Episode 9 — “Sci-Fi TV: Cancelled Too Soon”

“Take my love, take my land
Take me where I cannot stand
I don’t care, I’m still free
You can’t take the sky from me . . .”

But you CAN take away my favorite TV show!

It happens to every fan of fantasy or sci-fi. The networks take a chance on a genre TV show. The fan takes a chance on the show. The fan likes it. The network cancels it.

In this episode, the strangers and aliens take on their favorite cancelled TV shows. What obscure show does Steve wish had continued? What shows do Dr. Jayce and Ben agree on? What other obscure does Steve wish had continued? And what show do all three of the sci-fi guys agree went longer than it deserved? What favorite show of Dr. Jayce went on for three seasons longer than it should have?

Also, we open up the mailbag! A few of you strangers and aliens let us know some of your favorite shows that were cancelled too soon, we read a reply to our replies to your replies about Star Wars, and we read a reply to one of our listeners about our time travel episode (way back in episode 2).

Are your favorite canceled shows represented in our discussion? Send us an e-mail or record yourself in an MP3 and we’ll address that in our next regular episode.

Our next episode will be an interview with sci-fi and comic book writer Jon Lewis!

~ Ben

Firefly is copyright 20th Century Fox








17 responses to “Episode 9 — “Sci-Fi TV: Cancelled Too Soon””

  1. Dave Mattingly Avatar

    Besides the ones mentioned on the show, I also tip my hat to these canceled-too-early series:

    *Alien Nation, buddy cop sci-fi. There were some TV movies to try to explore other themes, but there were many more stories that could have been told. 22 episodes.

    *Nowhere Man, a man’s identity has been stolen, and a mysterious conspiracy wants him dead. 25 episodes.

    *Pushing Daisies, raising the dead had never been so quirky. 22 episodes.

    *Century City, lawyers in the future took on cases involving clones, AI, genetic manipulation, personality downloads, and more. 9 episodes.

    With an honorable mention to The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. They did a nice job of wrapping up, but I’d have loved more.

    1. Ben Avatar

      Aw, man,I should have remembered Alien Nation. They were one of those that got a second chance with a series of tv movies, though.

      And Brisco County, Jr. That show was on Fox the same year that X-Files started, wasn’t it? Seems I remembered the two of them talked about a lot together.

      1. Agent Shadow Avatar

        Hey guys. I STRONGLY agree that firefly was the best show ever cancelled early.
        Wow, what an amazing show and incredible characters. I was so annoyed to find out it was cancelled.
        Great show guys!
        Agent shadow

        One of you knows my real identity but if he reveals it… Well just let me chant:
        Two by two… Hands of blue…

        1. Ben Avatar

          Thanks, Agent Shadow. Don’t worry, your secret is safe with us.

          Your podcast is pretty good itself. I’ve only listened to the first two, but the segment I find most interesting is the “debunkers” segment. Do you ever have anyone come up with something to debunk? I found myself curious after I listened to your podcast.

          If any of our listeners are fans of the X-Files, you should check out Agent Shadow’s podcast.

          1. Agent Shadow Avatar

            Hey Ben thanks for the reply.
            Yeah, our early podcasts weren’t that great but they’ve gotten a lot better I think… especially with our interview of William B Davis (CSM).
            On the debunking segment – I wanted to defend the X-files when people took shots at plot holes (cuz I had some good reasons why some episodes ended the way they did) but that seemed like I would be too confrontational so I changed it to “counter intelligence” which gives inside info instead. I hope you check out our more recent episodes which include a lot of topical music and references to scripture.
            Thanks again
            Agent Shadow

          2. Ben Avatar

            I wondered if it was something like the “No-Prize”, explaining retroactively what might be a plot hole. I’m sticking with the show . . .

            One thing I’m curious about . . . do I have to wait until after you go through every episode to find out what you thought of the latest X-Files movie? I’ve been curious what die hard fans thought of it. As a casual fan, I liked it because it reminded me of a classic episode, and sort of hoped they’d do a few more.

