It takes a lot of work for a show to make it to air. Powerful people with lots of cash have to green light a script, more people have to actually make it and then a bunch of people at a network have to say yes. So, how do shows with seemingly awful premises ever make it to series? It’s a big mystery.
Here are 10 of the strangest shows ever produced. Some are strange because they are children’s entertainment, which is always strange. Seriously, try to name one show for kids that isn’t just a little weird….
But, most of these shows were made for adults and when you break down most of their premises, you wonder how anyone ever thought it was a good idea. One of the shows on this list was huge in Europe, but the concept didn’t quite translate to the American market, and the show was recently cancelled.
Some of the other shows on this list are simply ridiculous because they aren’t about human beings. Want some hints? One features more puppies than people (yay puppies, but still…) and another one has a naughty puppet as the title character. The most far-fetched show on the list is about a robot and her family that tries to pretend she’s human. And then there are the reality shows. Those are the worst because they aren’t simply strange, they are truly exploitative and do a massive disservice to all of the cast members and most likely the viewers.
10. Heil Honey I’m Home
Heil Honey I’m Home was a very short-lived British show that was a spoof of 1950’s sitcoms. A satirical Hitler and Eva Braun live in an apartment next to, you guessed it, Jews! The pilot is available on You Tube and while it’s funny for about three minutes, the comedy eventually falls flat, but it’s not nearly as offensive as one would imagine, just stupid. It’s just strange this show was ever green lit in the first place. Eight episodes were actually shot, but only one aired because clearly, the entire project was in horrible taste.
9. Red Band Society
Imagine this premise: dying teenagers meets The Breakfast Club. Sounds like a crazy idea, right? Well, that’s exactly what Red Band Society is. This dramedy aired on Fox and had a great ensemble cast including Octavia Spencer, Dave Annable and Wilson Cruz, as the medical staff at Ocean Park Hospital. The main characters on the show are all on death’s door- dying of cancer, cystic fibrosis, a heart condition and an eating disorder. The narrator of the show is even in a coma. The dramatic story lines really captured some viewers, but not enough to keep the show on the air. Red Band Society was based on a Catalan show called Polseres vermelles, but the concept just didn’t work outside of Spain.
8. Small Wonder
It’s a big wonder how Small Wonder ever got green lit in the first place. The show was a science fiction sitcom about an engineer who makes a robot, Vicki and tries to pass it off as a little girl who lives with his family. In typical 80’s fashion, they had to keep this terribly awkward secret from the neighbors, who would have no clue by her movements and extremely monotone emotionless, voice, that Vicki wasn’t a real person. Surprisingly, the show was syndicated internationally, as well as remade in Japan and India.
7. The Puppy Bowl
Puppies + NFL football = the Puppy Bowl. An annual special, which airs on Animal Planet as an alternative program to the super violent and so not cute, Super Bowl– during the Puppy Bowl, rescue animals battle it out in a miniature football stadium, where their goal is to take a football chew toy and drag it to the end zone. There’s even a half-time show with some hot pussycats, for the feline inclined viewer, which has ironically been sponsored before by vacuum companies (you know, for shedding). Strange premise, but who doesn’t love to watch furry little creatures playing?
6. Yo Gabba Gabba
Yo Gabba Gabba is a bizarre children’s show that is probably the most hipster kids program ever. All of the characters are in big costumes, except for house DJ, Lance Rock. The characters even have cool hipster names like Muno, Brobee and Foofa. Adults and children love this show so much, the cast even performed at Coachella in 2010. Yo Gabba Gabba also has the hippest guest stars, from Sarah Silverman to MGMT, The Flaming Lips and Weezer. But it’s still the strangest show your kids (and perhaps you) will ever watch.
5. Don’t Trust The B- In Apartment 23
Don’t Trust B In Apartment 23 had a strange title. The show was originally called Don’t Trust The B**ch In Apartment 23, but clearly the network was concerned with the word b**ch. The show was about two unlikely roommates who become friends after one tries to scam the other, and co-starred James Van Der Beek of Dawson’s Creek fame, who played a version of himself, a struggling actor trying to get his career back on track. Lots of celebs have successfully played themselves on television, like Jamie-Lynn Sigler on Entourage, but not as the b-story line (no pun intended) of the show. Nothing about this gimmick or the show worked and it was cancelled after two seasons.
4. 90 Day Fiancé
90 Day Fiancé just concluded its second season on TLC. The show is almost as strange as it sounds. The show follows several couples where one partner is American and the other one is foreign. The non-Americans are in the country on a K-1 Visa and legally, they have exactly 90 days to get married or leave. Most of the couples barely know each other and the 90 days they are given to make this decision is enough pressure, without the cameras being there. From cultural barriers to not-so-fun surprises, this show is literally like watching a train wreck and the entire idea is rather sick and exploitative.
3. Anything on OnGameNet
OnGameNet is a South Korean channel exclusively devoted to electronic entertainment. All they do is air video game competitions produced as if they were a professional sport with teams, sponsors, announcers, fans and an audience. So basically, they take the fantasy of every video game lover, living in his family’s basement and playing League of Legends for 16 hours a day, and makes it a reality. The closest thing we ever had in America was the G4 channel, but the plug was pulled on that channel at the end of 2014. Like G4, the programming on OnGameNet just can’t appeal to a broad audience or really any kind of audience who leaves their house.
2. Bananas in Pyjamas
What could be cuter than grown men in giant banana suits with blue and white striped pajamas, chasing other people dressed in teddy bear suits? Not much… Bananas in Pyjamas (or Pajamas for the syndicated US version) was one of the most successful Australian children’s television shows of all time. While kids entertainment is always a little unusual, life size fruit in night clothing takes it to a whole new level. The show ran for eight seasons, from 1992-2001. In 2011, producers picked this fruit off the tree again and made new episodes, which ran until 2013. Strange premise, adorable show.
1986’s ALF was one of the most bizarre shows ever made. It was the story of a wisecracking alien from Planet Melmack, who comes to live with the Tanner family when his spaceship crashes and he can’t fix it. ALF was a funny looking puppet with a phallic looking nose, who was constantly on the hunt for pussycat. While they did fear for the family pet’s life, they eventually opened up their hearts to the charming, fuzzy little creature, who was voiced by producer Paul Fusco. This show would never even be pitched today, but way back when, it stayed on the air for five seasons.