So the initial shock of the recent cancellation announcement has worn off, but the fans of these shows aren’t willing to give up just yet so they are asking: what’s next? The answer of course is the infamous and much reviled “Save My Show” campaign. We’ve all heard the legends of them. The notorious letter-writing campaign to save Star Trek back in the late 60’s, the nuts campaign to convince CBS to change its mind about cancelling Jericho, the publicity campaign to sway another network to pick up FOX’s cancelled Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. And sometimes these campaigns work (though they rarely win the show more than one additional season), and sometimes they don’t.
Of course the landscape has changed the last couple of years with new players Netflix and Amazon now in the mix and both showing a willingness to save cancelled shows. So is there a chance that one or more of this season’s cancelled shows could still carry on? The ugly truth is that it’s a long shot no matter what. Once a show gets the ax, then the cast and crew are released from their contracts and the sets are usually destroyed, making it difficult to then bring all parties back together to resume the series. But it’s also not impossible, especially if fans act immediately and can get things rolling before the full shutdown goes into effect.
So I will take a look at several of this season’s cancelled shows and gauge their prospects for continuation despite the fact that they have already had a visit with the Network Executioner.
Revolution (NBC, Cancelled After Two Seasons) – This series is the one I am currently seeing the most post-cancellation activity about. The show’s ratings have been in the toilet all season, but it does have a loyal and very devoted fanbase which is something that the network should pay attention to (that launched Star Trek–also cancelled by NBC–into a multi-billion dollar franchise). I previously wrote an Open Letter to the network suggestion that they work together with the fans to come up with a practical way to keep the show going, but I don’t see that anything substantial ever came from that. Currently, the fans are lobbying other networks to pick up the show as well as Netflix and Amazon (you can get more information on the campaign at saverevolution.blogspot.com). There’s the typical talk of Syfy picking up the show, but that cable channel is owned by NBC and has a very full development slate, so I just don’t see that happening. TNT probably would not have an interest either because they already have two post-apocalyptic shows on their schedule (Falling Skies and this Summer’s The Last Ship). USA might seem like a possibility, but they–like Syfy–are owned by NBC, and I’m sure a deal would have already been worked out if the network had an interest in continuing the series. And the fact is that Revolution is an expensive show that would be difficult for any of the cable nets mentioned above to afford. Netflix, though, has previously mentioned that they are willing to try and compete with the broadcast networks as far as production costs, so they are a possibility. Amazon is as well, though I don’t know what type of money they are playing with for budgets. I say that the fans try and work directly with one of these two streaming services and perhaps come up with a campaign that would pre-fund a third season of six to twelve episodes where they agree to pay around $3 per ep. That upfront financing from the fans may be enough to convince one of the two services to greenlight the series (assuming they could work out a deal with NBC and Warner Bros.), and if that does well then more seasons could follow. Start small and maybe focus on a six episode season, because that means a lower financial commitment from Netflix or Amazon, but it opens the door for future seasons. I haven’t seen this strategy attempted before–though I have suggested it–so no guarantees that it would work. But it’s worth a shot and it appeals to the bottom dollar which is important to any business, and all of these networks and services are businesses trying to turn a profit.
Almost Human (FOX, Cancelled After One Season) – Fans of this show should pass on any attempt to convince FOX to bring it back, because that network appears to have done all they could to sink it in the first place. But the fact is that the show had decent ratings and could have done better if not hampered by poor scheduling and airing episodes out of order. I would think that another broadcast network might have interest in the show, especially if fans demonstrate a strong outpouring of support. And I would have thought NBC might be a good landing place, but AH comes from the same studio and production company as the cancelled Revolution and Believe so they may not be on the best of terms. And as mentioned above, Syfy probably doesn’t have any capacity for a new entry to their schedule, plus Almost Human would likely be too expensive for the cable nets. It may be worth lobbying ABC, though that’s a long, long shot (don’t even try genre-averse CBS, and The CW likely could not afford the production costs). So beyond that, Netflix or Amazon may be the best bet following the pre-funding model I mention above for Revolution.
Dracula (NBC, Cancelled After One Season) – This series was produced through an international arrangement that made it cheaper to NBC. But apparently not cheap enough to keep it going based on the ratings it was pulling in the Friday 10 PM EST timeslot (even though it performed better than Hannibal which did get renewed). I’m guessing that Dracula‘s production company owns the rights to the show and they can shop it around to other venues. Fans should make some noise for the show to help that cause, because I believe this one has strong name recognition and international appeal and could be an attractive pickup for any of a number of the cable channels (particularly Chiller?) and/or the streaming services.
The Tomorrow People (CW, Cancelled After One Season) – This series seemed to build up its following (though not its ratings) as its season progressed, and since it aired on The CW it was likely a relatively inexpensive show to produce. Thus it could potentially shift to a cable channel, though I’m not certain which one would have an interest in it as they all have pretty full development slates at the moment. It is a good fit for Netflix or Amazon because its more affordable, though it may be difficult to interest them because the show never had great ratings. It was based on a popular British series from the 70’s, so that name recognition could help it in the international markets. Its chances seem very slim at this point, though.
Star-Crossed (CW, Cancelled After One Season) – This show arrived pretty much DOA on The CW as they scheduled it on Monday nights which have been a disaster for them of late. Its ratings were poor even for the fifth place network, though it apparently did develop a small fanbase. It’s in a similar position as The Tomorrow People above, though not as strong because it has little in the way of name recognition.
The Neighbors (ABC, Cancelled After Two Seasons) – This series beat the odds before and it actually turned into a fun little romp once it figured out what it wanted to be. I never sensed that it had much of a fanbase, but if they are out there they might be able to make some noise and convince a cable channel like TBS to keep it going (that net continued Cougar Town for several seasons after also getting cancelled by ABC).
Intelligence (CBS, Cancelled After One Season) – This fun series deserved better, but had the misfortune of landing on genre-averse CBS (and not have CSI or NCIS in its name, nor a Chuck Lorre production credit attached to it). It sunk quickly in the ratings and there’s no chance its network would change its mind on the cancellation. It’s likely an expensive series, so it would be difficult for a cable channel to afford it and it never developed much of a fanbase, so its chances are next to nil unless I have misjudged its following.
Believe (NBC, Cancelled After One Season) – It looks like this late season entry will not even get to finish airing its episodes unless NBC casts it to a Summer burn-off run. It never had the chance to build much of a following, so I’m not expecting this one to get a second lease on life.
Once Upon A Time in Wonderland (ABC, Cancelled After One Season) – No chance this one will continue beyond its first season, but do expect to see it get tacked on to Once Upon A Time‘s eventual syndication run.
Being Human (Syfy, Cancelled After One Season) – More on that one at this link.
Star Trek New Visions #1 Mirror Cracked
By: John Byrne
Following up on last years hugely successful ‘Strange New Worlds’ photonovel, John Byrne once again sets sail aboard the Starship: Enterprise, this time with an ongoing, bi-monthly series that begins by going through the looking glass to tell the story of what happened after the classic ‘Mirror, Mirror’ episode of the original series.
The crew discovers two strangers in their midst, and quickly learns that one has made a pact with one of James Kirk’s oldest foes. ‘The Mirror, Cracked’ is the title, and the action unfolds in May!