The Boondocks (found Fox pilot of Adult Swim animated series based on comic strip; 2003-2004)
The show's title card.
Date found: 17 Feb 2024
Found by: Kal_Eastwood
The Boondocks was an American animated sitcom that aired on Adult Swim from 2005-2014. The show involved two brothers Huey and Riley Freeman along with their grandfather who would go about day-to-day life in a suburb of Woodcrest. Each episode was unique an obscure plot that sometimes involving celebrities would accrue. In 2003, the Fox network ordered a six-minute pilot for an animated series based on the popular comic strip that The Boondocks was based on.
The creator of the series, Aaron McGruder, and film producer/director Reginald Hudlin worked on the pilot that Fox had ordered. Aaron McGruder faced many difficulties during the production of the Fox pilot. In an interview with Avclub.com McGruder:
"We did our best to do a Fox show, but, frankly, I don't think the difficulties we had at Fox would be exclusive to Fox, I just think broadcast television, in general, is a very restrictive place. It's tough to be funny because there are so many eyeballs and there's so much money at stake that I think everything is just kind of over-thought. And it's tough to be daring and do something different, either with regards to content or even structure. It's really a rigid landscape. And you can honestly see it in the show."
In the summer of 2004, The Boondocks pilot was formally announced to have been rejected by Fox. During the same time, Cartoon Network expressed interest in the pilot of The Boondocks to have it air on the Adult Swim block. Mike Lazzo, vice president of programming for Cartoon Network and Adult Swim, reported that the pilot felt "watered down" after viewing it, and told McGruder that due to cable's less restrictive policies, he would be able to make the show he wanted to make. Cartoon Network ended up formally picking The Boondocks up for a 15-half-hour episode order, where its success allowed it to last four seasons on Adult Swim.
The Fox pilot remained unreleased until May 7th, 2016, when series producer Carl Jones released a 21-second clip from the pilot on his Twitter. This clip reveals that the pilot had a different animation style that was closer to the comic strip rather than the anime-influenced art style of the series. In the clip released from the pilot, a brief interaction is shown between characters Huey Freeman and Jazmine DuBois as they talk about a fight that Huey was involved in.
Some sources claim that the pilot has been shown at conventions, though this is unconfirmed.
On February 17th, 2024, an unknown user named Kal_Eastwood uploaded the full six-minute pilot to the Internet Archive. It is currently unknown how the user had obtained or had hands with the pilot.
- New York Times article on the Adult Swim series, mentioning the story of the Fox pilot. Retrieved 31 Mar '18
- Aaron McGruder's interview with Avclub. Retrieved 31 Mar '18
- Carl Jones' posting of the pilot clip on Twitter. Retrieved 31 Mar '18
- TV/IV wiki containing the unsourced convention claim. Retrieved 31 Mar '18