Our ongoing look back at sci fi / fantasy TV shows that were cancelled way too soon or pilots that never made it to series.
The 2015 Upfronts (where the broadcast networks presented their schedules to the sponsors) have passed and the initial slate for the 2015-16 season has been set (you can get a first look at the upcoming sci fi shows at this link). But not all the pilots that the broadcast networks considered greenlighting to series were picked up, and in this edition of Cancelled Before They Began I will take a look at those failed pilots that will likely never make it to series. The descriptions are courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter (and you can see their full rundown of the 2015 pilots at this link), and I have provided my comments on each below:
Surprisingly, this network–which has shown a willingness to take chances with sci fi / fantasy shows the last few years–ordered no genre pilots this year that I am aware of. Though they are bringing back four shows from the recently ended season (Agents of SHIELD, Agent Carter, Once Upon A Time, and Galavant) and played with the idea of an AoS spin-off (which is not completely dead yet). Plus, they are looking at adding another Marvel series in the upcoming season, though likely not until mid-year the earliest. But the network did not pass on any genre pilots this season.
This typically sci fi-averse network did not pass on any genre pilots this year and actually ordered three shows to series: Supergirl, Limitless, and Angel from Hell (plus they have Person of Interest returning for at least one more year).
The fifth place network already has the majority of its schedule filled with genre entries but it did pass on these two:
Tales from the Darkside: Reinvention of the horror/fantasy/thriller anthology series based on the 1980s series. Each episode will feature at least one story with a completely different cast.
Johnny Jay Says: This is one that I was really hoping would go to series, because we need a good genre anthology back on television. Apparently The CW did not feel strong enough about it, but I have heard that there is still a chance that another network could take a flyer on it or that Hulu could pick it up. I’m certainly hoping.
Dead People: A down-on-his-luck, semi-alcoholic but roguishly charming cab driver (The Walking Dead‘s Andrew J. West) who, after a near-death experience, suddenly has the ability to interact with ghosts, including his late ex-wife (The Lying Game‘s Alexandra Chando) who he has never gotten over.
Johnny Jay Says: Was this going to turn into another one of those cop shows with a twist? We’ve had enough shows over the last decade and more about someone who can talk to/communicate with/channel/see through the eyes of dead people (and The CW already has iZombie) that I don’t think we will be regretting this one not going to series.
This was another network that did not pass on any sci fi / fantasy pilots and ordered three to series: Minority Report, Frankenstein Code, and Lucifer (plus it has the X-Files revival on the way and returning Sleepy Hollow and Gotham).
This network seems to be shying away from genre shows of late with only Heroes Reborn and Grimm on its slate for the coming season (and Blindspots might have some genre elements as well). It did pass on these three, though:
The Curse of the Fuentes Women: When a magical and mysterious young man inexplicably emerges from the ocean, he breathes new passion into the lives of the Fuentes women — the beautiful but lonely Lola, her ailing mother Esperanza and her troubled daughter Soledad.
Johnny Jay Says: This one sounds like a supernatural romance and definitely not something that the core sci fi fanbase would tune in for. Though fans of shows like The Ghost Whisperer and Medium might have found it worth a look.
Unveiled: A one-hour drama following an ensemble of flawed guardian angels who intervene in the lives of those who find themselves facing crisis in an attempt to restore their faith and, often, save their lives.
Johnny Jay Says: More guardian angels messing around with human lives (and this one appeared to lack the acid snarkiness that makes the upcoming CBS entry Angel from Hell worth a look). It was probably wise to let this one go to TV Oblivion.
Warrior: In a grounded, contemporary multicultural and sometimes magical milieu, a damaged heroine (Under the Dome‘s Natalie Martinez) works undercover with physical and spiritual guidance from a mysterious martial arts master (Lights Out‘s Holt McCallany) to bring down an international crime lord.
Johnny Jay Says: It sounds like this one had genre elements and it could have turned into something interesting if it chose to avoid the cop-show-with-a-twist route. I haven’t heard of any attempts to shop it around, though, so we will likely never know.