Earlier this week, a strange 15-minute video starring Aubrey Plaza (Legion), Nathan Fillion (Firefly) and a horde of zombies began surfacing on various subreddits and forums.
The video doesn’t include a title or much information at all. It starts with a group of teenagers sitting around a campfire, playing with a Bop-it Extreme!, a popular toy from the late ‘90s. It seems like the type of web series that would randomly appear on Vimeo and slowly start to attract people invested in weird, absurdist comedy that lives online — think FunnyorDie before FunnyorDie became the comedy conglomerate it is today.
What makes the video all the more strange and intriguing, however, is the appearance of Plaza and Fillion, two incredibly well known actors. Surely a project starring the two of them would have had some kind of publicity — even something as benign as a tweet from one of the crew members involved in production.
But that doesn’t exist. The only clue about what this could be comes at the very end of the video when the credits roll. Polygon reached out to one of the executive producers listed, Darcy Fowler, for comment on the video ... and to find out exactly what it was.
“This is a pilot presentation called Terror Team that we made for Comedy Central in 2015,” Fowler told Polygon. “It was later developed into a show called Nightmare Time for TBS — which is a whole half hour pilot that we filmed last year. It's separate from this pilot presentation.”
TBS announced it had picked up the project in October 2016, but confirmed in January that it had decided not to move forward with the absurd comedy.
The other facet of the pilot being leaked that Fowler wanted to make explicitly clear is that they were trying to figure out where the leak had come from. This pilot wasn’t supposed to see the light of day and it’s no longer the project the team is working on. Moving to a new network and presumably with a different concept, the team behind the original series is trying to determine how this could have gotten out in the first place.
Despite Fowler’s best attempts to figure out where the leak originated from, it doesn’t appear that those aware of the project are trying to keep it secret. Tommy Siegel, the lead singer for pop-punk band Jukebox the Ghost, tweeted out the show’s confirmation. He also included a link to the leaked version of the pilot that popped up in numerous subreddits.
Fowler also isn’t trying to keep the fact that the show is happening a secret. On the producer’s Instagram account, a photo posted last November confirmed that Nightmare Time had wrapped.
Considering TBS has passed on the project officially, this may be the only chance to watch what could have been. While a shame, it’s not an unusual story in Hollywood. Networks tend to order a number of pilots as they gear up for the fall season, but many of those pilots are never completed. Those that do may still never see the light of day, and the chance of the pilot receiving a series order is rare on most major networks. Nightmare Time unfortunately falls into that category.
Nightmare Time may never actually be a thing, but the Terror Team pilot will continue to live on thanks to this leak.