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Fall premieres have mostly commenced at this point—save a few outliers like Chicago Med—and the networks have already started looking toward building their midseason schedules. While normally that’s a good thing, for Fox’s new show, Lookinglass, the setup for the network’s midseason lineup is not looking so pretty. Today, Fox announced that Lookinglass’ episode count has been trimmed down from 13 to 11 episodes—and that’s even before the show has been given the opportunity to air.
If you aren’t familiar with Lookinglass that may be because the show was originally called The Frankenstein Code when it was picked up to series (along with the already-premiered Rosewood) last spring. Over the summer, the show went through some creative changes, including the name change. It’s possible the network saw some of Lookinglass before deciding to drop the episode order down by two, but that’s clearly not what Fox is saying.
Instead, with lots of Fox’s fall programming doing pretty well, and a slew of additional new shows heading into the lineup, Fox says it has a pretty good problem: a shortage of room. THR says that those in the know believe American Idol and other high-profile projects are detracting from Lookinglass’ run. It’s not just the final season of Idol that is getting a prime spot at the network. Fox also held the X-Files revival and the comic book property Lucifer (whose crowd-pleasing pilot premiered at San Diego Comic-Con earlier this year). It’s hard to compete as a new property against a veteran show, the reboot of another veteran show and a hot comic book property, even if you are loosely based on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
If you’ve been keeping tabs on Lookinglass since its development, you probably already know that the series has a premise that sounds a bit similar to the latest RoboCop, following a man who is given a chance at redemption after dying in a robbery. In this version, our hero is a 75-year-old man who is given a much younger body by a bioengineering company. Rob Kazinsky stars.
While the order may have been trimmed down thanks to a few development issues or to make room in the schedule or whatever, I’m honestly wondering if Fox’s track record with sci fi programming is giving the network pause. Earlier this season, Fox premiered Minority Report, a quirky continuation of the Steven Spielberg movie of the same name. Despite an impressive parent project and some well-known names, the first episode of the show was a flop, and the numbers fell from there, leading Fox to trim the episode order of that show a few weeks ago.
Obviously, Lookinglass is a different concept than Minority Report, but if a show with as much buzz as Minority Report can fail to pull in viewers, I personally have a lot less hope for another sci fi series with a trimmed episode order. We’ll let you know as soon as Fox’s midseason premiere dates are released.