Cancelled Too Soon: Strange World (1999)

By | March 22, 2019

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 1999 series follows a Special Investigator for the Army, Captain Paul Turner (played by Revolution‘s Tim Guinee), who has been tasked with looking into cases involving the abuses of science.  He himself has been a victim of such abuses when he was exposed to chemical weapons, and now must rely on periodic injections of an antidote from a mysterious woman who has her own agenda for him.  The show came from Heroes creator Tim Kring and Buffy/Angel producer Howard Gordon, and was one of several that rode in on the wave of X-Files clones in the late 90’s.  However, it borrowed mostly just the paranoia and government conspiracy aspects from the Chris Carter show (as well as the gritty look and feel), and steered away from paranormal storylines.  It was actually quite a good series with its moody stories and brooding lead played by Guinee and it was heavier on the speculative fiction elements even if it did occasionally fall victim to television’s typical fast-and-loose twisting of science.




Unfortunately its run was all too brief as ABC scheduled it in the difficult Tuesday 10 PM EST timeslot at mid-season without much of a lead-in and against the popular CBS Tuesday Night Movie. Not surprisingly, it debuted to poor ratings and was yanked from the schedule after only three episodes had aired.  But the producers realized early on that ABC was not going to support the show, and they decided to go ahead and write a resolution to the main story arc so that the final product could be considered more of a self-contained mini-series.  The entire thirteen episode run would finally be aired on the Sci Fi Channel in 2002.  Since then, the show has yet to receive a DVD release, nor is it available for online viewing from any of the streaming services (though you can find episodes on YouTube).  Should it show up on one of the streamers or finally get its long overdue DVD treatment, I would recommend giving it a look because this was a sleeper of a sci fi series.

Aired:  ABC, 1999, 1 Season Totaling 13 Episodes

Starring:  Tim Guinee, Kristin Lehman, Vivian Wu

Created By: Tim Kring, Howard Gordon

One thought on “Cancelled Too Soon: Strange World (1999)

  1. Paul

    I am still waiting for its DVD release! When the show was cancelled crew (or someone close to the production) got upset and started making copies to spread. At the time video trading was very popular and it got spread pretty fast. I remember the show replacing NYPD Blue and fans of the show really didn’t like Strange World. It’s too bad. I honestly think it had a potential to be something very cool and interesting.

    Reply

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