Unsold Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror Pilots (1954-present)

by GusF | created - 15 May 2013 | updated - 01 Jul 2018 | Public

Most of these would have been dramas but a few were intended to be sitcoms. Several of them were backdoor pilots.

Some would have been great, some would have been bad and some would have been so bad, they would have been good.

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1. The Shadow (1954 TV Short)

Not Rated | 25 min | Short, Adventure

Lamont Cranston, a psychiatrist on retainer to the police department, is asked to assist in the Case of the Cotton Kimono murder investigation. Lamont and his girlfriend Margot Lane are not... See full summary »

Director: Charles F. Haas | Stars: Tom Helmore, Paula Raymond, Frank M. Thomas, Alexander Scourby

Votes: 28

This has never been aired but has been released on DVD.

2. Captain Fathom (1955 TV Movie)

26 min | Adventure

While traveling in enemy waters, Captain Fathom and his crew detect an anomalous reading of radioactivity. The submariners investigate and discover a huge bomb lying on the ocean bottom. ... See full summary »

Directors: Maurice Kline, Gustav Della Valle | Stars: Don Megowan, Richard H. Cutting, Barbara Wilson, Kenneth Tobey

Votes: 10

This has never been aired but has been released on DVD.

3. Here Comes Tobor (1957 TV Movie)

26 min | Sci-Fi

A young boy uses his esp to control a robot created by his wheel chair bound Uncle, and together they combat the forces of evil.

Director: Duke Goldstone | Stars: Tommy Terrell, Arthur Space, Bruce Cowling, Alan Reynolds

Votes: 21

This has never been aired but has been released on DVD. It was to have been a spin-off of "Captain Video and His Video Rangers" (1949), the first science fiction television series.

4. The Adventures of Superpup (1958 TV Short)

22 min | Short, Sci-Fi

Superpup, secretly the intrepid reporter Bark Bent of the Daily Bugle, must save his friend and co-worker Pamela Poodle from the clutches from the evil Professor Sheepdip.

Director: Cal Howard | Stars: Billy Curtis, Ruth Delfino, Angelo Rossitto, Frank Delfino

Votes: 99

This has never been aired on television but has been released on DVD.

5. Invisible Avenger (1958)

Not Rated | 60 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Lamont Cranston, aka The Shadow, investigates the murder of a New Orleans bandleader.

Directors: James Wong Howe, Ben Parker, John Sledge | Stars: Richard Derr, Mark Daniels, Helen Westcott, Jack Donner

Votes: 175

This has never been aired on television but has been released on DVD.

6. Tales of Frankenstein (1958 TV Short)

28 min | Short, Horror

Dr. Frankenstein has just finished rebuilding his creation, but the monster is unresponsive. He needs to try something different to make it work, perhaps some new parts. Enter a terminally ... See full summary »

Director: Curt Siodmak | Stars: Anton Diffring, Helen Westcott, Don Megowan, Ludwig Stössel

Votes: 266

This has never been aired on television but has been released on DVD.

7. Destination Space (1959 TV Movie)

51 min | Sci-Fi

From space pioneers to modernday missions, it's a thrilling look at man's quest to conquer space.

Director: Joseph Pevney | Stars: Harry Townes, John Agar, Charles Aidman, Whitney Blake

Votes: 109

8. The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
Episode: Mr. Bevis (1960)

TV-PG | 25 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

After losing his job, his car and his apartment on the same day, an eccentric loser gets a new life from his guardian angel, but there is a price to keeping it.

Director: William Asher | Stars: Rod Serling, Orson Bean, Henry Jones, Charles Lane

Votes: 1,743

9. The Adventures of Superboy (1961 TV Short)

26 min | Short, Action, Sci-Fi

Jimmy, Clark Kent and Lana Lang's friend, is ashamed that his father works as a doorman at the Smallville theater. His opinion changes when Superboy is able to thwart a robbery with Jimmy's... See full summary »

Director: George Blair | Stars: John Rockwell, Bunny Henning, Ross Elliott, Monty Margetts

Votes: 116

This has never been aired on television but has been released on DVD.

