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Series / Heat Vision and Jack

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Admit it... you would totally have watched this.

"I... know... EVERYTHING!"
Jack Austin

"This was a gigantic missed opportunity. If you made a TV show today with Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Jack Black, it would cost you $250,000,000 and be about three animated trolls helping a girl reunite her divorced parents at the center of the Earth. And the only way you could get Ron Silver involved would be with an actual Timecop."

A notably high quality One-Episode Wonder action-comedy pilot written by Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab, passed on by Fox in 1999, that seems like something that would've been inevitably Screwed by the Network had it been picked up.

It stars a not-quite-famous-yet-but-still-hilarious Jack Black as Jack Austin, a former astronaut that had been exposed to inappropriate levels of solar radiation, and thus becomes super-intelligent whenever the sun is out. Accompanying Jack is his friend Heat Vision, a talking, sentient motorcycle voiced by Owen Wilson, formerly his best friend Doug who was transformed after being hit by a NASA Laser Beam. Pursued by NASA's top agent, Ron Silver (playing himself), who wishes to do experiments on his brain, Jack travels around the country, blocked at every turn... by adventure.

All that exists of it is the pilot episode (labeled Episode 14: The Eyes of Paragon) wherein Heat Vision and Jack face off against a telekinetic, stripper-killing alien broadcast. The pilot was directed by Ben Stiller, who also cameos as the Strip Club's DJ, and whose girlfriend, Christine Taylor, appears as a female sheriff called in by Ron Silver to investigate.

Essentially, it's 22 minutes of action and laughs done by some really funny people. Rumors of a movie surface every now and then, but for now, all we have is the thoughts of what could have been.

This show provides examples of:

  • Affably Evil: Ron Silver is very polite and more than happy to give autographs.
  • Affectionate Parody: Of campy shows from the 70s and 80s like Knight Rider, Manimal, Misfits of Science and Automan.
  • As Himself: Ron Silver. See Celebrity Paradox below.
  • Berserk Button: Ron Silver gets really angry when people shoot him.
    "If I feel just one bullet touch me, I'll come over there and pull your lungs out through your nostrils."
  • Buffy Speak: Jack's Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness turns into this as the sun goes down and he loses his superintelligence:
    Jack: Paragon's glide-sustaining ions have been neutralised by the cassette's residual magnetism, but his protophotonic pattern is still... together, on the, ah... thing.
  • Cartwright Curse: Discussed. Jack mentions that if he dates a girl for too long, she ends up Stuffed In A Fridge.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Notably averted... Ron Silver plays himself as both a secret government agent and character actor. One person he encounters even notes that he's "the bad guy from Timecop".
  • Cool Bike: It's alive.
  • Diner Brawl: Paragon's first attack is at a small town diner.
  • Homage: It's an extended riff on the style and content of high-concept action TV shows of the mid-to-late '70s and early '80s.
  • The Faceless: We get a flashback to Heat Vision as a human but the audience never gets a good look at his face before getting turned into a motorcycle. Doubles as The Voice.
  • The Juggernaut: Ron Silver is apparently superstrong, immune to bullets, and doesn't flinch when heavy machinary gets smashed over his head. Although getting the rug pulled out from under him renders him unconscious.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Paragon's destruction of the diner.
  • Rubber-Forehead Alien: One shows up in the opening credits.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Paragon ends up being stuck on a cassette tape. Jack tries to instruct the sheriff on how to properly dispose of it but the sun goes down and he loses his super-intellect.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Jack lapses into this when he's three times smarter than the world's smartest man. note 
  • Shout-Out: "Jack Austin" appears to be one for Steve Austin, the protagonist of The Six Million Dollar Man.
  • Son of an Ape: Crossed with Monster Misogyny, Paragon calls his host body's wife things like "Monkey-slut".
  • Stern Chase: Apparently, the premise.
  • Super-Intelligence: Due to his accident, Jack becomes super-intelligent whenever he's exposed to direct sunlight.
  • Super-Strength: Not totally explicit, but Ron Silver apparently has it because of how easily he tosses Jack around as well as flipping a desk.
  • Take That!: Ben Stiller's opening monologue is basically one of these at George Lucas.