Heat Vision and Jack
Rejected by Fox
It’s at least understandable, if not forgivable, that in 1999, when Fox execs screened the pilot for Heat Vision and Jack, they didn’t know what they had in its then minor stars Jack Black and Owen Wilson. But Ben Stiller!?! Something About Mary was probably popular enough to build hype for a quirky (and actually hilarious) comedy series directed by Stiller. The insane premise has Black playing Jack Austin, an astronaut who flew too close to the sun and is now three times smarter than the most intelligent person on the planet (only when the sun is up)—hence the deadpan tagline: “Knowledge is power. For real.” Jack’s sidekick Heat Vision is the product of an experimental NASA laser that somehow fused his slacker roommate with a motorcycle. The ex-astronaut and talking motorcycle (voice of Wilson) are forever on the road, running from NASA scientists who want Jack’s big brain and fighting bad dudes (in this episode an alien demon called Paragon). Though HV&J has gotten huge responses at random film-fest screenings, the only way to see the pilot is to snag a low-quality bootleg (eBay, under $10) or download it online (http://waxy.org/bt).