to walk away from $25,000.

So we wrote it in one day…while we were packing up our office. We amused ourselves by writing the worst scenes that we possibly could, reading them out loud to each other as we wrote. We turned in the script as we walked out the door and we assumed it would never be read.

To our horror, we were wrong.

We discovered years later that bootleg copies of this atrocity were showing up at science fiction conventions as one of the “lost episodes” of the final season. Some have even shown up on the Internet. It even became the basis for a fanfic story.

Okay, now here’s the excerpt. All you need to know to follow along is that Piccolo is a man with gills and Darwin is a talking dolphin (I’m not kidding).

EXT. SEAQUEST – CGI/STOCK

as it cruises through the sea.

INT. SEAQUEST – CAFETERIA

Lucas is at a table eating as Piccolo comes in.

PICCOLO

Hey, Lucas, what’s the blue plate special today? I’m starving.

LUCAS

Grilled trout.

PICCOLO

Nothing else?

LUCAS

Scrod casserole.

PICCOLO

Pass.

LUCAS

Wait – I thought you were starving.

PICCOLO

I just lost my appetite.

(re: Lucas’ plate:)

You’d think the Chef could be a bit more sensitive.

LUCAS

The presentation may not be great, but it tastes pretty good.

He holds out a fork of trout.

LUCAS

Here, have a bite.

Piccolo turns away, disgusted.

PICCOLO

Are you nuts? Why don’t you go offer Darwin some dolphin pate.

Suddenly Lucas understands.

LUCAS

Tony, you aren’t a fish.

PICCOLO

I have gills, Lucas. I may not be a fish, but it still feels like
cannibalism to me.

LUCAS

You’re a human being who happens to have gills, that’s different.

PICCOLO

If you could fly, believe me, chicken wouldn’t look very
appetizing.

LUCAS

Chickens don’t fly.

Piccolo glares at Lucas and walks out. Lucas smiles to himself.

Seven Shows That Changed Their Names… and Their TV Themes

More TV Theme fun. Here are seven series that changed the name of their show and their theme during their run.

1-800-Missing became Missing...


Sanford and Son became Sanford Arms


Baywatch became Baywatch Hawaii




Temperatures Rising became the New Temperatures Rising




Danger Man became Secret Agent


SeaQuest DSV became SeaQuest 2032
SeaQuest


THe Virginian became The Men from Shiloh


12 TV Shows That Changed Their Theme Song

I love TV themes. The best ones become iconic, part of our cultural fabric… like Hawaii Five-O, Peter Gunn, Star Trek, The Addams Family and The Brady Bunch to name just a few. But several famous shows completed scrapped their opening themes… some early on as they were finding their way and some later in their runs to revitalize the series. Here are 12 examples (three of them shows that I worked on):

Kojak


Bonanza


Lost in Space

Season 1
Season 3

Magnum PI


Land of the Giants
Season 1
Season 2

Simon & Simon


The Avengers


SeaQuest


Space: 1999


Walker Texas Ranger


Monk


Martial Law
Season One
Season Two