Now I get why the Sci-Fi channel felt the need to switch over to a more “brandable” SyFy moniker! They didn’t want the FOX network to mistake them at an awards show for actual science fiction and cancel them!! Zing!
No seriously, with the inevitable axe falling on Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse, I think its time to examine whether or not the FOX network really does hate the genre of science fiction. Why you ask? Well, take a look at this list:
- The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.
- Strange Luck
- The Visitor
- Harsh Realm
- Dark Angel
- The Lone Gunmen
- John Doe
- Wonderfalls (pseudo sci-fi elements)
- Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles
All of these shows were victims of the notorious television monster known as the “Friday Night Death Slot.” All of these shows were cancelled by FOX after starting on or moving to the FNDS, and this is just the science fiction stuff. Married… With Children, one of the original FOX hits that made the network, was abandoned on Fridays to die. Boston Public, Fastlane, Malcolm in the Middle, all dumped on Fridays before their cancellation.
To be fair, The X-Files was a huge hit on FOX that night. It was also nearly cancelled half way through its first season! To make up for that almost horrible decision, two from the above list are spin-offs from the Files; The Lone Gunmen and Millennium. A combined 80 episodes between them (most for the latter), the shows never received strong support from the net, rather some lip service as being “of The X-Files.” Millennium only survived three seasons because Lance Henriksen is creepy awesome in it.
One would’ve thought a James Cameron produced Dark Angel starring Jessica Alba in tight leather beating up the lackeys of a future evil corporation would have been a slam dunk. It kind of was actually. What’s hilarious is FOX actually cancelled Dark Angel at the last minute to clear cap space for Firefly! So, they jettisoned a solid performer with a good following for one of the greatest shows ever, smart. Which they also cancelled. Track record, meet brick wall.
After screwing up so many good ideas, FOX turned to a guaranteed mega box office property, rolling the dice that nerds everywhere would love a weekly prequel of The Terminator franchise. Next, throw in a cast member from Firefly, the wannabe white rapping kid from Beverly Hills 90210, and just for me, Garbage’s Shirley Manson! ”Back up the trucks boys, the money machine is here! Wait, what? Fridays!!?”
Yes, FOX put the TV spin-off of a franchise that has grossed over $1.4 billion world wide in its notorious death slot and poof! Two and done for T-1000′s everywhere. Guess what suits? Even geeks have stuff to do on Fridays!!
What would Dollhouse have done with a better time slot and some more support? Who knows, but something tells me the only reason it got a second season was because FOX saw dollar signs after looking over Whedon’s Firefly DVD sales. Two seasons to purchase is twice as much coin in the vault you know!
Truthfully, half of that crap up there deserved to be cancelled anyway and sci-fi shows are usually pricey to produce. VR.5? Holy smokes was that bad. So I cannot entirely claim that FOX has it out for science fiction programs. I mean hey, they did green light them at least. However, you also cannot deny they’ve mishandled quite a few cult classics. So at worst, FOX is just a really bad patron of the fictional scientific arts. God I hope they never get ahold of anything Felicia Day develops.