Cyberchase "The Poddleville Case" (found test pilot of PBS Kids educational animated series; 1999)
Matt, Jackie, and Inez in the pilot's portal sequence.
Date found: 06 Feb 2021
Found by: Theruff
The pilot of the 2002 Nelvana animated program Cyberchase was made in 1999 by Curious Pictures. Titled as "The Poddleville Case", it was initially distributed privately in schools around May 23rd, 1999, then airing discreetly in August 1999 through September 1999 on KTCA, then airing Nationally on March 24th, 2000, leading to WNET to win an Emmy. The pilot was digitally edited, completely redubbed, rescripted, and reused as 7th episode of the Final 2002 series.
For a while, most information about the pilot was mere speculation, most of it based on how different the animation style for Season 1 Episode 7, "The Poddleville Case" was compared to the rest of the series. There was also the use of a different live-action Actor, Kareem Blackwell, as contrasted to the rest of the series using Matt Wilson and Bianca DeGroat. Some recalled Hacker not being voiced by Christopher Lloyd, while others thought the pilot initially was called the Poddleville Caper, the latter being proven false.
On May 20th, 2018, one of the pilot's storyboard cleanup artists, Gino Patti, posted on his Instagram several screenshots of the pilot, including the end credits and VHS video track length. Notably the credits feature far more developers from Curious Pictures and a completely different cast of voice actors.
Voice actors Joanna Rhinehart and Thom Christopher both have confirmed their roles indirectly, with Joanna voicing Jackie in the pilot as noted on her portfolio along with Thom coincidentally voicing Hacker again in the PC Cyberchase games.
When asked about the Live Action footage in the post 2002 version, Gino Patti stated that he did not recall any live-action scenes indicating that possibly the live-action scenes were shot later for the time being.
The pilot notably has the track length of 24:15 with the finished episode only being 22:30 for the animation, and over 3 and a half minutes for the live-action segment, bringing it to a full 26 minutes, the VHS tape screenshot's time didn't match.
On January 21st, 2019, WNET's official Cyberchase Facebook account released the original 3-minute promo used for the pilot back in 1999. Several users have noted differences for scenes such as a redone script, and completely redone voice-overs compared to the Season 1 episode "Poddleville Case" that reused some footage.
On February 6th, 2021, the pilot in full was uploaded to the Internet Archive and on March 2nd, 2021, the pilot was uploaded to YouTube in full quality.
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- Full comparison of final and pilot by SonikkuAorDatH
- Older video showing comparisons of footage from the Promo and Final, and note of Voice actors (1/2).
- Older video showing comparisons of footage from the Promo and Final, and note of Voice actors (2/2).
- Old theory of the other digitally edited/reanimated scenes.
- IMDB noting Thom Christopher's role as Hacker in a later Cyberchase game.
- Internet Archive upload of the pilot.
- YouTube upload of the pilot.
- Informal Science NSF Document of the Pilot noting peer response to it. Retrieved 06 Sep '20
- WGBH Archive of shows noting the pilot and its track length. Retrieved 06 Sep '20
- PDF archive of Emmys for 1999-2000 entries Retrieved 26 Sep '20
- Forum with an example of misinformation. Retrieved 07 Sep '20
- Instagram Post showing screenshots of the pilot. Retrieved 06 Sep '20
- Joanna Rhinehart's Portfolio. Retrieved 07 Sep '20
- Original 3 minute promo. Retrieved 06 Sep '20