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It’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.
Over the course of the second season, Revolution has gradually been hemorrhaging viewers. They’ve tried pulling a laundry list of crazy ass stunts out their ass—including Brett Michaels playing himself—but nothing has worked, not weird dream worlds, Mexican vacations, wide-reaching and overly elaborate conspiracies, nor killing off major characters. It’s been so up and down that it’s hard to believe that it’s lasted as long as it has. Back in April the show was preempted so that the network could re-air an episode of Law & Order: SVU. I wasn’t sure if it was going to even come back after that, and from that moment, most of us knew Revolution was not long for this world.
We had such high hopes for Believe, and it started off so promising. With a creative team that includes J.J. Abrams and Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity), who directed the first episode, the show never caught on with audiences. A mid-season replacement, it faced multiple other hardships before it even aired, including the loss of its original showrunner Mark Freidman, who also co-created the show with Cuaron. As if that wasn’t enough, one of the show’s writers, Ned Vizzini, took his own life late last year.
Believe—which follows an escaped convict who tasked with protecting a young girl with mystical powers—isn’t a bad show, but it doesn’t live up to the potential it has. The two leads, Tate (Jake McLaughlin) and Bo (Johnny Sequoia), have a nice chemistry, and the supporting cast includes Delroy Lindo, Kyle MacLachlan, and Jamie Chung, but it never added up to anything special. Every episode follows a similar pattern, and there is never any real forward movement. Both sides are just spinning their wheels. I’ve been watching, but more because I hope it will finally get good than any other reason.