Cancelled Before They Began: Damage Control and Other Shows Not Picked Up During the 2016 Pilot Season

By | June 17, 2016

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 2016 Pilot season has come and gone and has delivered several pickups that will be appearing on the schedule at some point in the 2016-17 season (more on those at this link).  But as with every season, there are several pilots kicked to the curb that will not get a chance to prove themselves as a TV show.  NBC and FOX picked up all the genre pilots they had in the queue, and CBS only had the MacGyver reboot which was picked up (plus they have the new Star Trek series which will bow on CBS All Access in 2017).  Following are the pilots that ABC and The CW did not pick up with my comments.  The loglines for each of these come from The Hollywood Reporter (and you can see their full rundown of the 2016 pilots at this link) except for Damage Control which comes from


damage-controlDamage Control: Based on the organization created in the Marvel Comic universe. Damage Control is an entity headed by a financial steward that tries to repair, replace or remediate collateral damage (originally in New York) caused by fights involving superheroes and super villains.

Comments: This superhero comedy looks like it could have been a ton of fun, but it did not even make it to the Pilot finals round.  At one point, there were talks that ABC could have four Marvel shows on its schedule in 2016-17 with this and Marvel’s Most Wanted (see below) joining Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter.  But instead, that latter show has been cancelled, both the pilots kicked to the curb and AoS appears to be heading into its final season.

Marvel’s Most Wanted: A second spinoff from Agents of SHIELD, the drama follows the adventures of Bobbi Morse (aka Mockingbird) and Lance Hunter.

Comments: I discuss this one in more detail at this link.

Spark: Set in an alternate history where gas and coal fuel the world, this genre soap centers on the battle for power between two rival families and a rebellious young woman with a spark of invention that could level both their empires.

Comments: Sounds like a completely unique idea that would mix Steam Punk with soap opera and might have delivered an interesting show (if it wasn’t too heavy on the soap side).  It was probably just too far from the current television norm for the ABC execs to greenlight it.

The CW:

Transylvania (tentative title): In 1880, a headstrong young woman (Laura Brent) in search of her missing father ventures from NYC to Transylvania where she teams with a wrongfully disgraced Scotland Yard detective (Luke Allen-Gale). Together they witness the births of the most famous monsters and villains in history.

Comments: This sounds like The CW’s take on Penny Dreadful which would have given us a bunch of pretty young faces instead of the stellar cast heading up the Showtime series.  Julie Plec might have been able to pull it off, but this wasn’t her project and I don’t think this retread will be missed.

Untitled Kevin Williamson paranormal drama: A young woman seeks help from a parapsychologist when she begins to experience paranormal phenomena. (Currently being redeveloped)

Comments: There’s really not enough information to gauge whether this would have been worth the effort, but then it also doesn’t sound like it would have been much different than all the other supernatural dramas that have flooded the airwaves the last few years.  Kevin Williamson is taking another stab at this, though, so it could be back in contention for next year’s Pilot Season.

Untitled Mars drama: A team of explorers arrive on Mars to join the first human colony on the planet, only to discover that their predecessors have vanished. Led by a woman whose husband is among the missing, the colonists are forced to change their mission from exploration and settlement to investigation and survival, while navigating the hostile planet and their own personal demons.

Comments: While I would love to see a space colonization show join the ever-burgeoning list of genre entries, I’m not sure The CW is the right landing place for this.  It likely would have been another copy-and-paste affair populated with pretty, young faces.  Maybe Netflix or Amazon would be interested in redeveloping this?

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