Science Fiction and Television

Science fiction and television don’t seem to be getting along very well lately.  For every long running series like Doctor Who, there’s a half-dozen series killed before their time, ala Firefly.

It’s somewhat understandable.  Scifi series cost more to make than a sitcom or yet another reality TV show.  They may not appeal to people who have a limited view of what science fiction is or how it relates to them.  And people may not have time for another show, and they may be confused if they miss a few episodes.

Even knowing the seemingly inevitable fate of scifi shows, I tend to watch them anyway.  This is probably a mistake.  Last year, ABC had an amazing series on called FlashForward.  I adored it, liked it from the very first episode (and I normally take a few episodes to acclimate myself to a show), loved the way it made you wonder whether or not you could change the future once you knew what it was going to be.

It was, of course, cancelled after its first season.  It ended on a cliffhanger and I will never know what happened.

The last scifi series I picked up, Warehouse 13, is now on its third season, but it is on SyFy and that is, arguably, the safest place for a scifi series to be.

When was the last time a network scifi series made it to any great length?  I think it might actually be something like Star Trek: Deep Space Nine back in the early 2000s.  People ask me why I don’t watch TV and the answer, for me, at least, is that there’s nothing worth watching.  I don’t mind the odd sitcom or something like the Simpsons, but I rarely find anything that pulls me in and gives me a reason to come back week after week.

My husband and I have recently started watching a new science fiction show on TNT called Falling Skies.  It took a few episodes to get into, but it’s got me hooked now.  Hopefully it will get renewed; there’s some hope, since it’s not on a broadcast network.  There’s another new series starting on FOX in September called Terra Nova – people from the future (having destroyed the planet) go back in time and, from what I gathered from the previews, get eaten by dinosaurs.  Which, really, I like dinosaurs and I like science fiction so this show interests me (do we not care about disruptions to the timeline?) but FOX has a notoriously bad reputation for cancelling shows early on, so I don’t know if it’s worth my time.

What scifi shows have you in their grasp right now, Squiders?  Have you been watching Falling Skies?  Looking forward to Terra Nova?  (There’s also a fantasy/detective show coming out called Grimm that I somewhat have my eye on.)  Why do you think scifi can’t get a decent hold on non-cable television?

13 responses to this post.

  1. It’s a shame about FlashForward — I was going to start watching that, and it looks like I’m late to the party. I’m really loving Fringe — I started with season 1. Apparently, they are in their 4th season now.

    There was a show on ABC called Invasion. Came on after Lost, and my ex and I got into it and it got cancelled waaaay early (before the end of the season, I believe). There’s also Legend of the Seeker on CW50 that got canned after season 2. They were able to finish it out, but that show was AMAZING. I don’t even know how it got cancelled. Might have something to do with the 2nd season timeslot — 7pm on Sundays. Weird.



  2. I love me some Fringe! I’m very glad it’s doing well so far.

    Other shows, which I loved, that were sadly killed far too soon:
    *Journeyman – hard to say I “love” it, but I think it had a lot of potential
    *Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles
    *Defying Gravity (only a handfull of episodes from the first season aired; Canada got a couple more, but I couldn’t find them) – this was a real gem…way under the radar, too. Aired on ABC, I think, last year or the year before in a really bad timeslot. The acting was good (had the dude from Office Space and the girl who played Daisy in Dead Like Me) and the story and drama was very intriguing. Unfortunately what little ratings they had dropped off quickly so that they even tried accelerating the big mystery of the plot, but it didn’t work. Damn shame.

    I don’t really think there’s much new I’m looking forward to this season. Talk about the previews of Grimm was pretty lukewarm; I’d like it to be good though. Terra Nova could be cool, but I haven’t seen anything to grab me in. Awake looks interesting though.


    • I’m not a huge TV watcher so I admit I don’t really pay attention to anything not scifi or fantasy-related, but I am disappointed that Season 2 of Sherlock has been moved to next year, so I don’t have much to look forward to, either.