  2. Agent Shadow Avatar

    Nah, you don’t have to wait, I’ll tell you.
    I think it was a below average “monster of the week” that ran too long.
    for those not familiar to the x-files, there where 2 types of episodes: monster of the week episodes (stand alones)
    And “mythology” episodes which were the main storyline of the alien conspiracy/coverup.
    Chris Carter’s decision to have the second movie NOT be a mythology is my second biggest tv/movie pet peave behind fox canceling firefly.
    I agree with you that they should make more movies-especially it being 2012.
    I have a great plot line for that movie that would be perfect… Maybe I’ll write it as we go and have it ready for our finale.
    I can’t wait for you guys to do a stand alone firefly ep, also BSG (both versions) and STNG.
    Hey, if you want to trade affiliate banners I’ll send you ours when I get home (I’m on the road at hotspots all day)
    Oh yeah, I just thought of le femme Nikita too – very underrated espionage series.
    Ok thanks for letting me babble, can’t wait for your next ep.

    Agent Shadow

  3. Hank Harwell Avatar
    Hank Harwell

    All right. I have already castigated the crew here (via twitter) for their lack of acknowledging the FIRST cyberpunk television series (if you don’t believe me, check Wikipedia): Max Headroom. I know the objections people have that the show was centered around the marketing gimmick, but the reality is the marketing side came later; he was ‘created’ (so to speak) to be a virtual host of a music video show for a UK network. the character took off and the network wanted a backstory for Max. That backstory became the basis for a US series that lasted only two seasons, but even today, 25 years after its debut, still has much to say about our society and culture.

    I’m currently working on a series of posts that will celebrate the anniversary of the series and explore some spiritual themes present.

  4. Ben Avatar

    It wasn’t my fault that we forgot! I just forgot to include Twitter comments when I compiled the listener feedback and . . . wait, I guess that is exactly the definition for being at fault.

    Anyway, Max Headroom absolutely is the perfect example of a “cancelled too soon” sci-fi show.

    Please let us know when you post your article! We’ll link to it for sure!

    1. Hank Harwell Avatar
      Hank Harwell

      Will do. As I noted, though the reason I’m riding this as hard as I am is because this year is the 25th anniversary of the series, and hardly a peep out of anyone about this. Kinda makes me a little annoyed.

  5. Dave Mattingly Avatar

    That reminds me. Another too-soon cancellation from roughly the same time as Max Headroom was Automan.


  6. Ben Avatar

    Automan? Wow, there’s a blast from the past! That and Misfits of Science!

    I actually had a friend suggesting we do an “auto” themed show: Knight Rider, Streethawk, Viper, Highwayman, etc.

  7. RC Avatar

    Darn shame I hadn’t found this site previous to now. Another show I loved that fox canceled was The Tick live action series. One of the funniest shows I have ever seen.

    But it moved around and they aired it at the worst times.

    1. Agent Shadow Avatar

      Fox tried to kill their own shows by airing them at the worst times? 🙂
      They took that to an art-form with Firefly.

      I don’t think this method can ever be topped:
      1. air your show at bad times
      2. put your show up against the world series
      3. dont promote your show
      4. keep changing the times your show is on
      (you know, to avoid the people who are LOOKING for it)
      5. *Most importantly* – air your shows’ episodes OUT OF ORDER, so if anyone hears about the show, and is home at the right time to watch the show, and can find the show, and decides to watch it vs the world series, they will be confused because of continuity issues.

      top that 🙂

  8. RC Avatar

    And, Galaxy High was excellent by the way. Some of those 80s cartoons had excellent stories. Heck I would’ve loved to see Space Ace or Dragon’s Lair get a new veneer.

  9. Eric Avatar

    So I’m new to the show and am really enjoying it. I’ve been listening to the older shows and came across this one. I have to say that it it HILARIOUS to me that you started this episode talking about watching Alcatraz (I show that I watched) and then…CANCELLED! Fitting…

    1. Ben Avatar

      Yes, very fitting.

      MINOR SPOILER (although not really if you have seen the trailer) for STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS: the one ship crashing into the earth destroys Alcatraz. Some people have a speculated that was put in there as a nod to Alcatraz being canceled. I just think they like Alcatraz. It IS cool, you know.

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