So you’re discriminating as hell about your TV intake, and you actually start to get into a new sci-fi TV show,only to have that WTF moment upon learning that it’s being axed after only a season or two. Yep, we’ve all been there, and more than once. No matter how potentially good, or even great, a series is, the sad truth is that in some scenarios — which is often the case with FOX, for example — the ratings just aren’t good enough to justify another season run to TV execs.
Despite the fact that show cancellations can often be a mystery, other possible reasons for why a sci-fi show might tank include not being an appropriate fit for the network, and just not having a strong premise to begin with. Still, some sci fi shows were so good that it seems a real shame they didn’t even get the chance to morph into something truly great.
Here’s a list of 15 promising sci-fi shows that were cancelled before their time:
You’ve heard of this tragically short series, by now, yes? Despite its limited fourteen episode run, Joss Whedon’s space/western hybrid featured cool extrapolation, an intriguing world, and an evil empire to fight against before FOX decided to axe it due to subpar ratings. Fortunately, cult fandom led to sequel film Serenity a few years later. Firefly also lives on in comic book form.
When an actor of David Strathairn’s caliber stars in the lead on your sci-fi TV show, you’ve got to think you’re doing something right. Still, Alphas was cut by the SyFy channel after one season, leaving a big cliffhanger that had even Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory failing to find closure.
While not actually based on an Asimov book, Almost Human definitely carried the spirit of Asimov’s concepts, depicting humans living side by side with beings of artificial intelligence. Wonder of wonders, the show also had an African-American (Michael Ealy) in a co-starring role as the fascinating cop robot. Despite having J.J. Abrams onboard as a producer, Fox still decided to let this one go.
A fantasy dramedy that put a Tim Burton-ish spin on a classic mystery show, Pushing Daisies followed a pie-maker who can bring the dead back to life. The precious comedy was a beguiling mix of cool meets scary meets quirky. It also featured a fantastic cast including Chi McBride and Anna Friel. After two memorable seasons, this one definitely ended too soon.
Created by The Perks of Being A Wallflower novelist Steven Chbosky, this post-apocalyptic show boasted a cast that included both Lennie James and Skeet Ulrich. Luckily, like Firefly, Jericho has followed the trend of continuing its story in comic book form.
Farscape was just a sci-fi nerd’s dream, boasting great chemistry between its leads and some really excellent alien designs. This four season show was definitely one of the bigger series to get the plug pulled too soon.
Where Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s ended, spinoff series Angel took off. Except where Buffy had been set in teen territory, Angel was definitely about the trials and tribulations of a fully-grown adult navigating in a world of serious moral ambiguity. Some fans were left unsatisfied with the fifth season’s ending, as the show appeared to be cancelled at the height of its brilliance.
It’s nearly impossible to believe this now, but Star Trek: The Original Series was cancelled after only three seasons. Ironically, since then, Star Trek has spawned more than a dozen films, four spinoff TV series, and more memorabilia than the most die-hard Comic Con veteran could hope to accumulate in a lifetime.
Unfortunately, the prequel series Caprica didn’t last long enough to make the same impact as the remade Battlestar Galactica; it bit the dust after only 19 episodes. Unfortunately, critics and fans alike just didn’t warm up to the series as quickly as they had to Battlestar. Why not? Well, it’s possible that the prequel pretext of the Cylons’ birth wasn’t compelling enough, or that its storytelling might have been too slow and meandering for SyFy Channel audiences.
Although V occasionally verged on campy, it’s still a shame that the whole story didn’t get a chance to play out the way it should have. Even though the original series was a cult classic, the new V seemed doomed to oblivion from the first few episodes.
There was nothing on network TV quite like this Whedon show featuring Eliza Dushku (Faith, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as Echo, who chose to live as a doll with programmable memories. Some interesting sociological issues dealt with, as a result, included human rights, sex, gender and identity.
Instead of the usual premise of leaping to alternate worlds or parallel dimensions, you’d think that Stargate Universe’s home-bound mission from outer space would have resonated emotionally with audiences — but somehow, it just didn’t. Not even its high production value could save it from the SyFy Channel pulling the plug after two seasons.