Sci-Fi TV Shows that you're pretty sure only you watched.

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Dale Sams, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. DeepSpaceWine

    DeepSpaceWine Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2010
    You want to know something funny? Fox kept cancelling X-Files' companion shows but from the ratings Brisco County Jr. was the 2nd best companion show they ever had for X-Files on Friday nights. The best? That was Strange Luck, which they cancelled midseason. Some say ratings ratings, but this does look like a case of suits who kept hoping for something better and each time they got something good, by their standards, they cancelled it.


    Averaging every new episode's ratings...
    Fox Fridays alongside X-Files (& Millennium Season 1)
    Brisco County Jr
    .- 5.74
    M.A.N.T.I.S.- 5.42
    Strange Luck- 6.29
    Sliders- 5.25 (Season 2), 5.68 (Season 3)
    X-Files-
    Fridays: 7.11, 9.71, 10.59 (Seasons 1-3)
    Sundays: 11.94, 12.10, 10.22, 8.58, 8.15, 5.59 (Seasons 4-9. Yeah, the first 3 eps of Season 4 were Friday...)
    Millennium- 7.32, 5.78, 4.66
    Misplaced The Lone Gunmen's ratings somewhere...

    and for good measure...
    Space: A&B- 5.88
    The Visitor- 5.41
    Brimstone- 3.95
    Harsh Realm- 3.6
    Freakylinks- 2.80
    I have Firefly elsewhere but it was well below John Doe, which aired beside it.

    Hey look, Space: Above & Beyond got higher ratings than Sliders Season 2 (which aired the same season) yet got cancelled. Same went for Strange Luck. Fox made some brilliant decisions from a ratings standpoint. :vulcan:
     
  2. lurok

    lurok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2011
    Location:
    Lost in the EU expanse with a nice cup of tea
    Does The Event count as sci-fi?

    Sometimes feel I was one of only a handful who watched that all way through :p.
     
  3. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2000
    Location:
    In the lap of squalor I assure you.
    I almost kicked the screen when they told us what the event was.

    "It's something, we're not quite sure what, that's going to happen at some point in the future, we don't know when, that's going to change everything but we're not quite sure how."

    THEIR PLANET DIED!

    But there's an "event" impending more important than extinction, exodus, annexation and colonization?

    Fuck you the Event!

    Fuck you!
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    I've already acknowledged quite clearly that, yes, sometimes network executives make bad decisions. And the executives that the FOX network had in the '80s, '90s, and early '00s certainly did make their share of them. I'm just bewildered by the extremes some people take it to, the way they assume that every cancellation in history is exclusively the result of some network executive's evil whim and that ratings or money have nothing to do with it at all, as if TV were a charity or it cost nothing to produce. Or the way they react to the early cancellation of TV shows as if it were somehow a rare and unnatural phenomenon, when in fact the majority of TV shows get cancelled quickly.



    But you can't compare it that simply. It's not just about ratings, it's about the balance of ratings to budget. The more expensive a show is to make, the higher its ratings need to be to offset the cost. S:AAB was a space-based, futuristic show with a lot of action and effects, which undoubtedly made it more expensive to produce that the other, more Earth-based shows you mentioned. And that meant that even its raw ratings number was higher, the all-important ratio of its ratings to its production costs might have been lower.

    It's always important to remember that a show that's cheaper to make can survive with lower ratings. This is why so many shows get their budgets cut in later seasons -- it's either that or get cancelled. Dollhouse was on the brink of cancellation due to low ratings, until Whedon showed that he could substantially reduce production costs by shooting on digital video and economizing in other ways. So that reduced the budget to the point that the low ratings it was getting were adequate to justify renewal.

    And there are other factors that come into play too, like the ratings of competing shows in the same time slot, the makeup and desirability of the target demographic, the effectiveness of one show as a lead-in for another, etc. The raw ratings figure is just one factor in a complex calculation. And yes, a lot of it is a judgment call and sometimes the people making those judgments make the wrong ones. But it's a mistake to think it's a simple decision that boils down to a single number.
     
