jamesster

1997 LEGO TV show pilot featuring Pirates

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Posted (edited)

Since we've been discussing old Pirates stuff here lately... Here's something most of you folks might not have seen yet:



The video title isn't quite accurate - while this was born from the core team behind LEGO Island, it isn't an advertisement for the game, it's a pilot/demo for a proposed TV show. As described to me back in 2010 by the late Wes Jenkins, creative director of LEGO Island and also this pilot:

Quote

It was a prototype, a pilot. A place called Delaplane Creative (formerly Flying Rhino) animators put it together. LEGO wasn't interested but it's pretty cool. I have an old DVD of some of it.
LEGO was planning other stuff at the time with robots and transformers and licenses.
The pilot show was about the Pirate theme kit and characters with new pirates that basically steal the LEGOs that kids leave around they rooms when they go to sleep. The story is a fun one.

Back in 2010, the footage above hadn't been found - a brief clip of it was once present on one of Wes's websites, but the archive of that site hadn't been found yet, so all we had to go by were the occasional descriptions provided by him and somebody else who remembered seeing it on his site years prior.

Here's another description he gave, in an interview for a fan site:

Quote

The pilot I worked on wasn't for the BBC directy – it was for LEGO itself and it was hopefully going somewhere. The pilot was about the pirate Captain Click who takes all of the LEGO bricks that people leave out when they go to sleep. The pirates take them to the Island, off Ogel, and build weird stuff and the battle begins… and well, it was kind of funny. Have some of it on a DVD somewhere.

The BBC project did not reach any level due to the fact that in the UK – a children's show cannot be based on an actually existing product because it's considered a stealthy advertising ploy. They did go on to develop a movie but I was already gone (surgery and heart explosion).

Wes unfortunately passed in 2017, and in short, many of the materials from his LEGO projects (mainly audio and video tapes) were given to Lorin (the uploader of the video above), a musician and friend of Wes who'd worked with him on everything from radio shorts to LEGO Island to the above pilot - he has a variety of other LEGO Island-related uploads you might find interesting, mainly music tracks for the game and such.


Now, this part is a bit of a tangent... But, with two similar projects that happened close to each other, it'd be good to distinguish between them. It also makes for quite a contrast in, uh... overall effort and direction, haha. So, the following year in 1998, there was another (completely unrelated) attempt at a LEGO TV show, animated by Vision-Scape...

The history of this TV show attempt also ties into LEGO Island, but in a much stranger way... LEGO was planning to have a tie-in video game for the show, and work on it was under way at Krisalis (who also developed LEGO Chess and LEGOLAND). When the TV show got axed, somebody at LEGO thought "Hey, it'd be a shame to throw away the work on the game, and one of the kids looks kind of like Pepper from LEGO Island... Let's use it as the basis for a sequel!" So, the direction of the project was shifted to LEGO Island 2... Then, some time later, LEGO took the project away from Krisalis and gave it to Silicon Dreams, keeping the basic design but essentially restarting the project again. More details are available here. (I usually wouldn't advise trusting lego.wikia/fandom.com, but I wrote that portion of the article myself, so I can vouch for its accuracy haha).

Edited by jamesster

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Wow, great work as always! It never ceases to amaze me how many abandoned LEGO media projects there have been over the years. The buildings in Adventures in LEGO World reminds me a little bit of that Jack Stone video from a couple of years later.

TC

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5 hours ago, TalonCard said:

Wow, great work as always! It never ceases to amaze me how many abandoned LEGO media projects there have been over the years. The buildings in Adventures in LEGO World reminds me a little bit of that Jack Stone video from a couple of years later.

TC

I didn't do much, but yeah, it's pretty curious stuff. I half wonder if the weird not-quite-LEGO style of the second one was an attempt at getting around the problem the first encountered, with kids shows not being allowed to be based too directly on real toys...

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Thank you for sharing, Jamesster!  :thumbup:

The animation is entertaining enough but the soundtrack...  particularly the voice acting is very obnoxious!  I couldn't watch an entire series of this!  :pir_wacko:

 

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Nifty find!

I think that stuff like this, along with the unfulfilled ambitions of creating a Jim Spaceborn animated movie, TV series, and video game back in the late 80s really supports something I've believed for a long time — that the tendency of today's themes to be supported with character-driven storytelling, TV shows, TV specials, mobile apps, and video games is a matter of LEGO having greater means and know-how to create successful branded media than they did back in the 80s and 90s — not, as fans of the classic themes sometimes suggest, a matter of them losing touch with some loftier creative philosophy they had back then.

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