When we talk about the great dodged bullets of American sitcom history, we should really include the failed pilot for LAX 2194. It was a show about Los Angeles International Airport in the year 2194 and it was all about the handling of luggage belonging to aliens. There’s a very good reason why you’ve probably never heard of it because when Matthew Perry tells Seth Meyers about it, you’ll cringe while simultaneously wanting to see it, desperately and immediately. And Perry should know how bad it is — he almost had to star in it, and his commitment to it almost meant having to turn down the role of Chandler Bing on Friends.
Perry doesn’t appear in the clip from LAX 2194 (above), but you can catch a whiff of why it never passed the smell test. But the show’s other stars were the great improviser Ryan Stiles, making the best of a bad script and doing eight different accents for as many lines, and Kelly Hu, best known for her voiceover work and roles on The Vampire Diaries and Warehouse 13.
Here is Perry on Late Night With Seth Meyers talking about how incredibly lucky he got:
Now I can’t help but wonder if LAX 2194 was the inspiration for Mac and C.H.E.E.S.E.