  5. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Location:
    Oxford, PA
    I was on the receiving end of this once. I had the bad luck to answer the phone at Tor the day an irate reader called to ask where the latest book in a particular series was. I tried to explain, politely and diplomatically, that the earlier books had lost money so we really couldn't afford to keep publishing the series, but he wasn't having any of it. He seemed to feel that, having launched the series, we were obliged to keep publishing the books--even at a loss.

    Boy, did I get my ear chewed off a bit that day. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2013
  6. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Location:
    Ireland.
    Cancelled pilots:
    I caught Revolution, the one about the American Revolution Only IN SPAAACE, a few years back. I didn't actually finish it, though - the approach to shoehorning revolutionary references and warm Hallmarky family units was as subtle and refined as Falling Skies.

    Series:
    I know I'm not the only person who saw Charlie Jade, but it's sure as hell vanished into the ether in the interim, which for a series of its calibre and unusual quality is a shame.

    I did feel a bit like the only person watching Continuum, but then I was watching it on its British broadcast, which, after the Canadian yet before the American, existed on a kind of odd plateau in that everyone seemed to have either watced it, were going to watch it later, or didn't care much. That it wasn't particularly memorable didn't help matters.

    I watched the first two episodes when it premiered. I stopped there, I remember it being pretty bad.

    I did enjoy Terra Nova though. It wasn't great but it was okay. Falling Skies levels of 'this is sufficiently not bad to keep me entertained.'

    Only by seeing other people mention Lexx occasionally can I reinforce to myself the idea it wasn't a delirious fever dream I intermittently had for four seasons.

    I saw a bit of that. Never really thought there was a lot to it, honestly, some decent art style but past a few flourishes that was it.

    I first heard of it on this website and watched it last year. What surprised me about Raumpatrouille is how good it is. I was expecting a largely gormless indulgence in special effects; the premise's similarity to Gerry Anderson's UFO (which I've never been that wild about) kind of conditioned me for that. But it was a clever, well-written series and a lot of damn fun, it's easy to see where the comparisons with the original Star Trek are drawn (and yes, its planet run by women handles the subject than TOS would have likely done or indeed TNG managed to do).

    This link will give you free subtitles you can use with a DVD of the series, and provides a direct link to its Amazon.de page if that sounded like it'd take too much effort to acquire. It's a bit of legwork, but it's a good show.

    I've liked some titles that have come out of the Metal Hurlant line, and many of the classic French 1970s artists, but the less said about the animated adaptions the better. I have no idea what to make of this, but I'm willing to give it a shot should the circumstance arise because why not.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    I found it virtually unwatchable.


    I'm actually quite enjoying Continuum. It's got some of the best futurism I've ever seen on television.


    I agree. It was pretty ludicrous. The character/soap-opera stuff wasn't very interesting, and the science and futurism were awful. Their excuse of magnetic nanoparticles as an explanation for shipboard "gravity" was preposterous, a fix worse than the problem. And there was zero attempt at futurism in the Earthbound scenes; the computers and vehicles and fashions and such looked no different from the present day.


    Yeah, the writing was mediocre, but it had a pretty good cast, particularly the women.


    I hated it. Barely watched it.
     
  8. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Location:
    Ireland.
    It's alright. There's an episode late in the series where it stumbles a bit in trying to process internet culture. It's generally pretty watchable, but as far as Canadian shows go it's no Charlie Jade. Between this and Lost Girl (which I could not be paid to watch) Showcase seem to be good at making competent if not remarkable genre television, which is certainly a good start and better than nothing. I believe Continuum left itself room for improvement in the second year, and I hope it does so.

