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July 24, 2014

12 Sci-Fi Shows That Were Canceled Too Soon

by Bryan Enk, posted Nov 14th 2009 1:15PM
Joss Whedon has become something of a tortured artist since 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' ended its highly successful seven-season run in 2003. Since Sunnydale was destroyed and 'Angel' got pulled right when it was finding its own identity post-'Buffy,' Whedon has yet to find another long-running hit. It's still hard to believe that a show as great as 'Firefly' only lasted one season!

Whedon's bad luck continues with the recent announcement that Fox is pulling the plug on 'Dollhouse,' a series that had enough of a following -- and potential -- to warrant another season. Would 'Dollhouse' have really hit its stride further down the road? We'll never know. Here are some other sci-fi television series that met their makers too soon.Joss Whedon has become something of a tortured artist since 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' ended its highly successful seven-season run in 2003. Since Sunnydale was destroyed and 'Angel' got pulled right when it was finding its own identity post-'Buffy,' Whedon has yet to find another long-running hit. It's still hard to believe that a show as great as 'Firefly' only lasted one season!

Whedon's bad luck continues with the recent announcement that Fox is pulling the plug on 'Dollhouse,' a series that had enough of a following -- and potential -- to warrant another season. Would 'Dollhouse' have really hit its stride further down the road? We'll never know. Here are some other sci-fi television series that met their makers too soon.



'Angel'
Number of Seasons: 5 (1999-2004)
Number of Episodes Aired: 110
Number of Episodes Unaired: 0
Network: The WB
Yes, 'Angel' did just fine, running for five seasons and enjoying a fan following that was almost as large and powerful as that of 'Buffy''s. By all means, 'Angel' was a success -- the problem is that it was canceled just when it started to get really good. By season 5, 'Angel' was its own show, not just "a 'Buffy' spin-off," and it could've gone in some very interesting and exciting directions if it had stayed alive -- or undead, as it were.



'Bionic Woman'
Number of Seasons: 1 (2007)
Number of Episodes Aired: 8
Number of Episodes Unaired: 0
Network: NBC
This "re-imagining" of the 1970s series chronicling the adventures of a hot bartender (Michelle Ryan) who becomes an even hotter "Bionic Woman" when she gets newfangled parts after almost getting killed in a car accident was initially both too dark and too goofy, with Katee Sackhoff stealing the show as Ryan's malfunctioning predecessor/nemesis. However, the show was just starting to get its sea legs when production was halted due to the Writer's Strike that began in November 2007.



'Birds of Prey'
Number of Seasons: 1 (2002-03)
Number of Episodes Aired: 13
Number of Episodes Unaired: 0
Network: The WB
Loosely based on the DC comic book of the same name, 'Birds of Prey' featured the adventures of the Huntress, the Oracle and Black Canary in "New Gotham" (a Gotham City without Batman). For the most part, the show seemed oddly embarrassed by and resistant toward its comic book origins (Q: Why in the hell doesn't Huntress wear a mask? A: Because the producers need us to see Ashley Scott's hot face at all times), but there were enough pretty-good episodes amongst the mess (one featuring classic Batman villain Clayface) to make one think that it could've been a great show with a little more time -- and maybe some writers that had a little more respect for the source material. And, yeah, Ashley Scott was pretty hot.




'Brimstone'

Number of Seasons: 1 (1998-99)
Number of Episodes Aired: 13
Number of Episodes Unaired: 0
Network: Fox
A New York City police detective is killed in the line of duty and sent to Hell because he enjoyed killing the man who raped his wife. The Devil sends him back to the land of the living to capture 113 souls that have escaped the underworld -- unfortunately, our hero didn't get close to snagging all 113 souls with just 13 episodes. Dark, funny and clever, 'Brimstone' may've been too ahead of its time to connect with an audience -- John Glover was especially delightful as Ol' Scratch himself. And when will this underrated series finally make its way to DVD?



'Firefly'
Number of Seasons: 1 (2002)
Number of Episodes Aired: 11
Number of Episodes Unaired: 3
Network: Fox
Another Joss Whedon Special, 'Firefly' was actually top-notch science fiction, mixing swaggering Western elements and high Space Opera melodrama with the trademark Whedon sarcasm and attitude we've come to know and at least sort-of love. The ragtag crew of the good ship Serenity was good company for all of 11 aired episodes -- Whedon, however, ended up having something of the last laugh, as DVD sales of the series were good enough to warrant a follow-up feature length film, the equally excellent 'Serenity' (2005).



'Invasion'
Number of Seasons: 1 (2005-06)
Number of Episodes Aired: 22
Number of Episodes Unaired: 0
Network: ABC
A case of unfortunate timing, poor handling and just plain bad luck, 'Invasion' barely invaded before it retreated and was never heard from again. Hurricane Katrina made ABC pull some of the marketing campaign that focused on the series' disaster elements, instead concentrating strictly on the alien invasion plot. Despite a promising start, viewers started to drop like flies, and the network put the series on hiatus after the 10th episode until Jan. 2006. 'Invasion' finished its 22-episode run in May 2006. The series had such potential -- how could you go wrong with William Fichtner? -- and the producers announced some exciting future plotlines ... for a future that would never come.



