Brilliant but Cancelled: Top Ten SF Series

Yeah, I had to see if Earth2 was on this list. Not. Darn thos Philistines at SciFi Wire.

Wire’s Top 10 Brilliant But Canceled

1. Firefly, created by Joss Whedon. Fox. Original run: September 2002 to August 2003. Number of episodes produced: 14

A completely valid and worthy choice. I don’t own a Browncoat in real life, but I’d sure wear one in Second Life. And I’ve hung out at a Firefly-inspired bar inworld, too.

2. Wonderfalls, created by Bryan Fuller and Todd Holland. Fox. Original run: March 2004 to December 2004. Number of episodes produced: 14

Sorry, didn’t watch it.

3. Now and Again, created by Glenn Gordon Caron. CBS. Original run: September 1999 to May 2000. Number of episodes produced: 22

Vaguely remember it.

4. Alien Nation, created by Kenneth Johnson. Fox. Original run: September 1989 to May 1990. Number of episodes: 22

This was SUCH a great show. I thought it went longer than just one full season, but the TV movies implanted false memories. I still think the inter-species love interest was pretty hawt. Also, the food references cracked me up. And the social commentary was pretty sly; not only that, but I was only a casual viewer, and I still remember a lot of the character names. Matt, Cathy, and good old George Francisco, who was named Sam in the movie. Good times.

5. Space: Above and Beyond, created by Glen Morgan and James Wong. Fox. Original run: September 1995 to June 1996. Number of episodes: 24

Excellent, excellent, excellent show. MUCH better than the Starship Troopers movie that came out around the same time, or not long after. There are several character actors that made such an impression in that movie, that I have a “Hey, it’s That Guy from S:AAB” moment when I see them. I was kind of bored with Nathan’s pining for his sister or girlfriend, who was probably dead and eaten by bugs long before. But I liked everything else. Even the nipplenecks were damn straight in a fight. Boo-ra!

6. The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., created by Jeffrey Boam and Carlton Cuse. Fox. Original run: August 1993 to May 1994. Number of episodes: 27

This show regularly made me snarfle beverages out my nose. Milk is not so bad and even mildly pleasant, but Coke or Dr Pepper hurts like hell when inhaled. Damn you, Brisco.

7. American Gothic, created by Shaun Cassidy. CBS. Original run: September 1995 to July 1996. Number of episodes: 22

“Someone’s at the doo-ah…” Oh, creepy. This show just totally creeped me out. I was into Gary Cole at the time. And the kid, Lucas Black, was just amazing. And still is, apparently.

8. Jake 2.0, created by Silvio Horta. UPN. Original run: September 2003 to February 2003. Number of episodes produced: 16

Loved this show – not as much as I loved Firefly, but I liked it a whole lot, and I always make a “squee!” noise when I spot Christopher Gorham in another role. I spotted the similarity to the current show “Chuck” right off, except this show was more serious (though still quite humorous, just not as self-conscious about it).

9. Nowhere Man, created by Lawrence Hertzog. UPN. Original run: August 1995 to May 1996. Number of episodes: 25

Didn’t watch much, was tolerably familiar with the premise, was annoyed when it was cancelled.

10. Eerie, Indiana, created by Jose Rivera and Karl Schaefer. NBC. Original run: September 1991 to April 1992. Number of episodes: 19

LOL! another unforgettably quirky show. I was just thinking about the Tupperware Lady the other day. The two kids were terrific.

Now, what’s missing? This list goes to 11, and beyooooond!

Earth2 – but it was more a chick series, so SciFi Wire passed it over even though Clancy Brown was in it, not to mention Debra Farantino. Devooooooooon!!! And yes, I was one of the fans that tried to save it. At one point, I called some ad guy at Chrysler, because they were one of the sponsors. And I loved the opening credits.. must swipe that graphic. I used to have the entire series on tape – even the rarely seen “unscheduled” episode, which I happened to catch just as it was starting. But I boxed all that up a couple of years ago and sent it to a Highlander chum, along with a ton of HL: The Series episodes I taped. More good times.

12. Legend was a science fiction Western television show that ran on UPN from April 18, 1995 until August 22, 1995, with one final re-airing of the pilot on July 3, 1996. It was Richard Dean Anderson’s first major role after the successful MacGyver series, and also starred John de Lancie, best known for his role as “Q” in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Aw, this was an awesome show! It was a lot like Brisco County, but with Wild West ur-steampunkery. Also, it had DeLancie. Double awesome.

13. The Dresden Files was an American television series based on the books by Jim Butcher. It premiered January 21, 2007 at 9:00PM EST on the Sci Fi Channel in the United States and on Space in Canada. It was picked up by Sky One in the UK and began airing on February 14, 2007.

