The Curse of Good Sci-Fi TV


Come on, we all know Doctor Who is the exception to the rule? For some odd and awesome reason, Doctor Who Gets spinoffs and lasts for decades. But why don’t we take a quick moment to look at a few other shows in the genre that just seemed to not get the credit (or air time) they deserved. You see, Sci-Fi on TV is cursed. It really is. If you make good Sci-Fi for TV, be prepared to last a handful of seasons at most. Why? Because stuff that is that epic, well-written, and nuanced, just tends to scare away the sheep-like-masses.

Think about how many spectacular sci-fi shows there have been since the inception of TV. Heck, most people don’t even know that the original Star Trek only lasted a few years. They have this weird assumption for how popular it is that it ran for decades. Nope. Newer versions of the show fared slightly better, but even then, were often delegated to syndication. So why is this. We have Firefly, we have Farscape, we have Stargate. These shows develop loyal and loving followings, yet, they all die prematurely. That, my friends, is the curse of good Sci-Fi TV. I think shows that make people think and use their minds amid being entertained makes some people made.

The irony being, it seems those people who get mad are the ones who have the power. Toss on a trite teen drama, it will run for six years. But on a show about space and its infinite loops and mysteries, it will last two seasons, tops. Messed up, right? I am saying this because Extant starts tonight, looks and sounds great, has great talent on board, and I bet for those very reasons, it will last a season.


[Photo via FOX]

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  • Kevin Doherty

    I’m not saying you are wrong but you’re examples aren’t the greatest. Farscape got four seasons and SG-1 alone ran for 9/10.

    • Kyle Edgecomb

      Yeah but remember Farscape was cancelled at the wrong time, I mean, sure they made the miniseries to provide a closure to the series which was good, but it still felt as if they ended it too early. Also Stargate SG1 did run for 10 seasons and there were two films to give closure to the occuring arcs. Stargate Atlantis and Universe however ended up being unfinished…..they were originally going to make a film for each to give closure to the series, but after universe got cancelled, it was all scrapped, and now they are deciding to reboot it as a film trilogy (using the original idea they had back when they made the original film).

  • Gustav Lidén

    Agree with Kevin about Stargate, with spin-offs it ran for a total of like 15 seasons? Far longer than most teen-vampire dramas will ever run.

    But sure, the point is still valid, shows like Firefly and recently Almost Human (that in my opinion mixed good and funny actors, a pretty solid mainstory, and decent crimes with a interesting futuristic approach, all in all a good show to follow), were cancelled far to early. Yeah FOX, i’m talking to you.

    On the other hand many sci-fi’s are far to cliché or with a too flat story for people to like, take Avengers (sure, likely to get many seasons thanks to the movies) or Defiance for example.

  • theotherwill

    Longevity is primarily the product of ratings, and ratings are driven by demographics. The baby boomer generation will eventually die off. Shows will eventually get made made for the growing numbers of viewers of cable channels & of the ‘net. Yes, we are cursed, but the curse won’t last forever.
    There’s the potential for a counter-productive debate over what shows were or were not good, but I don’t believe this post is about animated series like the 2 about the Avengers.