Science fiction and television should, technically speaking, be in perfect harmony. Science fiction deals with what-if scenarios, which have played out beautifully in such classic pulp science magazine as Galaxy, Astounding Science Fiction and Fantasy & Science Fiction. Television, on the other hand, thrives when it exploits serial storytelling, and is perfect for the anthology series.

Why then, are so many science fiction shows cancelled?

It depends. You can easily cite low ratings, or perhaps it’s just not a good fit for the network. Other times, maybe it just wasn’t a good idea to begin with (see The Twilight Zone revival on UPN). Either way, it’s a mystery. It’s inevitable. It’s frustrating at times. But some shows were so good – or at least promising – they didn’t even have a fighting chance to morph into something truly great.

Firefly (2002-2003)
Joss Whedon’s space Western mash-up had all the right sci-fi components: cool extrapolation, an intriguing world, and an evil empire to fight against. Unfortunately, the folks over at Fox decided to ax it. After 14 episodes, and a “Save Firefly" campaign, Malcolm Reynolds and his crew got the big screen treatment with the near perfect film Serenity. Firefly has lived on in other mediums, notably comics.

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