The series ran for a single season of twelve episodes, and has since been released on DVD. The Sci Fi Channel announced on August 3, 2007 that The Dresden Files would not be renewed for a second season.

Another, quite recent and much-missed show from Sci-Fi. I guess they were too embarrassed to put this on their little list because they canceled it for no reason. They were complete asses about it. My husband David and I even watched the little “online chats” with series star Paul Blackthorne, and started reading the books because we liked the premise so much. Thank goodness, it’s been released on DVD and it gets repeated pretty often on SciFi. Bastards. They’ve been milking it.

Here’s another “brilliant but cancelled” show that lasted a whole 2 seasons, so not a short enough run to make this list, and also another one where Sci Fi Channel doesn’t look too good in the narrative.

14. The Invisible Man series debuted in 2000 and starred Vincent Ventresca, Paul Ben-Victor, Eddie Jones, Shannon Kenny and Mike McCafferty. Somewhat more successful than previous television series involving invisible secret agents, Ventresca played Darien Fawkes, a thief facing life imprisonment who was recruited by a low-rent spy organization and given the power of invisibility via the implantation of a special “Quicksilver gland” in his head. The gland lets Fawkes secrete a light-bending substance called “Quicksilver” from his pores and follicles. The substance quickly coats his skin, hair, nails and clothes and renders him invisible. He can consciously release the Quicksilver, which then flakes off and disintegrates. The Quicksilver gland was sabotaged at its creation by scientist Arnaud DeFehrn, to release a neurotoxin that accumulates in his bloodstream and causes intense pain, followed by psychosis and antisocial behavior. He requires regular doses of “counteragent” to keep him sane and healthy, which is controlled by said government agency. This series lasted for two seasons, before being cancelled due to cost issues and internal bickering between the Sci Fi Channel and its then-parent company, USA Networks.

God, I really liked Invisible Man. We watched faithfully, as it was part of a solid schedule block that we didn’t miss, thanks to TiVo and lack of a social life. The second season was a little weak, with the Chrysalis plot, but it was still a good show that died young.

15. Special Unit 2 is a short-lived, American SciFi/comedy television series that aired on UPN for two seasons from April 2001 through February 2002. The show focused upon the exploits of a top-secret Chicago police division known as Special Unit 2, charged with the task to police the city’s large population of mythological beings, known as “Links.”

What? This show wasn’t on the list? It was hilarious! And “The Middleman” totally rips it off. The bantering between the two detectives and Carl the Klepto-gnome made the stupid monsters bearable. Pauly Perrette was in it, too. Her current show rocks, and she’s an authentic mistress of Goth forensics. And who knew Jonathan Togo could do comedy? Too bad his current show is such total asscrap.

16. John Doe is an American television series that aired on The Fox Network during the 2002–2003 TV season.

“I woke up in an island off the coast of Seattle. I didn’t know how I got there … or who I was. But I did seem to know everything else. There were things about me I didn’t understand … the brand, being colorblind, extreme claustrophobia. And while my gifts provided answers for others, I still search for my own. My name is John Doe.”

The funny thing is I could not remember the name of this series about a mysterious man who woke up nekkid in the woods, unable to remember his name. It was a good show that kept me coming back each week, hoping to learn a little more about the title character. Never did find out who he was or why he knew so much, and I missed the final episode, which had a surprising plot twist. Wikipedia has the answers – I was pretty surprised, too.

There are more moldy oldies out there – UFO scared me when I was a kid – the “liquid-filled helmets” brought on nightmares – but I insisted on watching faithfully every week. And the same creator(s) were responsible for the flakiness of Space Precinct, whose title credits are incredibly cheesy in this high-resolution, sharp clip on YouTube. They’re nicely balanced by the poor quality, yet metrosexually hawt of Torchwood’s John Barrowman going behind the scenes at the then-new space oater for a British children’s show. He’s freakishly young-looking, that Barrowman. Maybe he really IS a Time Agent.

And finally, where the HELL is Max Headroom? Here we are, 20 minutes into the future – where are you, Max? He should be on this list! Or at least hacking into the new Who

Recent Related Posts

3 thoughts on “Brilliant but Cancelled: Top Ten SF Series

  1. Now and Again was BRILLIANT. I was heartbroken when they cancelled it. CBS: killer of genre shows.

    It also hasn’t been released on DVD, which makes no sense.

  2. Pingback: Websites tagged "coke" on Postsaver

  3. Pingback: Brilliant but Cancelled | ***Dave Does the Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *