The end of season cancellation announcements are already a month in the past, but fans of several of the ill-fated sci fi / fantasy entries have not given up on their shows and are currently fighting to see them live on into additional seasons. Based on history, once a series has officially received its cancellation notice, its chances of seeing that decision reversed are slim. But then the streaming services Netflix and Amazon Instant Video have come on strong with their original programming the last few years and have shown a willingness to save cancelled shows (Arrested Development for the former and Ripper Street for the latter). Hulu has even made some waves just lately, most notably with its pickup of the NBC’s cancelled sitcom Community.
So with that in mind, are any of this last season’s cancelled sci fi / fantasy shows good candidates for a revival by one of these services? I consider each of them below (and throw in last Summer’s Siberia as well) from most likely to least. And note that my ranking is not based on which shows I personally would want to see picked up but on which ones could be a good fit based on their cost, their name recognition, and the fanbase they have established.
1 Star-Crossed (CW, Cancelled after One Season) – This series may have pulled poor ratings even for the fifth place network (not helped by the fact that it was scheduled on a particularly treacherous night), but it apparently managed to attract a loyal and active following based on the votes it received in our recent poll and the social network activity I have seen surrounding it. And it is a very good candidate because it should be a relatively low cost show seeing as it aired on The CW and should easily fit within the budgets that Netflix or Amazon is playing with and possibly even Hulu. If one of those services is not looking at this one (or even one of the cable channels), they definitely need to give it some attention.
2 Siberia (NBC, Cancelled after One Season) – This Summer 2013 entry was never really cancelled, NBC just elected not to carry it for a second season. But it came to them prefunded (following a new model for producing a television series) and it was a relatively low cost entry similar to the shows on The CW. And the series has picked up a following worldwide even if they are not as vocal as the fans of shows like Star-Crossed, Dracula, and Revolution (we see regular traffic as CancelledSciFi.com from people searching for its status). It is ripe for a pickup and could easily fit within the budget constraints of Netflix and Amazon and likely Hulu as well, and they should give a long hard look at it.
3 Dracula (NBC, Cancelled after One Season) – This show never enjoyed great ratings, but it did okay for its Friday 10 PM EST timeslot. And it managed to amass a notable following based on the fact that it it received the most votes in our poll and also on the social network activity I have seen. As a period show, it’s likely more expensive than Star-Crossed above, but it also has an international financing arrangement that apparently makes it less expensive than the typical hour drama that airs on the Big Four broadcast networks. The series definitely has the name recognition and I have heard that it played very well overseas, so that should help its cause as well. It would seem like this one (as well as the two mentioned above) would be a sure thing for any of the three streaming services to take a flyer on.
4 Revolution (NBC, Cancelled after Two Seasons) – After the first three entries, things start to get a bit more murky. Revolution started its first season as a ratings darling, though its numbers tracked downward through its first year. And in its second year its ratings slipped further, though that can be blamed in part on its dubious early timeslot that did not fit well with its darker tone. Still, the series has built up a loyal fanbase that is actively campaigning for the show and they claim that series producer John Favreau supports their efforts. Revolution would be more expensive than the shows above, but possibly still in the ballpark for Netflix who has indicated they are willing to go toe-to-toe with the broadcast nets on production costs. It could be a big PR win if one of the streaming services picked this one up, especially with big names like Favreau, J.J. Abrams, and Eric Kripke attached to it. The money may be the biggest stumbling point, but it is a possibility.
5 Almost Human (FOX, Cancelled after One Season) – By all rights, Almost Human should be considered almost a hit. It ended the season ranked Number 29 among all broadcast network shows based on its rating in the 18-49 demographic and could have likely ended higher if not for the scheduling hurdles FOX threw at it. I’m surprised that another broadcast network or one of the cable channels has not shown an interest in snagging it. But if Netflix of Amazon were to grab it, that could bring them some good PR with J.J. Abrams’ name attached. The biggest issue with this one is that it is certainly an expensive entry and may be pushing the bounds of what the streaming services can afford. And I haven’t noticed that AH has generated near as much social activity as Star-Crossed, Dracula, or Revolution, so I’m not certain how strong its fanbase is. Still, it deserved better than the treatment FOX afforded it and one of the networks or streaming services should consider giving it a chance.
6 The Tomorrow People (CW, Cancelled after One Season) – This series started off the season with decent ratings (for the fifth place network) though quickly slacked off to a pretty mediocre level. But then it started to get some good buzz from fans during the second half of the season in contrast to the rather tepid response to its early episodes. It would seem like this one should be above both Almost Human and Revolution seeing as it is a lower cost entry like Star-Crossed, but then I don’t see that it has generated the same passion among its fans as that latter entry. If the fans were to come together and make a stand for the show, it could interest one of the three streaming services. But short of that rally, its chances seem slim.
7 The Neighbors (ABC, Cancelled after Two Seasons) – This second year sci fi sitcom never lived up to the low ratings expectations of its Friday night timeslot and ended up getting the cancellation notice I expected it to receive during its first year. But with two seasons under its belt, you would have thought it would have developed some sort of notable fanbase. And seeing as sitcoms are cheaper to produce than dramas, you might think one of the streaming services would have an interest in it. But fan noise has been almost non-existent, so its chances of continuing on seem negligible.
8 Believe (NBC, Cancelled after One Season) – This series unfortunately got shuffled into a difficult timeslot and just could not contend with the competition from shows like The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, and Resurrection. It has some pedigree attached to it with the names of J.J. Abrams and Alfonso Cuarón in its credits. And it should be cheaper to produce than Almost Human or Revolution. But it never seemed to develop much of a following (in a large part because of its scheduling) so I don’t know that any of the streaming services would have an interest in it.
9 Being Human (Syfy, Cancelled after Four Seasons) – The cancellation announcement for this show came as a bit of a surprise considering its ratings were better than Syfy’s two renewed shows from 2013-14, Haven and Helix. But according to series star Sam Witwer, the fourth season wrap-up was planned and I did not hear much outcry from the show’s fans. Financially, this show would likely be a good pickup because its production costs should not be too high (unless the BBC has a steep licensing fee attached to it). But I don’t see too much interest in having it continue, so a pickup seems unlikely.
10 Intelligence (CBS, Cancelled after One Season) – This series could never find much of an audience in the difficult Monday 10 PM EST timeslot, and I believe that genre fans mostly dismissed it as yet another CBS procedural with a twist. It’s likely a relatively costly entry as well, but the Josh Holloway factor would bring some attention to the show if picked up by Netflix or Amazon. Still, that seems like an extreme longshot even though the show deserved better.
11 Once Upon A Time in Wonderland (ABC, Cancelled after One Season) – This spin-off from Once Upon A Time was allegedly planned for only a single season run in the first place (but of course more would have followed if it scored well in the ratings). And it never generated much of a following (even among the parent show’s fans) in part because of its scheduling in the treacherous (for ABC) Thursday 8 PM EST timeslot. It will live on as part of the Once Upon A Time syndication package, but I don’t see any of the three streaming services showing an interest in footing the bill for new episodes.