One of the major problems with television shows these days is just as the viewers are getting attached to a particular series, the network decides to cancel it. Oftentimes, the cancellation comes after the final cliffhanger episode airs or the network decides to pull the series from their lineup before the full order is shown leaving viewers left hanging and wondering what will now happen to these new characters they have begun to look forward to seeing week and week.
2012 was a year where network executives made some controversial decisions we thought we’d revisit some of the shows that were cancelled last year after just one season:
8. ‘Terra Nova’
Premise: An epic family adventure 85 million years in the making, ‘Terra Nova’ follows an ordinary family embarking on an incredible journey back in time to prehistoric Earth as a small part of a daring experiment to save the human race. In the year 2149 the world is dying. The planet is overdeveloped, overcrowded and overpolluted. With no known way to reverse the damage to the planet, scientists discover a portal to prehistoric Earth. This doorway leads to an amazing world, one that allows for a last-ditch effort to save the human race…a second chance to rebuild civilization and get it right this time.
This Steven Spielberg produced show seemed to have the makings of a sci-fi television hit: time travel, elaborate special effects and dinosaurs! What it didn’t seem to have was a good writing staff. While visually the series was impressive, many viewers felt the numerous plot holes in the episodes were too large to ignore. While the series’ ratings were not the best, network execs felt the show was too expensive to produce and decided to cancel the series after one season. Fans were outraged! So much so that a faux article posted by us on April Fool’s Day about its renewal drew lots of harsh complaints (and that’s putting it lightly!).
Premise: When Detective Rebecca Madsen is assigned to a grisly homicide case, a fingerprint leads her to a shocking suspect: Jack Sylvane, a former Alcatraz inmate who died decades ago. With her investigation impeded by government agent Emerson Hauser, Madsen teams up with Alcatraz expert and comic book enthusiast Dr. Diego Soto. They both soon discover that Sylvane is not only alive, but he’s loose on the streets of San Francisco, leaving bodies in his wake, and does not appear to age. With the inclusion of Agent Hauser, they realize that Sylvane is only a small part of a much larger, more sinister present-day threat. For while he may be the first, it quickly becomes clear that Sylvane won’t be the last prisoner to reappear from Alcatraz.
The news that this J.J. Abrams produced series was being cancelled came as a shock to those who watched the show. After all, it did way better in ratings than the show ‘Touch’ – which they renewed for a second season (3.4 for ‘Alcatraz’ versus 2.8 for ‘Touch’) – and the series seemed to create enough interest that visitors to the actual island of Alcatraz would search for a secret base underground the prison! But the show had a rocky start even before airing. With a change in showrunners and a few weeks of reshooting scenes from the first 7 episodes delaying the continued filming of the season, it was surprising that ‘Alcatraz’ was able to even have a mid-season premiere. But all the changes weren’t enough to save the show, as after its initial 13 episodes, Fox decided to close down ‘Alcatraz.’
6. ‘The Secret Circle’
Premise: Based on the book trilogy of the same name written by L.J. Smith (who also wrote ‘The Vampire Diaries’ book series), ‘The Secret Circle’ follows the life of high school student Cassie Blake who suddenly loses her mother in a tragic accidental fire. She moves in with her grandmother in the town of Chance Harbor where her mom was raised. When mysterious and frightening things begin to happen, her friends finally reveal what they really are ~ witches! They are the decedents of powerful witches who have been waiting for Cassie to arrive and complete the new Secret Circle. At first she doesn’t believe them, but it isn’t until she finds a message from her mother in a book of spells that she learns her true and dangerous destiny. Cassie realizes she may play a key role in the battle of good versus evil.
‘The Secret Circle’ was a case where the story went forward too quickly and didn’t allow the viewers to really connect with its characters. While most teen angst shows on the CW network focused solely on the teen portion of the show, ‘The Secret Circle’ was able to balance the world between parents and teens . The cancellation of the series was a surprise to executive producer Andrew Miller who didn’t find out about the axe until told by EW. He was already planning out Season 2. “Season 1 was all about empowerment,” he had said. “Next would be now that they’re empowered, what are they gonna do with it? That feels like a really fun season of television,” I guess we’ll never find out if Adam will succumb to dark forces of the Crystal Skull, or if Dawn’s actions will tip the scales of dark and light magic that is within her, or if Jake and Faye will get a happy ending.
5. ‘A Gifted Man’
Premise: A drama about a brilliant, charismatic surgeon whose life changes forever when his deceased ex-wife begins teaching him the meaning of life from the “hereafter.”
‘A Gifted Man’ was marketed to fans of ‘Medium’ and ‘Ghost Whisperer’ but ended up to be 2012’s version of ‘Touched by an Angel.’ You know things are bad when even the lead actor of the series says on Twitter that he felt that his own series wouldn’t be seeing a second season and that he was happy the show was cancelled saying that even he was duped and it was not what he signed up for.
