Cancelled Before They Began: Mission Control, The Machine, Lost Boys and More 2017 Pilots That Did Not Fly

By | June 15, 2017

Pilot Season has come and gone, and the networks have made their selections on which shows will be joining their schedules for the coming season. However, that always means that several pilots get left behind and lose the chance to prove that they could have succeeded as an ongoing series. This year, the networks ordered fewer pilots, which meant that not as many got passed over, but there were still a handful that we missed out on. Here is a look at the  and  entries from 2017 that did not get a chance to fly.

Note: Fox’s pilot for the vampire series The Passage has been pushed off-cycle and is still being considered for mid-season. Additionally, we have not heard word on the Amazon pilots Oasis and The Legend of Master Legend yet.


'Charmed' [Credit: CBS TV]
  • Network: The CW
  • Premise: This was planned as a prequel of sorts to the WB series about three witches, which would have taken place in 1976 and had different characters in the lead roles.
  • Comments: Very few people have been clamoring for a reboot/prequel for a series that ended only seven years ago, but The CW has not given up on this one yet, with plans to revisit the project as an option for its 2018–19 schedule.


  • Network: ABC
  • Premise: After 9/11, a group of the world’s most brilliant “out-of-the-box” thinkers is put together to consider other manmade disasters and formulate possible solutions. Years later they are reassembled when one of the scenarios they presented actually happens.
  • Starring: Claire Holt, Justin Chatwin, Jack Davenport, Taye Diggs
  • Comments: This sounds like one of those not-quite-sci-fi entries, but it could have explored some of the same “what if” ideas we often see presented by the genre. It could have turned into an interesting show if it managed to avoid the procedural rut.

Lost Boys

'The Lost Boys' [Credit: Warner Bros.]
  • Network: The CW
  • Premise: Coming from Rob Thomas, this would re-imagine the 1987 film about young vampires, with an over-arching plan to have it follow the characters over seven seasons, with each season covering a 10-year period.
  • Comments: As with Charmed above, this one has been pushed in favor of other projects but may get another look next year. With Thomas involved, it could provide an interesting twist on the original film if it doesn’t get lost in development hell.

The Machine

'The Machine' [Credit: Content Media]
  • Network: Syfy
  • Premise: In a future world, the emergence of artificial intelligence leads to a conflict between humans and technology that could decide the fate of the human race.
  • Starring: Bridger Zadina, Olly Rix, Katee Sackhoff, Lance Henriksen, Indira Varma
  • Comments: Based on the 2013 film of the same name, this was shaping up to have a lot of potential, especially with Sackhoff and Henriksen joining the cast. Syfy passed on the project, but word is that it is being shopped around.

Mission Control

  • Network: CBS
  • Premise: NASA personnel juggle their personal and professional lives as they work on a critical mission of near-space exploration.
  • Starring: Ellen Wroe, Peyton List, David Giuntoli
  • Comments: This one came from Andy Weir of The Martian fame, and sounded like it could have delivered a good speculative fiction series that championed space travel in a time when the country has lost interest in that endeavor. However, I didn’t like the idea of this one landing at sci-fi-averse CBS, and had a hard time seeing it fitting in with their routine lineup of sitcoms, procedurals and reality shows. Fortunately, Hulu is working on a very similar premise with The First (more on that one here) and maybe they can get Weir onboard now that he has availability.


  • Network: NBC
  • Premise: Based on a series of short stories by True Blood‘s Charlaine Harris, this one follows a group of operatives who have been reactivated and drawn into a global conspiracy.
  • Starring: Tommy Flanagan, Hannah Ware, Greg Germann
  • Comments: I don’t know too much about the original Harris stories, but this one sounded like yet another convoluted, conspiracy-laden series. Shaun Cassidy (American GothicInvasion) was attached, though, so perhaps he could have added some interesting twists.


  • Network: The CW
  • Premise: A brother and sister discover that the stories their late mother used to tell them have real-life links to the legends and myths of old from across the world.
  • Starring: Alex McGregor, Marc Blucas, Zane Holtz
  • Comments: This Greg Berlanti entry (a rare miss for him) could have been interesting, and word is that the pilot is being shopped around to other venues.

Spaced Out

  • Network: NBC
  • Premise: In this The-Office-goes-to-space series, a group of people must overcome their differences while building a rocket that will travel to Mars.
  • Starring: Miranda Cosgrove, Christine Woods, Donald Faison
  • Comments: This one had iCarly star Miranda Cosgrove in the lead and could have turned into a fun little show. At least we still have the Galaxy Quest-like The Orville on the way from Fox this Fall.


[Credit: Image Comics]
  • Network: NBC
  • Premise: Based on the comic book of the same name, police detective Sara Pezzini discovers the supernatural powers of the gauntlet known as the Witchblade and uses those to fight evil.
  • Comments: This one actually never made it to the pilot stage as NBC ordered a few scripts and had Vampire Diaries showrunner Caroline Dries working on development. It appears at this point that they have decided not to move forward with it, but it could resurface over the next year. TNT previously did a Witchblade series that ran for two seasons from 2001–2. There was also an Anime featuring the character that was produced in 2004.

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