Science fiction has had more than its share of failures. Below are some television shows that never made it past one season. Some of them still have cult followings. For some, it’s no wonder why they were cancelled. I give you SciFi’s One-Hit-Wonders:
1. Firefly Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Joss Whedon’s under-rated hit. The cult following after it was cancelled, actually led him to make a following movie, Serenity. This amazing show was definitely cancelled before its time.
Synopsis (from TV.com): Firefly is set five hundred years from today in a new planetary system after humanity abandons “Earth That Was”. Under the leadership of Malcolm Reynolds, a renegade who fought against the new unified central government (the “Alliance”), the crew of the Firefly-class vessel Serenity struggles to survive any way they can. They fly between the border planets to keep away from the Alliance and below its radar. This series was described as a “science fiction western” but is different from other space-based shows as it features no aliens.
2. Battlestar Galactica – IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m talking the original, not the sad excuse for a remake. This was one of the first shows that spawned my love of science fiction.
Synopsis (Read by Lorne Greene): “Fleeing from the Cylon Tyranny, the last Battlestar, Galactica, leads a rag-tag fugitive fleet on a lonely quest. A shining planet, known as Earth.”
3. Planet of the Apes – This classic was based on the novel by Pierre Boulle. And several made-for-tv movies followed the short-lived series.
Synopsis (from TV.com): Astronauts Alan Virdon and Pete Burke are thrown 1100 years forward in time to 3085 AD to find evolved apes have become the dominant species and humans their apathetic slaves. Feared by the ape authorities, their plight turns the head of a promising young chimpanzee named Galen, who adopts the heretical idea that maybe humans aren’t a lower species and can co-exist with apes as equals. As the three struggle to survive life on the run, a bond of friendship grows between them like an intricate tapestry woven right before our eyes, a multi-threaded miracle born of compassion, respect, and the desire to replace fear with understanding.
4. The Flash – From the comic books, the Scarlet Speedster was cancelled before its time simply because the networks could never decide on a timeslot. And viewers never knew when it was showing week to week!
Synopsis (from TV.com): The Flash is the story of Barry Allen, a police scientist who is the victim of a freak accident. While working late, his lab is hit by lightning. The blast shatters a number of vials, so Barry is both electrocuted and bathed in dozens of chemicals. When he recovers, Barry finds that he has gained the ability to move at almost incomprehensible speed. Donning a red and yellow suit, Barry hides his identity from the world as he uses his powers to fight those who the police cannot catch.
5. Alien Nation – Another of my all-time favorites, this ground-breaking show touched on deeper issues of prejudice and racism.
Synopsis (from TV.com): “That was the scene in California’s Mojave Desert five years ago – our historic first view of the Newcomers’ ship. Theirs was a slave ship, carrying a quarter million beings bred to adapt and labour in any environment. But they’d washed ashore on Earth, with no way to get back to where they came from. And in the last five years, the Newcomers have become the latest addition to the population of Los Angeles… ”
6. V – The classic alien invasion story. I just remember the aliens creeped me out as a kid.
Synopsis (from TV.com): They came to Earth, disguised as friends. But instead, they took our water and our people for food. But there is a Resistance… to save our people and our planet. These are the stories of this Resistance…
7. The Tick – The big blue bug as a great comic book character spoof.
Synopsis (from TV.com): The life of a superhero is not easy. There are not enough dangers. However, someone must fight evil and protect good. The few who face this challenge have to leave behind comfort, security and a little sanity. Jumping from roof to roof in one single jump, the mysterious blue justice defender The Tick patrols The City, and his limited knowledge of human life doesn’t interfere with his desire to protect society. The frustrated and well-behaved accountant known as Arthur left his job to join The Tick as The Moth, and now they’re a crime-fighting duo. Arthur has always secretly wished being a superhero. Well, not so secretly, since he used his moth outfit (which looks more like a bunny) to work. On this fight against injustice, The Tick also counts on Batmanuel, a Latino superhero who never promotes himself without a worthy cause. His kryptonite is Captain Liberty, the government’s number one weapon on the battle against supervillains.