10. The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
Episode: Cavender Is Coming (1962)

TV-PG | 25 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Inept guardian angel Harmon Cavender is given a chance to earn his wings by helping an unconventional big city woman, the young, awkward Agnes Grep.

Director: Christian Nyby | Stars: Jesse White, Carol Burnett, Howard Smith, Frank Behrens

Votes: 1,210

11. The Outer Limits (1963–1965)
Episode: Controlled Experiment (1964)

TV-PG | 51 min | Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi

Two Martians, equipped with a device for controlling time, try to understand the human phenomenon of murder. They choose a crime of passion in the lobby of a shabby hotel. However, what seems like a simple assignment rapidly runs out of control.

Director: Leslie Stevens | Stars: Barry Morse, Carroll O'Connor, Grace Lee Whitney, Robert Fortier

Votes: 351

12. The Outer Limits (1963–1965)
Episode: The Forms of Things Unknown (1964)

TV-PG | 51 min | Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi

Two female friends poison a sadistic blackmailer, then while fleeing happen upon an isolated house containing a time machine. Kasha, his lover, and Leonora, the daughter of the blackmail ... See full summary »

Director: Gerd Oswald | Stars: Vera Miles, Cedric Hardwicke, Scott Marlowe, David McCallum

Votes: 355

The proposed series would have been called "The Unknown".

13. Mister Ed (1958–1966)
Episode: Moko (1964)

TV-G | 30 min | Comedy, Family, Fantasy

A mischievous Martian visits the neighborhood. He has the power to change an individual's personality.

Director: Arthur Lubin | Stars: Alan Young, Connie Hines, Leon Ames, Florence MacMichael

Votes: 32

14. Star Trek: The Original Series (1966–1969)
Episode: The Cage (1966)

TV-PG | 63 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Capt. Pike is held prisoner and tested by aliens who have the power to project incredibly lifelike illusions.

Director: Robert Butler | Stars: Jeffrey Hunter, Susan Oliver, Leonard Nimoy, Majel Barrett

Votes: 4,781

Easily the best known pilot on the list, this was made in November and December 1964 but was not shown until 1986.

16. Dark Intruder (1965)

59 min | Horror, Mystery

Police call in occult expert to help solve series of murders.

Director: Harvey Hart | Stars: Leslie Nielsen, Peter Mark Richman, Judi Meredith, Gilbert Green

Votes: 242

17. Agent for H.A.R.M. (1966)

Passed | 84 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Secret agent tries to stop a scientist who has devised a bacterium that devours the body from within.

Director: Gerd Oswald | Stars: Peter Mark Richman, Wendell Corey, Carl Esmond, Barbara Bouchet

Votes: 1,197

18. Where's Everett (1966 TV Movie)

30 min | Comedy, Sci-Fi

Arnold Barker starts every day by going out on his porch to pick up the milk and the newspaper but on this he brings in something different - an invisible alien baby who's been left on his doorstep.

Director: Gene Nelson | Stars: Alan Alda, Patricia Smith, Doreen Miller, Nicolas Coster

Votes: 6

19. The Solarnauts (1967)

25 min | Short, Sci-Fi

A special force known as the Solarnauts is dedicated to keeping the solar system safe from alien threats.

Director: John Llewellyn Moxey | Stars: David Garfield, Derek Fowlds, John Ringham, Alex Scott

Votes: 58

20. Star Trek: The Original Series (1966–1969)
Episode: Assignment: Earth (1968)

TV-PG | 50 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

While back in time observing Earth in 1968, the Enterprise crew encounters the mysterious Gary Seven who has his own agenda on the planet.

Director: Marc Daniels | Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Robert Lansing

Votes: 2,215

I really think that we missed out on a great series with this one.

21. Shadow on the Land (1968 TV Movie)

100 min | Action, Drama, Sci-Fi

Patriotic freedom fighters struggle against a fascist dictatorship in a near-future USA.

