Science fiction is often treated like the unwanted stepchild of television. The genre doesn’t seem to get the respect it deserve on TV. Often times, sci-fi shows, no matter how good they are, tend to be ignored and then quietly moved to a Friday death slot, waiting for its moment to pass. Even fantasy, once thought too uncool to ever be cool, is having a moment with Game of Thrones and suddenly, there are copycats coming left and right.
Sci-fi, though? It’s still being told to stay in its room.
There have been so many sci-fi shows that have tried for their shot at glory only to be shot down and canceled in their prime. We’re still stinging from too many of our favorites being gome before their time and if there ever was a chance for a reboot (please, let’s do more sci-fi reboots), we would welcome back every single one of them.
Of course, there are also a few sci-fi shows on TV right now that have somehow hung on way too lung. With the quality of the shows that have been canceled, it’s unthinkable that some of these remain on air.
Here are 11 Sci-Fi Shows That Were Canceled Too Soon (And 5 That Need To Go).
16. GONE TOO SOON: DOLLHOUSE
Don’t worry, we’ll get to the obvious Whedon entry down the line. However, let’s begin our list with the lesser known (but equally amazing) series that went way too soon.
Dollhouse began as a show about pretty people who could be your wildest fantasy, and with many Joss Whedon shows, the first episodes are rough. Had viewers given it a chance, though, they would have found a smart, funny and interesting show about the nature of one’s self. Are we made up of our bodies, our minds, or both? This show gave no answers but the questions it raised were fascinating.
It did get a second season to tie some of the lose ends together (and drop a seriously excellent twist at the finale), but this show could – and should – have gone on to blow our minds for years to come.
15. GONE TOO SOON: THE 4400
Did you watch a single episode of The 4400? If not, then sadly, you were part of the problem.
There’s a beam of light and suddenly, 4400 people are in the Cascade Range foothills near Mount Rainier, Washington. They’ve all been missing from different eras, some as far back as 1946, but none have aged a day – and then they start developing superpowers.
What began as a mystery of the week show became a deep-routed conspiracy and character-driven show, which only got better in season four. Sadly, it was canceled before a lot of those plot points could work themselves out, leaving us hanging on forever. Yes, there were some post-show novels published but, infuriatingly, those too end on a cliffhanger that has yet bet resolved!
14. NEEDS TO GO: THE 100
We have 100 reasons why this show needs to be canceled, but then we’d be as long-winded as this over-extended series, which has lived long beyond its death date.
What started as an interesting post-apocolpystic YA sci-fi show, complete with characters and a rapid-fire intense plot, has become a prime example of over stretching a story. Since that first year, we’ve seen evil computers, secret societies, even secret-er conspiracies, awful crash landings, killing characters who haven’t been killed, and so much dragging along of the plot.
13. GONE TOO SOON: TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES
“Come with me if you want to live.” We came, we lived, and we were so sad when it all ended.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles told the story of Sarah and John Conner and their female Terminator, Cameron, programmed to defend them. It had violence, action, jokes, love, time travel, computers, mystery, and more violence. It was wonderful.
However, it had only nine episodes in its first season and, despite it being the highest-rated new scripted series of the season, the show never really caught on with viewers. The second season came and went, leaving the fate of our heroes to be unknown. There’s been talk of rebooting or even doing a movie, but for now, the show remains as dead as the T-1000.
12. GONE TOO SOON: JERICHO
This post-apocalyptic drama, set in the aftermath of nuclear annihilation, was an amazing tale of one small town and all the insanity that happened in and around it’s borders.
This show was crazy to begin with and then got crazier every week.
We loved the characters that made up the town and the insane conspiracies that it wove together piece by piece. There’s a good news, bad news situation for Jericho: sadly, it only had two fantastic seasons before being cruelly yanked away from us. However, there were two other seasons published as comic books, if you want to delve a little more into the world.
11. NEEDS TO GO: THE LAST MAN ON EARTH
Look, we love this quirky show and the timelessly entertaining work of Will Forte, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. It’s adorable. It also needs to die.
The Last Man on Earth was great when it was just Will Forte as the titular character, doing all the things you would do if you were the last person on Earth. It was also okay when a few characters turned up, mainly Kristen Schaal. From there, though, it took a nosedive into insane plots, coincidences and just plain weirdness.
(Fred Armisen as a serial killer in a Mexican prison. What?)
10. GONE TOO SOON: FLASHFORWARD
What happened next? We need to know!
We’re very hesitant to tell you to get involved with FlashForward if you’ve never watched it, since the ending is so abrupt and without conclusion that it may drive you mad. However, if you’re all about the journey and not the destination, this one is a goldmine of awesomeness.
In episode one, we watch as everyone in the world loses consciousness for two minutes and seventeen seconds, and sees what their lives will be like six months in the future. The show then delves into the investigation on what happened that day and why – all without answers, since it was sadly canceled after season one.
9. GONE TOO SOON: ALMOST HUMAN
It took a little while to build, but when it got there, this show would have entertained the coldest of robot hearts.