8. Invasion – The show started out a bit slow, but actually got pretty good right before it got cancelled. And right before a big reveal. Dang it.
Synopsis (from TV.com): Man has searched the skies for centuries and has never come up with conclusive evidence to prove the existence of other forms of intelligent life. What if we have been looking in the wrong place? What if there were other forms of intelligent life already living among us? What if perceived natural disasters were really diversions created to conceal clandestine alien activities? When a small town at the edge of the Florida Everglades is threatened by a raging hurricane, U.S. Park Ranger Russell Varon must go to great lengths to protect the small community and his family safe. During the storm his young daughter claims to have seen mysterious lights, seemingly unaffected by the gale-force winds, floating near the water. Varon dismisses the sighting, but begins to wonder if there really was some truth to the story after his missing ex-wife turns up naked and her memory of the storm is completely gone. While the community begins to clean up after the storm and piece their lives back together, Varon begins to investigate the strange happenings as he tries to make sense of what is happening.
9. Surface – Sounded like a not-as-exciting version of Invasion. So I never bothered watching.
Synopsis (from TV.com): Ever wonder what life would be like if a new form of sea life began to appear in locales all over the earth? Ã¢â‚¬Å“SurfaceÃ¢â‚¬Â is an expansive drama and undersea adventure that centers on the appearance of mysterious sea creatures in the deep ocean — and tracks the lives of four characters. They are: Laura Daughtery, the young oceanographer who discovers the secret; Dr. Aleksander Cirko, the government scientist who tries to keep things under wraps; Richard Connelly, the Louisiana insurance salesman who loses his brother in a suspicious diving accident; and Miles Bennett, the young boy who brings one of the creatures ashore. The mystery ensnares a spectrum of people, including naval officers in the South Antarctic Sea, a family in North Carolina, scientists from the Oceanographic Institute in Monterey, and fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico. The seemingly innocent creatures they find are beautiful, and kids may even want to play with them — but is there something more to them? One thingÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s for sure Ã¢â‚¬â€œ theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re full of surprises as viewers embark on this journey to discover what might be lurking in the sea.
10. Threshold – The pilot was too cheesy and contrived. It was a tad suspenseful, but obviously no one bothered to tune in.
Synopsis (from TV.com): Threshold revolves around a female government contingency analyst who leads a team of scientists and military personnel who get in contact with a mysterious alien lifeform.
11. Point Pleasant – This is one that I never even heard of till it was cancelled. Then, plenty of people were talking about it and its soap opera qualities.
Synopsis (from TV.com): Something wicked this way comes to Point Pleasant, a usually quiet New Jersey beach town, when a sudden, violent storm washes in more than the tide. After local lifeguard JESSE PARKER sees the beautiful CHRISTINA NICKSON floating in the ocean, he dives into the dangerous waters to save her life and bring her to safety. Little does Jesse know that his heroic rescue heralds the beginning of a battle between good and evil.
12. Night Stalker – re-vision of the 1974 series Kolchak: The Night Stalker. It probably would have been more successful as a movie than a tv show remake.
Synopsis (from TV.com): Crime reporter Carl Kolchak is partnered with Perri Reed at The Beacon, a Los Angeles newspaper. Together they investigate a string of strange murders…all of which may be related to the death of Kolchak’s wife 18 months earlier in a similarly bizarre manner. A murder that the FBI consider Kolchak the primary suspect.
13. Earth 2 – Never heard of it? I wouldn’t be surprised. But hey, Calvin Klein underwear model Antonio Sabato Jr. was in it. That should say it all.
Synopsis (from TV.com): Two hundred years into the future, Devon Adair embarks on a mission to save her son’s life and to provide humanity with a second chance. After traveling through space for twenty-two years, Devon and her small Advance team are forced to crash-land onto the far-away planet known as G-889. They are thousands of miles from their destination: New Pacifica, where they’re supposed to set up a colony for the 250 families that are following. The survivors start out on a long and perilous journey toward New Pacifica. During their journey they will learn a lot about the mysteries of their new home and themselves.