Director: Richard C. Sarafian | Stars: Marc Strange, Jackie Cooper, John Forsythe, Gene Hackman

Votes: 114

22. The Man from the 25th Century (1968 TV Short)

17 min | Short, Sci-Fi

On a blue alien planet, a man stands in an arena, watched by 5 alien beings. They are testing the man's mental and physical abilities. His identity is that of a man 27 years old, born in 1951 on planet Earth.

Director: Irwin Allen | Stars: James Darren, John Crawford, Patrick Culliton, John Napier

Votes: 27

23. Premiere (1968– )
Episode: Out of the Blue (1968)

30 min | Drama

Aliens from an overcrowded planet are sent to Earth to see if there is suitable for colonization. They meet a friendly physics professor who tries to explain the strange customs of human beings.

Director: Sherman Marks | Stars: Shirley Jones, John McMartin, Carl Ballantine, Marvin Kaplan

Votes: 5

24. Fear No Evil (1969 TV Movie)

Unrated | 98 min | Horror, Thriller

A psychiatrist investigates a man possessed by a spirit living in an antique mirror that can bring dead people back to life.

Director: Paul Wendkos | Stars: Louis Jourdan, Lynda Day George, Carroll O'Connor, Bradford Dillman

Votes: 154

25. Premiere (1968– )
Episode: Braddock (1968)

30 min | Drama

In the near future, a private eye uses the latest technology gadgets to track down evil-doers.

Director: Walter Doniger | Stars: Tom Simcox, Stephen McNally, Karen Steele, Lloyd Bochner

26. Dead of Night: A Darkness at Blaisedon (1969 TV Movie)

60 min | Horror

Investigator Jonathon Fletcher and his assistant Sajeed Rau investigate supernatural incidents that the local authorities either cannot or will not tackle.

Director: Lela Swift | Stars: Cal Bellini, Thayer David, Marj Dusay, Louis Edmonds

Votes: 61

27. Fear No Evil (1969 TV Movie)

Unrated | 98 min | Horror, Thriller

A psychiatrist investigates a man possessed by a spirit living in an antique mirror that can bring dead people back to life.

Director: Paul Wendkos | Stars: Louis Jourdan, Lynda Day George, Carroll O'Connor, Bradford Dillman

Votes: 154

28. Ritual of Evil (1970 TV Movie)

100 min | Drama, Horror

A psychiatrist investigates the death of one of his patients, a young heiress.

Director: Robert Day | Stars: Louis Jourdan, Anne Baxter, Diana Hyland, John McMartin

Votes: 116

29. City Beneath the Sea (1971 TV Movie)

G | 98 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

A group of 21st-century colonists inhabit the underwater city called Pacifica. They find they must defend the city against hostile alien forces.

Director: Irwin Allen | Stars: Stuart Whitman, Rosemary Forsyth, Robert Colbert, Burr DeBenning

Votes: 581

30. Earth II (1971 TV Movie)

G | 100 min | Sci-Fi

When Earth II, an orbiting research space station, is menaced by a Red Chinese nuclear weapon, its 2,000 inhabitants take action to disarm and dispose of the missile without resorting to violence.

Director: Tom Gries | Stars: Gary Lockwood, Scott Hylands, Hari Rhodes, Anthony Franciosa

Votes: 286

31. Escape (1971 TV Movie)

73 min | Sci-Fi, Thriller

A scientist's experiment could lead to the first man-made, functioning, living organism. An elite escape artist-private investigator is working to stop him.

Director: John Llewellyn Moxey | Stars: Christopher George, William Windom, Marlyn Mason, Avery Schreiber

Votes: 68

32. The People (1972 TV Movie)

74 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

A young woman is assigned to teach school in a secluded valley whose inhabitants appear stern, secretive and anti-pleasure. Following two children who disappear to play in the woods, she ... See full summary »

Director: John Korty | Stars: Kim Darby, William Shatner, Diane Varsi, Dan O'Herlihy

Votes: 410

33. Lights Out (1972 TV Movie)

60 min | Horror

A toymaker develops a method to create dolls that kill.

Stars: Laurence Luckinbill, Joan Hackett, Louisa Horton, Kathryn Walker

Votes: 23

34. The Eyes of Charles Sand (1972 TV Movie)

75 min | Thriller

A young man inherits the ability to see visions beyond the grave. He helps a girl investigate her brother's alleged murder.

Director: Reza Badiyi | Stars: Peter Haskell, Joan Bennett, Barbara Rush, Sharon Farrell

Votes: 128

35. Madame Sin (1972)

Not Rated | 75 min | Adventure, Crime, Thriller

A C.I.A. Agent is used as a pawn in an insane woman's plan to steal a Polaris submarine.

Director: David Greene | Stars: Bette Davis, Robert Wagner, Denholm Elliott, Gordon Jackson

Votes: 787

36. Genesis II (1973 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 74 min | Sci-Fi

A scientist who has been preserved in suspended animation wakes up to find himself in a primitive society in the future.

Director: John Llewellyn Moxey | Stars: Alex Cord, Mariette Hartley, Ted Cassidy, Percy Rodrigues

Votes: 766

37. Baffled! (1972 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 90 min | Sci-Fi, Thriller

Race car driver suffers from visions where he sees people killed. An ESP expert believes that his visions will really happen.

Director: Philip Leacock | Stars: Leonard Nimoy, Susan Hampshire, Rachel Roberts, Vera Miles

Votes: 293

38. The Stranger (1973 TV Movie)

100 min | Sci-Fi

After a freak mishap, an astronaut finds himself on an almost precise copy of Earth (right down to the Plymouth cars). However, this planet has three moons, and is run by an Orwellian ... See full summary »

Director: Lee H. Katzin | Stars: Glenn Corbett, Cameron Mitchell, Sharon Acker, Lew Ayres

Votes: 486

39. Poor Devil (1973 TV Movie)

73 min | Comedy, Fantasy

A young down on his luck resident of Hell (Sammy Davis, Jr.) is given a chance to redeem himself by signing up a down on his luck retail accountant to sell his soul to Lucifer.

Director: Robert Scheerer | Stars: Sammy Davis Jr., Christopher Lee, Jack Klugman, Adam West

Votes: 128

40. The Norliss Tapes (1973 TV Movie)

72 min | Horror

An investigative reporter stumbles onto an artist that has made a pact to come back after his death to sculpt a statue of a demon using human blood and clay. Once the demon is awakened he will be granted immortality.

Director: Dan Curtis | Stars: Roy Thinnes, Don Porter, Angie Dickinson, Claude Akins

Votes: 1,061

41. The Questor Tapes (1974 TV Movie)

100 min | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi

Project Questor is the brainchild of the genius Dr. Vaslovik, who developed plans to build an android super-human. Although he has disappeared and half of the programming tape was erased in... See full summary »

Director: Richard A. Colla | Stars: Robert Foxworth, Mike Farrell, John Vernon, Lew Ayres

Votes: 637

42. Where Have All the People Gone (1974 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 74 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

A strange series of solar flares proves fatal for inhabitants of the Earth, except for the fortunate few who are somehow immune to the effects. Animals go insane and human beings turn to ... See full summary »

Director: John Llewellyn Moxey | Stars: Peter Graves, George O'Hanlon Jr., Kathleen Quinlan, Verna Bloom

Votes: 1,110

43. Planet Earth (1974 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 74 min | Sci-Fi

A man awakens from suspended animation and finds himself in the 22nd century, where he finds that women rule the world and that men are slaves called Dinks. He is captured and sold as a ... See full summary »

Director: Marc Daniels | Stars: John Saxon, Janet Margolin, Ted Cassidy, Christopher Cary

Votes: 618

44. The Tribe (1974 TV Movie)

73 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

In the last Ice Age, a family of Cro-Magnons battle a tribe of primitive Neanderthals for survival.

Director: Richard A. Colla | Stars: Victor French, Warren Vanders, Henry Wilcoxon, Adriana Shaw

Votes: 17

45. Wonder Woman (1974 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 73 min | Fantasy