'Jericho'
Number of Seasons: 2 (2006-08)
Number of Episodes: 29
Number of Unaired Episodes: 0
Network: CBS
'Jericho' made nuclear war sexy, as the residents of a small Kansas town manage to turn their lives into a grand soap opera filled with secrets, lies and infidelities in the aftermath of a large-scale nuclear attack on the United States. The show was a blast (ha!), with some truly startling set pieces and character revelations along the way. It was canceled after its first season, but fan support managed to get it renewed for a second -- and that's it. Too bad -- there was a lot more of the brave new world to explore.
Watch the pilot episode of 'Jericho'

'The Lone Gunmen'
Number of Seasons: 1 (2001)
Number of Episodes: 13
Number of Unaired Episodes: 0
Network: Fox
A goofy spin-off of 'The X-Files' that just didn't quite work (but nonetheless almost did), 'The Lone Gunmen' proved that everyone's favorite conspiracy theorists worked better as supporting characters and not stars of their own show. However, some of the episodes had that magic Chris Carter touch, including the rather eerie pilot episode in which the boys uncover a government conspiracy to crash a plane into the World Trade Center (the episode aired about six months before Sept. 11). We wouldn't have minded their company a little longer, but Fox pulled the plug after 13 episodes; a bitter Carter blamed fans for not loving the show enough and ended up killing off the Gunmen in the final season of 'The X Files.' Sheesh, Chris!



'Millennium'
Number of Seasons: 3 (1996-99)
Number of Episodes:
67
Number of Unaired Episodes:
0
Network
: Fox
The sort-of sister show to 'The X-Files' was a great series in and of itself, with Chris Carter given the creative freedom to really get dark and weird about an ex-FBI agent (Lance Henriksen, who was excellent) investigating serial murderers with ties to both the supernatural and a secret organization with prophecies of an upcoming apocalypse. The series took place in the years leading up to 2000, but Fox pulled the plug in '99 -- after a strong first season, ratings began to slip when it was condemned to a Friday night slot in the second. We could've predicted that.


'Star Trek: TOS'

Number of Seasons: 3 (1966-69)
Number of Episodes: 79
Number of Unaired Episodes: 0
Network: NBC
It's hard to imagine that, once upon a time, 'Star Trek' wasn't considered much of a success, considering we now live in a world with 'Star Trek' conventions and zillion-dollar 'Star Trek' reboots directed by J.J. Abrams. Yes, once upon a time, 'Star Trek: The Original Series' was a struggling little sci-fi show, never dreaming of the huge pop culture phenomenon it would become. It barely made it past the first season and ended up only being on the air for three. Another, oh, 20 seasons of the adventures of the starship Enterprise probably would've been just fine with everyone.



'Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles'
Number of Seasons: 2 (2008-09)
Number of Episodes: 31
Number of Unaired Episodes: 0
Network: Fox
What's wrong with you, Fox? It's a 'Terminator' TV show. Yes, the 'Terminator.' And Summer Glau is in it. You couldn't have given it another chance? At least one more season, especially since things started to really get good in the second? Too bad. Unlike the characters on the show, you can't go back and fix your mistakes, Fox. Hmph.



'Tru Calling'
Number of Seasons: 2 (2003-05)
Number of Episodes: 25
Number of Unaired Episodes: 1
Network: Fox
Before Eliza Dushku's 'Dollhouse' was canceled by Fox, Eliza Dushku's 'Tru Calling' was canceled by Fox -- and also after only two seasons, at that. Eliza played Tru Davies, a morgue worker with a unique connection to the dead people in her place of employment -- and the ability to go back in time 24 hours before their deaths and attempt to keep them from dying. 'Tru Calling,' while sometimes clumsy, was filled with mystery and intrigue, never interested in giving easy answers to its questions of fate vs. free will. There were a lot more stories to be told in this world, but alas -- Fox opted not to go back and keep it from dying.



And what do you think? What other sci-fi shows were taken away from us too soon?

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Emily Clifton Stump

Defying Gravity. It was a huge mistake to bill it as "Grey's Anatomy" in space. The typical Grey's viewer wouldn't have gotten into it and the non Grey's viewer would not have given it a chance. Hence, lack of viewers even though it was pretty damn accurate and pretty damn interesting.

December 25 2011 at 9:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dominic Lund

The Others - a psychics support group and investigative team, only lasted one season

April 17 2011 at 11:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dominic Lund

The Others - lasted one season

April 17 2011 at 11:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Carol

I was so disappointed when all he Stargate shows were pulled. Stargate Atlantis still had that potential to further the original series which had the best actors and storylines ever..... even so, the follow-ons were very identifiable as good Sci-Fi coupled with current lifestyle situations and events. The actors selected were very good and felt like friends and part of the family. It was tough to see them just disappear..... I want Amanda Tapping back in her role, Michael Shanks, 'T' and Martoof from the Alien tribe....... We all just want to grow with them and new adventures with surprize endings and amazing plots and writers taking chances..... IT WAS GREAT STUFF!!! HOW DO WE EVER GET IT BACK.....???

January 07 2011 at 6:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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