Sci-Fi shows that ended too soon.
By Peter Jason
GO BIG OR GO HOME, sadly that doesn’t always work in the TV industry, especially when it’s Sci-Fi. Pitching a TV show is hard; keeping it on the air and viewers engaged is even harder, trying to achieve both for a Sci-Fi series is the Sarlacc pits. Sci-Fi is rough, even if there is a tv channel named after it, it doesn’t have the following that normal tv dramas or comedies maintain. While there are numerous series that have run their course to the end, some even after they Jumped the Shark, several shows just felt like an abrupt halt, and left us wanting more. If there is one thing I dislike more than the cold icy depth of space, it’s cliffhangers. So I come to you with a list of series that ended too soon. So let’s stare back into the void, in hopes one day we will have the endings, as nerds, think we deserve.
If there is one thing in this world I would think all Sci-Fi fans could agree on, it was the short run of Joss Whedon’s series Firefly. Set in a dystopian future, a group of rag tag smugglers lead by Malcom Reynolds,(Nathan Filion) search for work while keeping under the radar of the reign of the Universal Alliance. Only being given a 13 episode series, Firefly consists of many elements that make a Sci-Fi series great. Comedy, a simple but great story line, SPACE!, and a cast that plays off each other so well it is as if Whedon wrote the roles for them specifically. After 13 episodes the bigwigs at Fox canceled the series and like a leaf on the wind, it left us, leaving the fans upset and wanting more. In 2005, Universal released a follow up movie titled Serenity, in hopes to fill that blaster sized hole left in our hearts, even though the movie held up to the original series and continuity, all it did was make the hole bigger.
Fox really makes it difficult to keep up with anything they release on air. Almost Human stars Karl Urban (Dredd, Star Trek) and Michael Ealy (Flashforward), set in a not too distant future where crime is at an all time high, Cops are partnered up with Androids in an effort to keep police casualties to a minimum. That being said, this series has the makings of being a great Sci-Fi Buddy Cop show. Detective John Kennex (Urban), your typical brooding cop, is recalled to the force and after throwing his standard issue android, MX-43, out of a moving vehicle, is partnered with Dorian (Ealy), an older modeled android that was decommissioned due to it’s inability to deal with it’s emotional responses at times. Dorian’s friendly and witty personality compliments Kennex “cold solo cop” cliche quite well, the series wasn’t perfect, but had many elements that made it enjoyable. J.J. Abrams lens flares aside, the characters were lovable and each episode was self contained, but after 13 episodes, Fox (surprise, surprise) axed the show due to poor ratings and high cost. The show had enough of a following that many of the fans wrote to all the major networks, including Sci-Fi, in hopes the series would get picked up, but with no luck. The show has been shelved, never to get a second season. Go figure that the final episode ended up being somewhat of a cliffhanger that began to open the series up to a whole new story arc. Either way, if you are interested in a short entertaining binge show while waiting for your new seasons show to air, Almost Human is well worth the watch.
I really tried to pull shows from other networks, but Fox just has a way of canceling the things I enjoy. Maybe they just green light series to serve as a filler until the new seasons of their more successful shows start back up, but I’m not a TV exec so what do I know. Let’s get down to it. John Doe, while less science and more fiction, still is an interesting concept; A man awakens with an unusual scar on an island off the coast of Seattle with the onset of amnesia of who he is or was, but the knowledge of everything else in the world, Dominic Purcell (Prison Break, Blade Trinity), takes the name John Doe, as no one seems to know who he is. Using his vast Google like brain to make himself a decent fortune, by playing the stocks and gambling (seriously, if I knew how everything works, that would be my go to as well), John eventually gets tied in and teams up with the local PD to solve unexplained mysteries that just keep finding their way towards him. All while trying to find out who he is, and why he knows what he knows. The series is a simple concept, one part mystery cop drama, one part conspiracy thriller, with a dash of comedy; this series will keep you hooked with every episode. While it definitely does not hold a flame to my other two picks, I feel this series holds a place in my heart mainly because it was my first experience of a show that just left me with a huge “WTF” moment at the end, and failed to resolve any questions I have, and for that I can thank Fox, ya jerks. In all seriousness, the show was good, not great, but good, and worth the watch, the episodes had a common shared arc, and the ever unknowing mystery of who John Doe really was keeps you engaged.
While there are many other hits that ended way before their prime, this was just a taste of what’s out there. Always remember, just because it’s no longer on the air, or was canceled too soon, doesn’t mean that it wasn’t good, or worth your viewing. Like space, the amount of shows are vast and wide, almost endless, so take the leap into the unknown, you might find something to your liking. Until next time, travel safe and keep watching.
- Peter Jason