    At its worst Lexx is simply the worst TV series I've ever sat through. And it's more often simply mediocre than it is anything actually good. What kept me watching was that it was really committed to being weird and had a surprisingly tight internal continuity (best exemplified in the third season), and occasionally it did actually put out an episode that succeeded in executing the nihilistically dark satire the series wanted to be. It was always something that more sounded like what I'd like than something I actually liked.
     
  9. diankra

    diankra Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    I've had roughly similar experiences with readers calling to demand, nay DEMAND, that we put their favourite series on the magazine cover, rather than running certain other series two or three times a year. I just had to explain as politely as possible that issues with those series on the cover sold well, whereas... without actually saying "We tried your favourite once. Worst Selling Issue EVER."
    Mind you, that can just be down to getting in too early. That happened to me with Buffy. Total flop... but a huge seller as back issues.
    The odd thing is that it could be very unpredictable. Series that sold well as magazine covers could be total flops for convention organisers when they booked guests from those series - buying a magazine is a casual thing, spending a weekend at a con requires more dedication. Whereas series which were flops on magazines could pull in a couple of hundred really dedicated fans as convention attendees.
    It is, obviously, a matter of scale: if a series can pull in two hundred extra convention goers that's a success, but for a magazine it'd be a flop. And an extra 10,000 on the magazine sales is great, but for most TV channels it'd be negligable.
     
  10. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Location:
    Oxford, PA
    That was precisely my response to LEXX as well. It sounded great on paper, and you could sometimes see what they were going for, but, yeah, I never enjoyed it as much as I wanted to.
     
  11. diankra

    diankra Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    The writer's guide was hilarious in places. Things like "If you're thinking of submitting a script where our characters visit a planet, help the natives with their problems, and teach the audience a valuable moral lesson in the process, then please submit it on soft paper."
     
  12. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    "Who are you?"
    Hmmm, I don't know that reference. Do they want "soft paper" because they're going to tear it up?
     
  13. Vendikarr

    Vendikarr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 17, 2001
    Location:
    Vendikarr
    I believe they intend to to wipe with it.
     
  14. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    "Who are you?"
    Ah, but of course! D'oh!
     
  15. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2000
    Location:
    In the lap of squalor I assure you.
    Isn't it odd that the Star from Terra Nova and the Star from Alcatraz escaped from science fiction and their new characters are doing it in 1960s Las Vegas?
     
  16. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Location:
    RJDiogenes of Boston
    Lexx is sadly underappreciated. I love the show. I have the entire series on DVD. :D
     
  17. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2000
    Location:
    In the lap of squalor I assure you.
    Some one needs to teach Stanley Tweedle how to kiss a woman.

    His technique is the reason god invented darkness.
     
  18. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Location:
    A Long Time Ago...
    Oh shit! I totally did not recognize her from Alcatraz until you just mentioned it. She looks good in a dress.
     
  19. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2006
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Saw Quark. Loved Quark. Bought the DVD. And it's no coincidence that there's a certain family resemblance between it and Mork & Mindy: they shared a common composer, and had at least one cast member (Conrad Janis was Otto Palindrome in Quark, and Mindy's father in M&M) in common. And there's even more reason to see a family resemblance between it and Get Smart: Buck Henry was involved in both, and (guess what) a very young Conrad Janis appeared as KAOS agent "Victor Irving," in "My Nephew the Spy" (Season 1, Episode 12).

    Never saw The Invisible Man (no pun intended), but I did see Gemini Man.

    Did anybody else here see the futuristic detective series, Search? It starred Hugh O'Brian, Tony Franciosa, and Doug McClure as high-tech detectives, who worked under constant remote electronic supervision of, and with support from, a room full of specialists, patterned after a NASA MOCR. The pilot has been released under its original title of Probe, on Warner Archive DVD.
     
  20. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2004
    Location:
    Arizona, USA
    I've never heard of it, but I just watched a couple clips on IMDB, and it's now in my Netflix queue. It looks pretty fun.