By Dave B.
Being a fan of a sci-fi show can be hard. Regardless of the show’s quality or entertainment value, it runs a fairly high risk of being canceled right when it is hitting its groove. Although this list isn’t comprehensive, these five shows (in reverse order) are the ones that I miss most. At least for today.
5. Space: Above and Beyond (Fox, 1995-1996)
Not quite a great show, but Space: Above and Beyond was more than solid. It focused on a squad of US Marines who were a major part of the Earth’s efforts to win a war against a mysterious alien menace. In addition to being nominated for two Emmy’s and a Saturn Award, it also has the distinction of having my favorite episode of any TV show, Episode 15, “The Angriest Angel”. It’s Rotten Tomatoes Audience score is 86.
4. Caprica (SyFy, 2010)
A prequel to the much-heralded Battlestar Galactica remake. Despite being nominated for an Emmy (and several other awards), Caprica could never overcome its fairly slow start as far as ratings are concerned. In fact, its ratings were so poor that SyFy didn’t bother to air the final five episodes of the 19 episode first season until a marathon a few months after cancelling the show. It’s Rotten Tomatoes Critic and Audience scores are 81 and 80, respectively.
3. Dark Matter (SyFy, 2015-2017)
This one is still a fresh wound. I’ll be the first to admit, Dark Matter’s first season had some significant issues. It was slow, dark (visually), the dialogue wasn’t great, and it was a bit boring. Seasons 2 and 3 corrected all of those issues, however, and this became one of my favorite TV shows of the past five years. It’s still unclear why the show was canceled, as its ratings seemed acceptable for its timeslot, but it seems like an issue of opportunity cost: even if something is doing alright, if you think you have something better in the pipeline, you’re likely to make a change. The three seasons average a Critic score of 86 and an Audience score of 88 on Rotten Tomatoes.
2. Firefly (Fox, 2002-2003)
Perhaps the biggest travesty on this list, it’s speculated by many that Joss Weadon’s Firefly was sabotaged by Fox executives. Given its timeslot and the fact that the episodes were aired out of order, such speculation is understandable. Firefly won an Emmy along with winning and being nominated for several other awards. Malcolm Reynolds and his crew deserved better and fans of the show deserved many more years of their adventures and exploits. Firefly’s single season Critic score on Rotten Tomatoes is 81 and its Audience score is 96.
1. Farscape (SyFy, 1999-2002)
The longest-running show on this list at four seasons, Farscape suffered from some similar scheduling issues as Firefly, with long stretches of not being on the air (although to be fair, I’m fairly certain that all of the episodes were aired in the correct order). This show is at the top of my list because it gave me the most time to form a bond with the characters and it’s cancellation before it’s fifth and final season was a complete surprise to me. In retrospect, the cancellation makes sense, as this was an expensive show to produce, considering the extensive use of high-quality Henson animatronic puppets for many aliens. Farscape won numerous and was nominated for numerous Saturn awards and although it has no Rotten Tomatoes score, Farscape received an 8.3/10 on IMDb.
What shows (sci-fi or otherwise) do you think were canceled before their time?