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Sci-Fi Cancellation Watch: What’s Alive, What’s Dead, And What’s Brand New

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upfronts-2014The five major broadcast networks are set to deliver their “upfronts” in New York this week, an annual event where the networks get to show off their new fall and mid-season series to advertisers and press. We get to find out which shows will survive another season, which won’t, and what new things we’ll be watching later this year. And because we here at GFR love making your life easier, we’ve broken down the genre-related canceled/renewed/brand new announcements by network. If you need a sign to protest the death of Almost Human, you can have some of our posterboard.

While GFR’s primary focus is on science fiction, we’re including news about a few noteworthy shows that don’t fit within that genre, but which will likely be of interest to many of you. Let’s get to it!

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NBC Cancels Revolution, Believe, And Community

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revolutionIt’s always disappointing when promising sci-fi TV shows don’t get the chance to mature and get axed too soon, but it’s that time of year. Fox announced that they won’t be bringing back J.J. Abrams and J.H. Wyman’s futuristic police drama Almost Human, and yesterday we talked about The CW cancelling The Tomorrow People and Star-Crossed (okay, we’re not too broken up about that last one). NBC was feeling a little bit left out—they wanted to cancel some sci-fi shows, too—and they’ve gotten in the fun, announcing that they’ve given the axe to both Revolution and Believe. They also cancelled Community well short of the Six-Seasons-And-A-Movie goal, and while we’re sad about that, it doesn’t exactly fall into our wheelhouse (if you want, read what our lovely older sibling Cinema Blend has to say on the matter).

Neither of these cancellations come as much as a surprise, neither one ever lived up to their inherent potential, but it’s still sad to see them go. Though it debuted with strong ratings, and was in fact NBC’s biggest freshman hit in years, Revolution was erratic at best. At times it could be a really fun, unique take on the post-apocalyptic set up, but it never managed to find itself. It squandered all of the things it did well, and, far too often, followed threads and story lines that never amounted to much.

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Believe It Or Not, Believe Is Finally Hitting The Airwaves: Today In Science & Science Fiction

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BelieveDirector Alfonso Cuarón just recently took home an Oscar for Best Director, and his film Gravity cleaned up in other areas as well, winning seven Academy Awards, including Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, and Best Visual Effects. Needless to say, it’s a good time to be Alfonso Cuarón. Tonight Believe, a show co-created by Cuarón, premieres on NBC, and there’s one big question in the air: can Cuarón’s winning streak translate to the small screen?

Believe is playing around with a time-honored science fiction trope: an innocent female possessed of amazing powers, and those trying to protect her from the forces that would exploit them. We’ve seen it with River Tam in Firefly, and with Leeloo in The Fifth Element, just to name a couple This time around the innocent in question is Bo (Johnny Sequoyah), whose mental powers are only increasing as she ages. Filling out the other half of the equation is Tate (Jake McLaughlin), a wrongly convicted death row inmate who is broken out of prison and tasked by a mysterious group to protect Bo as if his life depended on it.

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Believe: Watch The First Two Minutes Now

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Alfonso Cuaron has been having a solid month, and we’re only a week deep. First off, his latest film, the space adventure Gravity, walk away with a ton of new hardware at the Academy Awards last Sunday, including an Oscar for best director. Eight days later, on Monday, March 10, his highly-anticipated new show, Believe, which he co-created and is producing with J.J. Abrams, will finally hit the airwaves in NBC after lengthy delays. We’ve been watching this one closely, and now you can check out the first two-minutes of the premiere episode.

In addition to creating and producing, Cuaron also co-wrote and directed the pilot. After watching this video that last part becomes rather obvious, the Mexican-born director’s fingerprints are all over this visually. The clip is a single shot, or at least made to look like one. This kind of long take and continual action has been a hallmark of Cuaron’s work since the beginning, and set almost entirely in a car as it is, you can’t help but be reminded of a similar exercise in his 2006 film Children of Men.

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Alfonso Cuaron And J.J. Abrams’ Believe Gets A New Trailer And Premiere Date

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NBC’s upcoming drama Believe has had a hard road to hoe, and it hasn’t even made it to your TV screen yet. After being picked up, the show went on an “early hiatus,” they lost one co-creator and showrunner, and most recently writer Ned Vizzini committed suicide at the age of 32. The troubled show finally has a premiere date, and this new, longer preview.

Believe, which features a creative team that includes Star Trek director J.J. Abrams and Gravity helmer Alfonso Cuaron, will debut Monday, March 10, before settling into a usual Sunday night time slot on March 16. As if Sundays don’t already have enough shows that you want to watch. With big names like this in the credits, you can see why the network wants to get this on the air, even in the face of all of the problems.

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YA Author/Believe Writer Ned Vizzini Commits Suicide At Age 32

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Ned VizziniWhile Alfonso Cuarón and J.J. Abrams are seeing success with Gravity and Star Trek Into Darkness, respectively, their combined efforts with the new TV series Believe is getting off to a rough start, even before a single episode has aired on NBC. Now some the show has been struck with tragedy: one of the show’s writers committed suicide over the holidays.

According to Variety, TV writer and author Ned Vizzini passed away in New York City last week at age 32. The New York City medical examiner confirmed Vizzini committed suicide, and the writer’s brother, Daniel, also told reporters that he had jumped off the roof of the building where their parents were living in Brooklyn, New York. Ned Vizzini is survived by his wife, Sabra, and his son, Felix.

Ned Vizzini was a staff writer on NBC’s Believe at the time of his death. He also wrote for the TV series Last Resort and Teen Wolf. Notably, he was the author of It’s Kind of a Funny Story, which was published in 2006 and adapted for the big screen in 2010 with actor Zach Galifianakis in one of the film’s starring roles. It’s Kind of a Funny Story was inspired by Vizzini’s own brief hospitalization for depression in November 2004. The young adult novel was later named Best Book for Young Adults from the American Library Association in 2007. Vizzini co-authored his latest book, House of Secrets, with director Chris Columbus earlier in 2013.

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