Heat Vision and Jack
|Heat Vision and Jack|
A frame from the title credits
|Created by||written and executive produced by Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab|
|Opening theme||"Situation" sung by Tom Jones|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Running time||30 minutes, 12 seconds|
Heat Vision and Jack is a 1999 comedy/sci-fi television short directed by Ben Stiller and starring Jack Black, Owen Wilson, and Ron Silver. Christine Taylor and Vincent Schiavelli guest starred in the pilot episode, the only episode filmed. While the Fox Network did not pick up the show, the pilot gained a cult status and an online following. The show was written and executive produced by Dan Harmon (Community) and Rob Schrab (Scud: The Disposable Assassin). The pair also worked together on Channel 101 and The Sarah Silverman Program.
Heat Vision was featured as a part of the mockumentary Tropic Thunder: Rain of Madness, only stating that the character of "Jeff Portnoy" played the role of Jack Austin. Its premise—that of an astronaut who acquires increased intelligence when looking into direct sunlight—is very similar to the 1986 Disney TV movie Northstar, starring Greg Evigan. In a March 27, 2007 interview, Rob Schrab stated that a script for the Heat Vision and Jack feature film was in the works. However, as of 2015 no film had been released.
- Jack Austin, a former astronaut. He was exposed to inappropriate levels of solar energy, giving him superintelligence. He appears to lose this intelligence at night, requiring only Earth-normal levels of daylight to reactivate it. His catchphrases are "I know EVERYTHING!" and "Knowledge is power... for real." Played by Jack Black.
- Heat Vision, a talking motorcycle. He was created when Jack's unemployed roommate Doug was shot by a ray, causing him to merge with his motorcycle. He is capable of speech and can fight by ramming into opponents. He is unable to use doorknobs and is unable to right himself if pushed over. Voiced by Owen Wilson.
- Ron Silver, the main villain. He works for NASA, and will stop at nothing to capture or kill Jack Austin, but he also dabbles in acting, perhaps as a diversion, perhaps as a cover. He appears to be invulnerable, shrugging off the threat of being shot and later displaying great annoyance but no injury or pain when he is actually shot. Played by himself.
- An unnamed sheriff, played by guest star Christine Taylor. Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor, now husband and wife, met on the set of Heat Vision and Jack.
- A cook named Frank, who becomes possessed by an alien broadcast and thereafter calls himself Paragon. Played by Vincent Schiavelli.
The pilot opens with Ben Stiller talking about the cancelled Ben Stiller Show, the Emmy award he won for the show, and sarcastically criticizing George Lucas for having not won an Emmy. After a short stinger, Heat Vision then opens with a title sequence explaining how Jack gained his new powers, and how Heat Vision came into existence. The opening credits visually reference both The Six Million Dollar Man and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.
A police officer says to Ron Silver: "I just rented Timecop. You were the bad guy in Timecop."
Stiller has a cameo role as the DJ in a strip club where Paragon attacks multiple strippers and club patrons.
The credits have a number of tongue-in-cheek jokes including:
- The initial episode's title as "Episode 14: The Eyes of Paragon", a reference to the fantasy novel The Eye of Argon.
- Ron Silver's opening credit reads "And Introducing Ron Silver as Himself"; throughout the show Silver plays a fictionalized version of himself.
- Jack's last name and profession are a reference to Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar man.
- Heat Vision is seen watching an episode of Doctor Who that featured the Daleks, "Genesis of the Daleks".
- Kiel Phegley (March 27, 2007). "Schrab saves scud". wizarduniverse. Archived from the original on 2007-11-04. Retrieved 2008-01-12.
WIZARD:And the “Heat Vision and Jack” screenplay is waiting for approval, or where is that?
SCHRAB: Yeah, we’re still in the first draft stage. It’s like right now everyone is onboard, and Jack wants to do it, and [Ben] Stiller has his own personal project, but he’s saying he loves it and he wants to do it. I just have to get the right script and make sure that everyone who wants to be involved with it has the time to do it because Jack’s doing a movie like every other month, and he has a kid now.