Our ongoing look back at sci fi / fantasy TV shows that were cancelled way too soon or pilots that never made it to series.
This fantasy series debuted on FOX’s Summer schedule in 1997 when that network was trying to expand programming to those months. It was created by former teen heartthrob Shaun Cassidy (who also created American Gothic, more on that one at this link) as well as Ron Koslow (who gave us 1987’s Beauty and the Beast). The series takes place in Ireland in 400 AD and focuses on one man’s attempt to unite his people and drive out the Roman conquerors. To do that, he must summon up the “roar” of his people, a voice that represents that power and life of every living being (apparently it’s the Celtic version of the Force). While not a great show, Roar definitely had some good moments and showed promise of developing into a decent genre entry if given the chance. FOX had noted the success of fantasy series Hercules the Legendary Journeys an Xena: Warrior Princess at that time and had tried to develop something along those lines. Roar had less of the tongue-in-cheek of those shows and worked more towards delivering a fantasy epic (though on a 90’s television budget). Most interesting about this series is the fact that it gave a young Heath Ledger one of his first starring roles when his career was just getting started off. Other notable players in this show included Vera Farmiga and Sebastian Roché. Unfortunately, the ratings for the show were not to FOX’s liking and it was probably on the higher end budget-wise, so they cancelled it after only eight episodes had aired. The final five of the original thirteen episodes were eventually aired in Summer of 2000. After the cancellation, two novels were written to tie in to the series, the prequel Roar: The Novel as well as the continuation of the story Roar: The Cauldron. But no additional stories related to the series have appeared since then. The has essentially become a footnote in sci fi / fantasy television, but fortunately the complete series has been released on DVD, and it is worth a look for fantasy fans as well as fans of the late Heath Ledger.
Aired: FOX, 1997-2000, 1 Season Totaling 13 Episodes
Created By: Shaun Cassidy, Ron Koslow
Starring: Heath Ledger, Vera Farmiga, Sebastian Roché, Lisa Zane, John Saint Ryan
Available from Amazon.com: