I wonder what’s in store for Science Fiction tv series. I believe it will always survive & thrive on the big screen but on tv it’s a different thing altogether. Look at all the scifi franchises that are struggling and all the good shows that have been cancelled.
I will start off with my fav Star Trek – not much to say here. The last we saw anything from Star Trek was when the series finale of Star Trek : Enterprise was aired back in 2004. Luckily the show creators knew in advance that they weren’t going to get a 5th season and they wound things up, giving the series an ending (as bad & unsatisfactory an ending it was). Since then Trek has had a resurgence thanks to 2009’s alternate timeline Kirk, Spock & McCoy era movie, simply titled Star Trek. We will have a sequel in 2013. But what we fans really want is a proper series, in the proper timeline.
Stargate : – Originating with a really good movie in 1994, Stargate launched their tv franchise with a movie length pilot and created an almost legendary series in Stargate SG1. It lasted for 10 season and had 2 live action spinoffs and 1 short lived animated series. While the animated Infinity wasn’t well received, the same couldn’t be said about Stargate Atlantis or Stargate Universe. Much more fast paced than it’s predecessor, Atlantis had a great lead villain race and some cool elements not to mention great chemistry among the cast. However the show was getting cancelled but luckily the makers were able to provide some closure (sort of but it’s better than being left on a cliffhanger). That paved the way for Stargate Universe, a dark, deary and very serious show with a great ensemble cast and great characters. It wasn’t enough. Universe got cancelled after 2 shows and we will never know what happens to the crew of scientists & military personnel lost on an ancient ship. I cursed every one at the network when the cancellation was announced and I still curse them.
Despite the runaway success of Battlestar Galactica aka the rebooted version, their prequel series Caprica didn’t not fare as well. Set 58 years before the events of BSG, Caprica was based mainly on land, in a city that looked way too much like Vancouver, featured way too much drama that it almost became like a soap opera with some special effects. As a concept I liked the show and was hoping that we’d see more action. The series came with a bang (literally, there was a terrorist bomb on a futuristic train) but ended with a “phzzzut”. The series ended with just 18 episodes aired but due to a funny & erratic broadcasting and production schedule due to the 2010 Winter Olympics, they were able to wrap up the show by showing us what they wanted to. And soon a new show was announced, a second spin-off series, Blood & Chrome, set 40 years before the events of BSG, during the Cylon-Humans war and revolving around a young William Adama who has just joined the battle and reporting to a new battlestar for duty – the Galatica. Initially envisioned as as web series, the show was greenlight for a full series and now it is not! Syfy channel has decided not to pursue the series to be shown on tv but is planning to promote it on the web as a digital series. The 90-minute pilot movie will air on Syfy in its entirety at a future date. The producers of the show may still shop the project to other networks. All this back and forth has not diminished the appetites of the fans for a space saga – which leaves me wondering just what the hell does Syfy want? A reality tv series?
V – a huge staple of my childhood back in the 1980s growing up in Kuwait, was cancelled during a cliffhanger. That was the original series. A new series was announced and launched in 2009, with a new sleeker look and some changes made in the reboot. It didn’t really work. The show wasn’t very exciting or engaging but towards the end of it’s short run it did pick up. I was sad but not surprised to see it being cancelled, ironically on an even bigger cliffhanger than the original series. We then had Terra Nova – backed up the mighty Steven Spielberg himself, who is attached as an Executive Producer of the show. We had the time travel element, people going back in time to start life all over again, dinosaurs, gadgets – they could not save Terra Nova from being cancelled. To tell you the truth, the show was becoming rather family oriented and not really science fiction enough but it had potential.
When you look at it, a lot of good science fiction series gets cancelled. The original Star Wars, the original BSG, V, Firefly (ask anyone who has seen this show and they will tell you it is one of the best shows they have ever seen) – the list is endless. The networks wants reality tv crap. Remember how the old music tv channels stop showing music videos and show crappy reality tv shows with idiots doing stupid stunts? That’s what SyFy, the ironically named network channel, is headed for. Meanwhile us true scifi fans have to depend on our dvds, blu rays and watching the old shows online. We need a good shake up of things. A really good scifi series or two to crack things up again. Help us!