Pilot School
November 21, 2008 9:41 AM   Subscribe

Pilot School. A nice collection of teevee show pilot scripts. Observe the embryonic state of many of the classics of the past few decades, including Buffy, The Wire, Hill Street Blues, Battlestar Galactica, The Sopranos and The West Wing.

For people who aren't students of the form, the most interesting part may be the small changes that happen between script to screen. For instance, Twin Peaks was originally named Northwest Passage, Tony Soprano was named Tommy, and The West Wing's C.J. Cregg was described as "compact."
posted by Bookhouse (29 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite

 
Mad Men - Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: 404

There is no god.
posted by oncogenesis at 9:53 AM on November 21, 2008


Caprica - Pilot

Yeah, actually, there might be after all.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:59 AM on November 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


I wish I had sock puppet accounts so I could favorite this post ten times.
posted by Bizurke at 10:01 AM on November 21, 2008


There is a god.
posted by Knappster at 10:08 AM on November 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


So that US version of Spaced.... I've got a bad feeling about this.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:21 AM on November 21, 2008


MetaFilter 1x01: Randy Newman sings “I Love L.A. PDX” as a series of shots take us from the Pacific Columbia River coastline: muscle Waterfront Park beach, roller-bladers bicycle traffic jam; etc. to downtown: the Hollywood sign Wells Fargo Center, palm trees, Pink’s Powell's, bike traffic on the 10s...

Let's re-pitch it.
posted by not_on_display at 10:30 AM on November 21, 2008


I am pretty damn sure that pilots for unaired and in production shows do not have permission to be there. I suspect the site is about to get a C&D from FOX if not others too.
posted by Tehanu at 10:32 AM on November 21, 2008


That's so not the original Buffy pilot. Shame.
posted by adipocere at 10:34 AM on November 21, 2008


I am pretty damn sure that pilots for unaired and in production shows do not have permission to be there. I suspect the site is about to get a C&D from FOX if not others too.

Maybe, but scripts leaked to the internet are kinda like cockroaches -- if you see one, that only means there are a hundred more hiding somewhere. In other words, I'm sure you could google for any of these and find it on some other site, if not many other sites.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:36 AM on November 21, 2008


Oh, Sports Night! Love you, miss you.
posted by rtha at 10:37 AM on November 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Maybe, but scripts leaked to the internet are kinda like cockroaches -- if you see one, that only means there are a hundred more hiding somewhere. In other words, I'm sure you could google for any of these and find it on some other site, if not many other sites.

Yeah but normally they're stashed away, where you need to be looking for them specifiably to find them. This is right out in the open with old scripts anyone could find.
posted by Tehanu at 10:38 AM on November 21, 2008


MetaFilter: kinda like cockroaches
posted by DU at 10:44 AM on November 21, 2008


This guy is a screenwriter, yet he's putting other writers' scripts that are still in production up on the internet. What the fuck.
posted by Tehanu at 10:46 AM on November 21, 2008


Metafilter: I'm sure you could google for any of these and find it on some other site, if not many other sites.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:08 AM on November 21, 2008


Amazing that Sports Night ever made it to air. Aaron Sorkin was still new to tv, and that script was a seriously hard read. But damn it turned out to be good television.

They've already got the Dollhouse script, and the show doesn't even launch for a couple more months. Nice.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 11:23 AM on November 21, 2008


That's so not the original Buffy pilot.

Are you sure? It looks like it to me. By the way, the never-aired Buffy pilot has been on YT for a while now.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 11:36 AM on November 21, 2008


Yes, I'm quite sure.

First off, the unaired Buffy pilot is a single episode; this script is two episodes.

The unaired Buffy pilot has an amusing bit wherein Principal Flutie calls her "Bunny." This script does not have that, although that bit was used later on with Willow's mother.

The unaired Buffy pilot has a sadly-lost scene wherein Xander gives Buffy a rundown on the various cliques within the school, including the "dirty girls," who have issues with hygeine; this script lacks that.

That's all I can think of at a casual glance. I haven't seen it on YouTube. I saw it way back in the day when you could only get it in five, small files and YouTube did not exist.
posted by adipocere at 11:44 AM on November 21, 2008


Go, my little web spider. Go! Daddy needs his background reading for his imaginary second career.
posted by cavalier at 11:47 AM on November 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hoo, show runner bibles. Voyager? Let me envision it.. "Take everything that is good about the ST Canon and take a righteous dump on it. Also, more mysterious alien nemesisissiis".
posted by cavalier at 11:51 AM on November 21, 2008


Holy crap! Murder One!
I totally forgot about that show. The first season was one of my favorite series ever. Loved it.
Much downloading going on at my place right now.
posted by willmize at 12:22 PM on November 21, 2008


The unaired Buffy pilot has a sadly-lost scene wherein Xander gives Buffy a rundown on the various cliques within the school, including the "dirty girls," who have issues with hygeine; this script lacks that.

My wife and I still quote the bit about the drama students from time to time. "I [dramatic gesture] didn't get [even more dramatic gesture] the homework!"
posted by EarBucket at 2:55 PM on November 21, 2008


Oh. My. God.

They have the pilot script for Cupid. The Rob Thomas Cupid. Jeremy Piven. Paula Marshall.

That was the funniest show ever to hit TV. I'd do truly reprehensible things to get it on DVD in its entirety.

And there it is... the pilot script.

You have made me very happy.
posted by MrVisible at 3:10 PM on November 21, 2008


Caprica - Pilot

Yeah, actually, there might be after all.


Hey, it's the BSG-verse. There may be several!
posted by crossoverman at 3:41 PM on November 21, 2008


Veronica Mars!
posted by isogloss at 3:45 PM on November 21, 2008


Incidentally, the Caprica script -- in addition to being just plain awesome -- is basically the Rosetta Stone of BSG. Like for real. Just about any questions I had about the nature of the Cylons were directly or indirectly answered, and I'm kind of stunned by how they pulled a whole lot of obviously-written-on-the-fly material from four seasons into a coherent and satisfying whole (seriously, Heroes producers: if you want to keep your jobs, you have got to hire these motherfuckers). It's up to you how spoiled you wanna be, but this is really, really great work.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:33 PM on November 21, 2008


Who is this "Leo Jacobi" fellow Sorkin is writing about in the West Wing pilot?
posted by flashboy at 6:23 PM on November 21, 2008


I think that's Leo McGarry.
posted by every_one_needs_a_hug_sometimes at 10:48 PM on November 21, 2008


The Veronica Mars script condenses about three episodes into one, changes a whodunnit into a missing person, makes the killer into a home-videoing sadist and loses all the puns (Peninsula West High?). The lame jokes totally grated when I started watching, but the second (tenth, twentieth) time, they kind of add to the noir charm, the undercurrent of schmaltz and variety hour humour.

I can't help but wonder about the name changes and when they came about - Logan Hewitt rather than Echolls, Monica Rivers rather than Shelley Pomroy, etc.
posted by carbide at 10:18 AM on November 22, 2008


Thanks for pointing out the broken Mad Men link. Now fixed.

Tehanu - I am happy to remove any scripts, should network or writer request it, and have done on occasion. The site is intended as a resource for students and writers, and I'm not making any money off it, so I get to sleep pretty well at night. In the case of in-production scripts, I could put them up after they air, or now. What's the diff?

Adipocere - the Buffy pilot linked to on the Pilot School page is the shooting script for "Welcome to the Hellmouth," which is the show's pilot proper. The unaired Presentation Pilot is here..
posted by leethomson at 1:41 AM on November 26, 2008


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