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Archive for January 1st, 2011

By Bob Clark

In the great experiments of sci-fi television in the past ten years, many of the most heralded efforts have been short-lived ones, enjoying only a brief tenure on the air before finding themselves snuffed out, unceremoniously or otherwise. Joss Whedon is by all appearances the poster child for this particular pop-cultural experience, with the superb shows Firefly and Dollhouse only owning about a season and a half worth of episodes between the two of them, of which some of the best were never even broadcast. UPN canceled the maligned Enterprise after a much shorter run than any other Star Trek series since the original three-year voyage, thus paving the way for J.J. Abrams’ literal rewriting of franchise history in cinemas. On CBS, Jericho experienced a series of cancellations and revivals that made it resemble the lifespan of Lazarus from Martin Scorsese’s Last Temptation of Christ— brought back from the dead by Willem Dafoe, only to be subsequently cut down by Harry Dean Stanton. Even popular cable efforts have not been safe from the kind of scrutiny we usually associate exclusively with network bosses. No matter how big a success the critically acclaimed and popular sensation of Ronald D. Moore’s Battlestar Galactica remake was, it wasn’t enough to save Jane Espenson’s prequel Caprica from being just another one-season wonder. But even that casualty pales in comparison to that of Moore’s other great science-fiction effort of the decade, and I’m not talking about HBO’s short-shrifted Carnivale (which would belong more to the realm of fantasy, and that’s a whole other story).

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