GeekTown’s Top 5 Cancelled Sci-Fi/Fantasy Shows.
5. Odyssey 5 (2002).
What was it?
Odyssey 5 had a great concept. Bunch of astronauts up on a routine spaceflight watch the Earth turn into a fireball and implode! Whilst the 5 surviving crew members of the Odyssey space shuttle contemplate their impending demise, they’re rescued by a mysterious being called the Seeker. It seems Earth isn’t the only planet to have suffered this fate, but this is the first time the Seeker has managed to find survivors. He sends the crew’s consciousnesses back in time 5yrs to give them a chance to prevent the disaster.
Why was Odyssey 5 cancelled?
Actually a pretty good question… Odyssey 5 ran on Showtime, who bizarrely cancelled it after airing only 14 of it’s 20 episodes, despite the show being one the highest rated on the network (they only citing that they ‘wanted to move away from SciFi shows’ as a reason)…
4. Reaper (2007-2009).
What was it?
Reaper was a show about dropout/slacker/Work Bench employee Sam Oliver (Bret Harrison), who finds himself being forced to become a bounty hunter for the Devil after his father promised their first born child to the Devil (Ray Wise) in return for curing his sick wife.
Sam’s job as bounty hunter requires him to retrieve souls that have escaped from Hell by capturing them in a ‘vessel’ provided by the Devil each week, usually with help from friends Sock (Tyler Labin), Ben (Rick Gonzalez), and love interest Andi (Missy Peregrym).
Why was Reaper cancelled?
Ratings more than anything although the CW network really didn’t help things by putting the second season up against American Idol. ABC Studios was in talks ofÂ keeping Reaper going through first-run syndication, however as time went on, and with an uncertain future, understandably Tyler Labin and then Bret Harrison signed deals on new shows, which pretty much left Reaper reaped.
3. Angel (1999-2004).
What was it?
Angel (a spin-off from the Joss Whedon’s brilliant Bufy the Vampire Slayer) followed the trials of a vampire private detective trying to make up for his past deeds after gypsies returned his soul. In his mission to ‘help the helpless’ he enlist the help of various associates to help do battle with demons, and evil law firm Wolfram & Heart.
Angel was much darker in tone than it’s sibling show Buffy, but still contained the trademark Whedonesque dialogue, and complex season arcing plots, mixing genres in the genius way only Joss Whedon can.
Why was Angel cancelled?
Although Angel made it to a respectable 5 seasons, it was still cut down very much in it’s prime. In fact, ironically the fact it was doing well in it’s timeslot possibly contributed to it’s demise… Angel was a fairly expensive show to produce, and because of this The WB network usually left it until very late to sign the renewal, just in case something better/cheaper came along (which it never did). The problem with this was that a lot of cast and crew had to turn down potential jobs on the hope that Angel got picked up again. Feeling this was unfair, and on the back of the great reception they’d had for season 5, a confident Joss asked The WB not to keep them waiting, and give them a yay or nay on season 6… The WB, thinking something else would come along (which of courseÂ it didn’t) said ‘okay, we’re cancelling you’… Had they waited until the last minute as usual it’s extremely likely they would have got the renewal. The WB have since stated cancelling Angel was a big mistake.
2. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008-2009).
What was it?
In a similar way to what they’ve done with the new Star Trek movie,Â Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles tv series took place in a slightly different timeline to the Terminator movies. The pilot episode starts in 1999 after the events of Terminator 2: Judgement Day, with Sarah (Lena Headey) and her son John (Thomas Dekker) and his reprogrammed Terminator protector Cameron (Summer Glau), on the run from Terminator Cromartie (Garret Dillahunt).Â In an attempt to escape, Cameron creates a temporal rift, jumping them forward in time to 2007, unfortunately, a badly damaged, but still functioning Cromartie manages to follow them. As the series continues, we start to see howÂ the future Terminator controlling computer overlord ‘Skynet’ starts to become sentient, and sees the group team up with John’s Uncle, resistance fighter Derek Reese (Brian Austin Green).
One of the great things about Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles is that they mostly avoided the easy option of having a ‘monster (or in this case Terminator) of the week’, and chose a more serialized format, keeping Cromartie as the main villain for all of the 1st season (and part of the 2nd), allowing more longer more intricate plot lines to develop. What could have been just another ‘cash in’ to the Terminator franchise became a well written, intelligent, complex and entertaining show.
Why was Terminator: TSCC cancelled?
Once again, ratings, or rather Nielsen ratings (by far the most outdated pointless way of rating a shows popularity) killed it. The useless thing about Nielsen ratings is they don’t take into account Tivo/DVR viewing. For it’s second season Terminator TSCC was moved to the dreaded ‘Friday night death slot’ to team up with Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse. The trouble is, if your running shows aimed a young audience and then airing it on a night when most of your target audience is out, don’t be surprised when the live (Nielsen rated) viewing figures suck. An episode which might only get 3 million live viewers in reality could have 10 million if you add in Sky+/Tivo/DVR figures. It really is time we found a better way to rate shows, otherwise all were going to end up getting commissioned is hours of Americas Next Top Dancing With The Stars Idol…
1. Firefly (2002).
What was it?
Created by Joss Whedon, Firefly was set 500 years in the future, in a new solar system after humanity abandons ‘Earth That Was’. The show followed the crew of the Firefly class ship Serenity as they struggle to survive any way they can in the ‘verse. It’s often described as a ‘sci-fi/western’, but ‘sci-fi/post American Civil War’ would actually be more accurate (although not as catchy). Rather than being a Stargate style action series, Firefly ditched the idea of aliens and massive space battles in favour of focusing on the wonderful character interactions of the eclectic crew.
Firefly was one of those moments when all the star aligned and everything in a show just worked. From the pitch perfect casting, to Joss Whedon’s superb scripts, to the iconic character and costume design. I’d go as far to say it was arguably the best scifi show ever made.
Why was Firefly cancelled?
*sigh*… FOX’s incompetence more than anything… Firstly, they switched the episode order, moving the pilot episode to the middle of the season. The show was hardly advertised, and then shifted around the schedules. They pretty much did everything possible to bury the series. Thankfully, there appears to have been a complete turnaround at FOX in recent years, which has led to Joss returning to the network for Dollhouse, and FOX supporting it for a second season. Joss also got the opportunity to tie up some of the loose ends in the movie Serenity. I’d still love to see Firefly take to the big or small screen again though.
Dave has over 20 years experience in the digital industry, and is founder and editor of Geektown. Obviously a huge geek himself, he can often be found in front of the latest tv show or movie, on various video games, or with his head in a comic book.