by John Brooks
Network TV is a fickle mistress. Television history is littered with shows that were canceled before their time. I won’t go into the Joss Whedon debates about Firefly and Dollhouse; these have been argued to death elsewhere. The following is a list of shows deserving of a second look.
This was a supernatural cop show with a very interesting premise. A detective damned for killing the man who raped his wife is released from hell to capture other doomed souls who have somehow escaped. Why Satan should have chose this particular cop for the job is unclear (it is Hell, after all—he must have had plenty of choices). The detective had to capture all 113 escapees to be freed from damnation and have another shot at life.
There have been a number of attempts to make shows about Paramedics and EMS but this one got closest to the experience of working for a private ambulance service and some of the pressures that the job brings to individuals in this vocation. This one only lasted for thirteen episodes, and there is a lack of footage of it on the web. It had the potential to run as long as ER did, but sadly it didn’t get that chance.
This was a remake of a British TV show which starred Patrick Stewart. Unusually for an American adaptation of a UK show, this one was actually watchable and survived the transition while retaining the charm of the original source. Very much in the genre of The X Files, it dealt with cases of unusual and unexplained phenomena investigated by FBI special scientific adviser Jacob Hood (played by charismatic British actor Rufus Sewell). Sadly, the show was put up against the Fox-produced Fringe, which soon spelled the end of it.
Another show that deals with conspiracy theories, but this one had a wrinkle. The show wove its alien invasion to world events in the second part of the 20th century and featured such personalities as Jim Morrison and J.Edgar Hoover, who played parts in uncovering or thwarting the invasion. Dark Skies was an enjoyable show that may have had some mileage in it, but it seemed to fall into an assembly line formula and didn’t last past its pilot and 18 episodes.
If you were a kid in 1970′s England (as I was) this show was compulsory viewing. UFO was TV puppet show maker Gerry Anderson’s first foray into live action TV. There are glimpses of potential dotted throughout the series, but sadly the demands of a one-hour serial combined with the majority of the budget being blown on special effects left little for paying top-rate actors. As a result, some of the supporting cast was actually less convincing than the puppets Gerry normally worked with. As is the current trend right now, it looks like there is to be a UFO movie.