The amazing Karl Urban, playing a disgruntled detective with an bias against robots, gets paired with a robot partner, the equally fantastic Michael Ealy. The show is about their begrudging partnership that turns into an actual friendship a they solve crimes in the future.
Sadly, the episodes were shown out of the order they were made and it was difficult for people to stay with it. There were talks of a renewal, but there was too little viewership and too little interest from Fox to make it happen. We would have liked to see what the show was building towards, with later episodes hinting at a much bigger world beyond the futuristic city.
8. NEEDS TO GO: PHILIP K. DICK’S ELECTRIC DREAMS
You know what’s a great sci-fi show? We’ll give you a hint: it’s an anthology series that tells the dangers of technology, set in the past, future and alternate realities. And it’s filled with some of the best actors on the planet.
If you said Black Mirror, you’re spot on the money. If you said anything else, well…
We love the concept of Electric Dreams, but the execution feels like a bad Black Mirror copycat that never hits the same level of pacing, entertainment, or impact.
7. GONE TOO SOON: TERRA NOVA
Like your sci-fi high on special effect, high on budget and high on concept? Welcome to Terra Nova.
This family saga is about setting up a new colony 85 million years in past. There were big conspiracies and weekly mysteries and it looked like it was leading somewhere really good… right up until the moment it was canceled at the end of season one.
Terra Nova ended on a giant cliffhanger with no chance of anything ever being resolved. Where did that ancient ship prow come from? We need answers!
6. GONE TOO SOON: CAPRICA
Come on Battlestar fans, we’re so disappointed with you. This one deserved a shot.
Unlike the chaotic battle-fueled chaos of the original series, Caprica was a show all about the exploration of success and what it means to really get everything you want. It was beautifully shot and filled with fascinating dialogue.
True, it was basically the opposite of Battlestar in every way. Creator Ronald D. Moore specifically said in a conference call before the show aired: “Everything about Caprica was designed specifically to not repeat what we had done in Galactica.” However, that doesn’t mean it was all bad. The prequel to arguably the most beloved sci-fi show of all time deserved more of a chance and more of our respect than what it got.
5. NEEDS TO GO: FALLING WATER
Falling Water is a lot like broccoli. Yes, we have all been told it’s good if we give it a chance, but every time we try it, we just shake our head and go, “Ugh, why?”
The show seems so interesting too: three people who have never met realize they’re all dreaming different parts of the same dream, and it may have something to do with saving the world.
Neat, right? Oh, you’d think so, however, the show drags and never connects. It’s a perfect example of the kind of series that thinks it’s deeper than it truly is. We’re not even sure how it keeps getting renewed, since Rotten Tomatoes has it at a 28%. Who’s still watching this? If the answer is no one, it’s time to let this one fall.
4. GONE TOO SOON: ALPHAS
Oh man, a show about superhero cops working to stop the evil deeds of other superpeople with powers. Alphas had everything. We’re still sad it’s gone.
We loved the twisty plots and interesting characters, and of course, adding David Strathairn to literally anything ups the game. The show built nicely, racing toward a big end moment that we sadly never got to watch. This show, like a few others on this list, ended on a gigantic evil cliffhanger. What happened? Sadly, you will never know.
3. GONE TOO SOON: FUTURAMA
What’s there to say about Futurama that hasn’t been said before? It was as high-brow as it was ridiculous, as slapstick as it was intellectual, full of brilliant one-dimensional characters who could show real depth given the right episode, and mocked modern day society under the guise of having things be “from the future.”
Basically, it had everything. Then it was canceled.
Yes, we were lucky enough to get a few extra movies and a season that, once again, ended on a nice note that left the door open for more, but it’s not enough. If Matt Groening’s other show (the one about the cartoon yellow-skinned family that you may have heard about) can go for 29 seasons, we surely deserve to watch the Planet Express crew fly again!
2. NEEDS TO GO: WAYWARD PINES
Season one of Wayward Pines was absolutely top-notch television. Peppered with Grade-A actors and a solid mid-season plot twist that truly took the show in a new direction, we absolutely were enthralled with what would happen to this crazy experiment of a town. When it ended, explosively at that, we felt satisfied that the tale had been told.
However, unlike so many other shows on this list that actually deserved a second season, the higher-ups decided there was more to tell about Wayward Pines in a season no one seemed to want or care about.
10. GONE TOO SOON: FIREFLY
You knew it was coming.
Canceled far before its prime without ever given a chance to thrive (it had the death slot and its episodes were aired out of order – yikes), Firefly is the ultimate example of the treatment sci-fi shows, even good ones, can receive.
Firefly remains one of the greatest character ensembles ever put together. It’s funny, it’s filled with action, each episode works as great storytelling, and the overall plot is engaging and interesting enough to make you want to binge them all (and the movie) in one go.
We’ve gotten a few comics to give a little more info into the world after Serenity, but it’s not enough. If any show on this list was ranked as gone too soon and deserves to return quickly, it is Firefly.
What sci-fi shows do you miss and which do you wish would go away? Let us know in the comments!
- Ad Free Browsing
- Over 10,000 Videos!
- All in 1 Access
- Join For Free!