  3. Posted by Isi on 2011/08/17 at 5:06 PM

    I haven’t watched TV in years (not *on* TV anyway), but a while back ABC Family had this quirky little gem called the Middleman, which was like Doctor Who, but more comic booky and with a lot more lampshading (as far as I can tell, anyway. I’ve only seen about four episodes of Doctor Who. I’m working on it, okay?). Cancelled after one season, of course. Actually, no. It didn’t even get that. The first season was supposed to be 13 episodes, but it only got 12, so they didn’t even have time to wrap things up.

    *sniff* I loved that show.


  4. Posted by scribbles on 2011/08/17 at 10:51 PM

    Disclaimer: I watch a ridiculous amount of TV. >_>

    I got hooked on Falling Skies, too. I thought the pilot was ridiculously slow and was almost convinced about writing it off, but somewhere along the line, I got hooked.

    Eureka’s on the channel that was formerly known as SciFi, and it’s been canned. Big hoo-ha: first the network confirmed ordering an extra six episodes. Then they backtracked and announced it’s being canceled with no episodes order instead. Finally, they say they’re ordering one episode instead of the six to give a final episode.

    The cancellation’s not because of ratings–it’s the highest they’ve been for the show– but as you say: it’s just too costly (all the special effects?) and Comcast said no more. It’s all about money.

    Boo. Really hope they’re able to wrap things up satisfactorily, but seriously, ONE episode to do that? Meh.

    Also watching Warehouse 13, too, although I’m unsure about the new kid and the whole new villain behind the scenes. I’m finding this season starting off a little slow. What do you think?

    I’m also watching Fringe (J.J Abrams has a way of frustrating me so much that I give up–but I just love Walter in this series).

    Watched V, but with unlikeable characters it was no surprise it got canceled. Couldn’t get into Stargate Universe, sadly since with its cancellation, that’s that last of the Stargate franchise (which I enjoyed, campiness and all).

    I think it really boils down to profit margins: a decent scifi show will need a good budget–and despite its great ratings–it’s not as profitable as the cheaper-to-make alternatives (reality tv).


    • They’re cancelling Eureka? D: But I haven’t had a chance to get into it yet!

      Yeah, the pilot for Falling Skies is not inspired. We almost didn’t go back either, but I’m glad we did. We just finished the episode where Anna finds out that the skitters used to be harnessed and now I can’t stop thinking about it constantly. CONSTANTLY.

      I, um, have not actually watched Warehouse 13 at all this season? I missed the last few episodes of last season, and so I feel like I can’t pick back up until I catch up. (Please tell me Myka and Pete have started making out. I ship them so very hard.)


      • Posted by scribbles on 2011/08/18 at 9:22 AM

        Eureka’s currently airing the Season That Shall Be Known As Season 4.5, and after that, there is Season 5 where all the episodes have already been filmed, except the extra one final episode that needs to be written and filmed. So, you’ll have five seasons to binge on if you go back and start from the beginning! Whee! It’s a really adorable show, although the writers have a weird habit of shaking things up by turning things upside down and inside out. It’s kind of annoying, but they do manage to pull it off surprisingly well.

        As for Falling Skies… it gets better. They might not have known how to start the season, but they really knew how to end it. (Bwhahaha, think on that.)

        Weeelll… I can report that in this season of Warehouse 13, there’s an episode where Myka and Pete wake up in bed together? (Bwahaha, redux?)

  5. I’m currently addicted to Warehouse 13, Doctor Who and Torchwood.

    Then there were Firefly, Invisible Man, Sliders, ST:TNG, ST:DS9, ST:V, Enterprise (sensing a theme at all?),Time Traxx, Quantum Leap, Cleopatra 2525, Andromeda (Aka Hercules in space), and the more trope-worthy stuff like Flash Gordon, Lost in Space, and anything else I could find on DVD. >__>


    • No Star Trek: Original Series or Star Trek: The Animated Series? You are missing out, my friend. (There is an episode of TAS where the Enterprise gets sucked into an alternate dimension or somesuch, and Kirk has a magic battle with a guy dressed as a puritan. I about passed out from laughter.)


  6. […] (We talked about this a bit back in August.) […]


  7. […] talked in the past, Squiders, about science fiction and television. And we’ve got a new crop trying their hand now. (Personally, I’ve […]


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