4. ‘The River’
Premise: Wildlife expert and TV personality Dr. Emmet Cole went in search for magic deep in the uncharted Amazon, but never returned. When Dr. Cole’s emergency beacon goes off, his wife and son, along with a television crew, go hunting for answers about Cole’s mysterious disappearance and wind up on the adventure of their lives as they go deep into the unknown.
Thinking that since found footage was such a big money maker in movies, Oren Peli (producer of the ‘Paranormal Activity’ franchise) thought people would also be willing to have this scare tactic thrust upon them at home. Even with Steven Spielberg’s name attached to the series as an executive producer (although his input was only on a creative aspect) it wasn’t enough to save the 8 episode series and the secrets of ‘The Rivers’ will remain a secret.
3. ‘The Fades’
Premise: Paul (Iain De Caestecker) is haunted by apocalyptic dreams that neither his therapist, best friend and fellow social outcast, Mac (Daniel Kaluuya), nor his unsympathetic and much cooler twin sister, Anna (Lily Loveless) can provide answers for. Adding to his terrifying dreams, Paul starts to see spirits of the dead, known as “The Fades,” all around him but they can’t be seen, smelt, heard, or touched by other humans. When an embittered and vengeful Fade, Polus, finds a way to be human again, Paul, Mac, and their loved ones are all in the eye of the storm. The fate of humanity now rests in Paul’s hands as he has to stop Polus – and all of the dead – from breaking back into the world and attacking the human race. Can Paul really prevent the end of the world? And at what price…?
‘The Fades’ was truly a series that supernatural fans could get in to. While only 6 episodes in length (2 episodes shorter than ‘The River’), ‘The Fades’ was a highly acclaimed series on both sides of the pond that wasn’t afraid to push the boundaries of creepiness and gore much like ‘American Horror Story.’ Unfortunately, the season finale ended with a monumental cliff hanger. Do the dark clouds at the end foretell the beginning of the apocalypse or was Paul truly successful in reopening Ascension? Is the battle really over? Fans can debate this over and over but it looks like the answer will stay with the Fades.
2. ‘Awake ‘
Premise: “Awake” is an intriguing drama about Detective Michael Britten (Isaacs) who finds he’s living two parallel lives. He’s involved in a car accident that seems to have killed both his son (Dylan Minnette) and wife (Laura Allen), yet his mind creates an ingenious coping mechanism in which he now lives two separate lives – one where his wife survived and the other where his son did.
Trying to regain some normalcy, Michael returns to solving crimes in both worlds with the help of two different partners, Detective Isaiah “Bird” Freeman (Steve Harris) and Detective Efrem Vega (Wilmer Valderrama). Michael is assigned a different case in each reality and quickly discovers that his dual existence is actually a powerful tool. He begins to solve impossible cases by using his two realities to gain unique perspectives and link clues that cross over from world to world.
Helping Michael to navigate his two realities are his bureau-assigned therapists Dr. Evans (Cherry Jones) and Dr. Lee (BD Wong). While both therapists work to untangle his two worlds, Michael has no interest in proving either one is false. But when memories of the accident begin to haunt him, he is forced to confront the truth about what really happened the night of the crash.
While the premise may have seemed complicated to follow, ‘Awake’ had a cult following that NBC apparently didn’t realize when they cancelled the series. Of course, genre fans were eager to find any clues or Easter eggs that would indicate which world was actually the real world for Isaac. Did his wife or child die in the accident? The series had a few setbacks of its own including a halt in production for 3 weeks in order to rework some of the scripts, but the ending was far beyond what fans expected. While we may never know the answer to Isaac’s dilemma, creator Kyle Killian did shed some light regarding the series finale much to the delight of fans.
1. ‘666 Park Ave’
Premise: Based on the book series by Gabriella Pierce, this supernatural drama centers around a young mid-western couple (Annable and Taylor) who have been hired to manage The Drake, a luxurious apartment building on the Upper East Side in New York City where the residents have been possessed by demonic forces and have unknowingly sold their souls to the devil. Their every wish, desire and ambition is fulfilled, but the price tag is more costly than any of them could possibly imagine.
While the news of the other shows may have lost their sting, still fresh is the news that ABC’s ‘666 Park Avenue’ was cancelled before the entire season had even shown. Worse yet, whether fans will see the last 4 episodes (which included a proper finale according to producers David Wilcox and Max Miller ), is unknown as the network had pulled it off its Sunday night line up to be replaced by two comedy shows. While the viewing numbers were up, the network felt that the number of viewers actually watching the show live was not enough to make them money, so they pulled the plug. Eviction notices were given. Dave Annable, who played the lead role of Henry, summed it plainly when, upon hearing the news of the series’ cancellation, tweeted “I’m sorry but they f**ked up.”
So as we sing an ‘Auld Lang Syne’ to these series that have caught our interest and allowed our imagination to grow, what will 2013 bring to the world of television? And what TV shows do you think will be yanked away unexpectedly? Of course, if you feel I might have missed a show that premiered and was cancelled in 2012, feel free to let me know in the comments below!