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

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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The CW Renews The 100, Adds Two More, And Cancels A Few

The 100Weirdly enough, it’s been The CW—you know, the melodrama-heavy, teen-centric network—that has been holding it down lately on the science fiction front lately. The results have been mixed, but you have to give them points for trying. Syfy is about to have an original content renaissance, but until then, we’ll take our regular programming where we can get it. Now that we’ve reached the latter stages of the current TV season, networks are thinning the herd, but they’re also announcing new shows for next year. In that spirit, the CW has trimmed a few genre shows, but they’ve also added a couple that we’re interested in checking out.

Let’s start with the current slate of programs. The futuristic Lord of the Flies-inspired drama The 100 will be back for another season. We’re pretty psyched about this one, despite some initial misgivings. When nuclear war renders the surface of the Earth uninhabitable, the human race jumps ship, living in a cobbled-together space station called the Ark. After nearly a century, and multiple generations, they’re digs are falling apart and space is getting tight. In order to see if people can return to our ancestral home, they send down 100 imprisoned juvenile delinquents to test it out, like canaries in a sketchy old mineshaft.

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William Shatner Is Live-Tweeting The CW’s Shows Now Because Of Course He Is

One thing that has struck me recently as I’ve been rewatching Star Trek’s Original Series is that William Shatner kind of gets a bad rap. Sure, his style of acting can occasionally be a little over the top, but those really seem to be more the exception than the rule. I mean, I can understand why so many people’s image of Shatner involves him…only…speaking…likethis. But he’s gotten a lot of mileage out of milking and mocking that persona, overtly and otherwise. The latest installment in the strange cavalcade of eccentricity that is William Shatner? He’s now live-tweeting shows on The CW. No really, see:

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Cross The Streams With Prometheus, The Twilight Zone, And Star-Crossed Lovers

February, being the shortest month of the year, is expected to have fewer streaming releases than other months. But even given that, the selection is rather dismal. Thankfully, enough has come out to give Cross the Streams something to do besides wish that aliens would show up in the second season finale of House of Cards. (Spoiler alert: they don’t.) But how good a week can it be when the most high-profile release features a character as dumb as Elizabeth Shaw? Let’s take our half-full glasses and head into space with Idris Elba behind the wheel-thing.

prometheusPrometheus (HBO Go)
As a pseudo prequel to one of the greatest sci-fi thrillers of all time, Prometheus features “Ridley Scott the visual artist” more than “Ridley Scott the master storyteller.” The script from Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof starts with promise, with a team of scientists discovering an ancient message that leads them across the universe to a planet that holds many secrets. Then they discover some of those secrets, and it’s clear that everyone was more interested in spectacle than making a coherent narrative. It’s not a complete wash by any means. The production design is quite literally out of this world, but Michael Fassbender is the only actor who looks like he knows what kind of movie he’s in. It works as a midnight movie more than a Hollywood blockbuster, especially if you have a space helmet bong handy.

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Star-Crossed Post-Game: It’s Alien Nation/District 9, But Not Nearly As Good

Star-CrossedLast night The CW premiered its latest science fiction series, the Romeo & Juliet riff Star-Crossed. It’s right up the network’s alley, wrapping up teen angst and romance in genre trappings. Sometimes The CW’s blend of soap opera and fantastic elements works really well — see Supernatural and Arrow. Other times, you get a misfire like The Tomorrow People…or, at first glance, at least, Star-Crossed.

The show stars Aimee Teegarden and Matt Lanter as Emery and Roman, a hottie human girl and a hunky alien dude who had a brief meeting on the day Roman’s people — called “Atrians — first crash-landed on our planet. On that night, Emery thought Roman was shot dead by soldiers while trying to protect her, but surprise surprise: he’s doing just fine, and is one of seven Atrian youths being integrated into Emery’s high school as part of an experimental integration. Ten years after “Arrival Day,” most of the Atrians are still confined to a secure zone nearby, while the wreckage of their ship looms on the horizon, slowly being disassembled by human authorities.

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Star-Crossed Brings Romeo & Juliet & Aliens To The CW: Today In Science Fiction

Star-CrossedThe CW has become one of the few safe havens for science fiction on mainstream network television. Sure, Fox gave us a nice run of Fringe, but the potential imminent cancellation of Almost Human just confirms that Fox’s reputation as a graveyard for interesting, promising shows still holds true. Meanwhile, the CW has built a solid lineup almost entirely on genre hits such as Arrow and Supernatural. Sure, the shows tend to skew younger than, say, AMC’s The Walking Dead, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But while we’ll give anything sci-fi a fair shot here at GFR, we’re betting that tonight’s premiere of Star-Crossed will be more up the alley of my teenage daughter than myself. Assuming I had a teenage daughter. And if I did, there’s no way in hell you’re leaving this house dressed like that, young lady.

As the headline suggests, Star-Crossed is your basic Romeo & Juliet tale, but with the ill-fated Montague and Capulet lovers replaced by a human girl (Aimee Teegarden) and her alien beau (Matt Lanter). This being the CW, the aliens are, of course, remarkably photogenic, and their extraterrestrial nature is denoted primarily by some funny face tattoos. (Come on, guys, at least give them a bumpy forehead.) After a childhood meeting between the two, the bulk of the show picks up years after the aliens’ arrival on Earth, during which time they’ve been segregated into camps. Now they’re being integrated into the rest of society, and of course Emery (Teegarden) and Roman (Lanter) wind up at the same school so they can send each other mash notes in class. Hey, at least he’s not a sparkly vampire.

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