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I just saw an episode of The Cosby Show which gave an inordinate amount of attention to a lovey-dovey couple that was friends with the Huxtables. The wife was supposed to be Latina; not so sure about the husband. He worked at some sort of a youth center. Sure carried the whiff of a backdoor pilot; about half the episode was about them hanging out and solving problems, with the Huxtables nowhere around. There were also a lot of wacky periphery characters at the center that guaranteed that Hilarity would Ensue. Anyone know about it?
Ununnilium: Stuff taken out of the entry, since it doesn't seem to fit anymore:


I would argue that the Mork episode of Happy Days is not an example of a poorly disguised pilot since the episode (as I recall) ended with the announcement that Mork would return in the fall with his own series. In other words, there was no testing of the waters.

// Actually, that tag scene was not part of the original episode as broadcast. After the strong response to Robin Williams and the decision to give him a show, the tag was shot and appended to the episode for its first repeat broadcast; it remained attached when the show went into syndication. Plus, the episode was not originally intended as a pilot — it was basically something Garry Marshall did to simultaneously please one of his children who was into Star Wars and showcase a young comedian he had stumbled across. So it actually fails the test for this trope on two counts. — Looney Toons

One wonders when the Star Trek: Enterprise writers will incorporate the mysterious Gary Seven into their confusing temporal cold war arc.

(I believe, though I haven't read them myself, that Gary Seven features in the Star Trek novels exploring the Eugenic Wars and the background of Khan - That British Guy)

Just The Ten Of Us was launched this way on Growing Pains

//Actually, Just The Ten Of Us was launched on Growing Pains, but it was not really an example of this device. Coach Lubbock was an established Recurring Character on Growing Pains and the spinoff had already been firmly picked up. Also, the Seavers have a major role in the episode that launched the spinoff.

Feel free to add it back in if you think I'm wrong.

Ununnilium: Anyone have an opinion on wether the Rugrats episode "All Growed Up" counts? It has the main characters through the entire episode, but for all of it except the first couple and last couple, it's the ten-years-later Flash Forward versions of themselves, and the series All Grown Up!, featuring those versions, began shortly after.

osh: I don't think it does. IIRC Rugrats was going off the air, and the only reason they made the new show was the last episode got amazing ratings.

Ununnilium: Huh. Mmmmkay. `.`v
Man Called True: I considered adding Doctor Who and Torchwood to the list, but I'm not sure if that counts. The definition of a Poorly Disguised Pilot is that it wrenches the series out of its usual path to draw attention to itself, but Doctor Who made Torchwood (and Captain Jack) important parts of the plot - Torchwood is the Arc Words for the second season of the new series. (The announcement of the upcoming series "The Sarah Jane Adventures" is much closer to what we're looking for, though...)

Robert: Except that when they wrote the 'School Reunion' episode there were no plans for a Spin-Off.

Ununnilium: Minor spoilers for the new season: Torchwood becomes an increasing presence throughout the season, in a sort of Poorly Disguised Pilot Arc. I'm planning to add an entry for such after another episode or two airs.

Seth it doesnt need a new entry just say that it is a Poorly Disguised Pilot Arc

Ununnilium: I put it in spoilers for a reason, you know. >>

Danel: I've removed the Doctor Who examples - a few years later, I think it's safe to say that viewing the references to Torchwood as a Poorly Disguised Pilot was erroneous. The Torchwood references were Arc Words setting up the finale, and the subsequent Torchwood spin-off was almost entirely unrelated. Similarly, School Reunion is nothing of the sort since no spin-off was planned at that time and it doesn't even introduce any of the characters.

ralphmerridew: Anybody know how to classify Murder, She Wrote? While The Law And Harry Mc Graw doesn't count, I recall hearing they were considering spinning off some of the bookend characters.

MRL: The Bravestarr/Sherlock Holmes entry probably doesn't count. As the Sherlock Holmes show was by a different company (Dic, not Filmation), with no writing or production staff in common, and had different characters (a robotic Watson rather than an alien analogue), it's probably coincidence derived from the common concept of transplanting Holmes in time.

Ununnilium: Yoinking, then:

wia: Why is the Belgariad/Malloreon on here? The Malloreon was a pretty much direct sequel to the Belgariad - only a few of the secondary characters and most of the cast of villains changed between the series.

Now, if they'd spent the last book of the Malloreon foreshadowing the Elenium it would count, but as given, it's about as absurd as saying that Season 1 of Star Trek contained a backdoor pilot for Season 2 of Star Trek.

Ununnilium: Pulling, then:
  • The Belgariad has snippets and lines here, there and everywhere in the last two books that paint a big, gleaming neon arrow that says "There will be another series after this one" (The Mallorean). This more-or-less came about during the writing process.

Ununnilium:
  • It may not be a Marvel comic book without Wolverine making an appearance, but his first appearance was in the Incredible Hulk's comic, not X-men

Yeah, but he wasn't being set up for his own series then — indeed, he didn't get one 'til... what, over a decade after his original appearance?

Later:
  • Most obvious Doctor Who example: the 1996 made-for-TV movie, intended as a possible pilot for a new series.

That's a Completely Undisguised Pilot.

Chad M: Removed:

  • Family Guy will be getting its own PDP called "Jerome Is the New Black", in which the show adjusts its status quo in accordance to The Cleveland Show by having Cleveland Brown move from Quahog to Stoolbend and his Suspiciously Similar Substitute introduced.

That isn't a pilot. The show's already going to get made.

Dok Enkephalin: I thought the first paragraph made it clear what the difference between a PDP and a spinoff are. A lot of these examples show that it wasn't clear to everyone.