Our ongoing look back at sci fi / fantasy TV shows that were cancelled way too soon or pilots that never made it to series.
I previously took a look at the 2015 pilots that were passed over by the broadcast networks this year (at this link) and thought it might also be worthwhile to look back over the last few years to see some of the other sci fi / fantasy pilots that never made it to series. The descriptions for each of these below come from The Hollywood Reporter. You can see THR‘s full rundown of the 2013 pilots at this link and the 2014 pilots at this link.
Johnny Jay Says: It would be great to get a good western back on television and one with genre elements would be even better (we miss you Brisco Country Jr.). I’ve never read the comics that this was based on, but sounds like an interesting story. I’ll have to search them out since this won’t make it to the small screen.
Supernatural: Bloodlines (CW, 2014): Explores the clashing hunter and monster cultures of Chicago.
Johnny Jay Says: This aired as a backdoor-pilot during Supernatural‘s ninth season (episode #20, appropriately titled “Bloodlines”). and for some reason got ripped to shreds by the fans. I rather liked it and thought it would make a decent spin-off to the long-running series, though its power struggle themes may have crossed into the same territory that The Originals has covered (quite well, I might add). And with the recent demise of Charlie, the obvious spin-off (that The CW couldn’t see for some reason) starring her won’t happen. But I bet they will come up with another idea next season.
Hieroglyph (FOX, 2014): The high-concept fantastical action-adventure show is set in ancient Egypt and centers on a notorious thief who is plucked from prison to serve the Pharaoh (Reece Ritchie), navigating palace intrigue, seductive concubines, criminal underbellies and even a few divine sorcerers.
Johnny Jay Says: This historical fantasy/drama was actually greenlit straight to series, but then got cancelled in production. Sounds like it could have delivered a Game of Thrones type drama, though you have to wonder how watered-down the final product would have been on the broadcast networks.
Tin Man (NBC, 2014): A psychological crime thriller that focuses on a fugitive robot (Gossip Girl‘s Patrick Heusinger) accused of first-degree murder who may hold the key to the future of human evolution and the young female public defender forced to fight his case.
Johnny Jay Says: Sounds like a pretty interesting premise, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the failure of FOX’s Almost Human in the 2013-14 season swayed the NBC execs away from another android-centric series.
Gothica (ABC, 2013): A sexy gothic soap set in the present day that weaves together a mythology that incorporates the legends of Dracula, Jekyll and Hyde, Frankenstein (Tom Ellis) and Dorian Gray (Chris Egan), among others.
Johnny Jay Says: Looks like this one would have covered some of the same territory as Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, just in a more modern setting. Sounds like it had some potential, but may not have been a good fit for the broadcast networks.
Wonderland (NBC, 2013): The modern-set follow-up to Lewis Carroll’s Alice revolves around Clara, whose life took an unexplained turn for the worse seven years ago. A mysterious stranger tells her there may be an explanation after all … that lies in the fantastical world of Wonderland. Determined to revive her dreams and get her life back on track, Clara agrees to wage war against the reigning but malevolent Queen, the woman we once knew as Alice.
Johnny Jay Says: One of two Alice in Wonderland based shows considered for the 2013-14 season, the other was ABC’s spin-off Once Upon A Time in Wonderland which got the greenlight but then got cancelled after one season. The NBC series sounds like it could have had some potential, but I think audiences were already getting tired of fairy tale characters by then.
The Selection (CW, 2013): Set 300 years in the future, the drama is an epic romance centering on a working-class young woman chosen by lottery to participate in a competition with 25 other women for the Royal Prince’s hand to become the nation’s next queen. Balancing her loyalty to family, true love and the kingdom, she must attempt to remain true to herself as she navigates the cutthroat competition and palace intrigue, all while a budding rebellion threatens to topple the crown. Based book by Kiera Cass.
Johnny Jay Says: Looks like this one could have had an epic scoped to it, but also likely plenty of CW-style melodrama and angst as well. The network probably decided this one shared too many elements with Reign and The 100 and decided to pass on it.
Babylon Fields (NBC, 2014): The dead are rising in Babylon, N.Y., with lives regained, old wounds reopened and families are restored — for better or worse. The newly regenerated bodies are healing faster and growing stronger, prompting discussion that this might be the next step in human evolution.
Johnny Jay Says: This one was not a remake/reworking of the French series Les Revenants like A&E’s The Returned and ABC’s Resurrection (both now cancelled), but it sounds like it shared many of the same ideas. Probably a good thing NBC passed on this one.
Second Sight (CBS, 2013): Based on the U.K. by series of the same name by Paula Milne, the gothic psychological thriller revolves around a detective (My Name Is Earl‘s Jason Lee) who is suddenly afflicted with an autoimmune virus that causes hallucinations reflective of his subconscious. He discovers that catching the killer depends as much on insight as eyesight.
Johnny Jay Says: Yet another crime drama with a twist that I’m sure we won’t miss.
Delirium (FOX, 2013): Based on best-selling trilogy about a world where love is deemed illegal and is able to be eradicated with a special procedure. With 95 days to go until her scheduled treatment, Lena Holoway (Emma Roberts) does the unthinkable: she falls in love.
Johnny Jay Says: This sounds like maybe enough story for a movie (that I wouldn’t be particularly interested in), how exactly were they going to stretch it out into an ongoing series? No wonder the ratings for the broadcast networks are in the toilet these days.