Sunday, September 2, 2012

AFT Awards: The “Threshold” Award for Best Cancelled Series

This is the nineteenth category of the 6th Annual AFT Television Awards to be announced. This category is a special one, given out only twice in the past five years, honoring those shows which died this past season. "Threshold", for those who do not know, was a fantastic science fiction drama that premiered in 2005 on CBS and was axed after only nine episodes (the DVD release contains four additional unaired episodes). Led by the great Carla Gugino and featuring a fun cast, the show began with an electrifying pilot surrounding an interesting type of alien invasion strategy. Unfortunately, the show premiered around the same time as two similar sci-fi series, the dreadful "Surface" and the impressive "Invasion." Both those shows outlived "Threshold" but ultimately did not make the cut for a renewal order. "Threshold" was the victim of a bad timeslot, and just to make it worse, CBS decided to renew a staggering six series from the 2005-2006 season. This category was suggested by a friend several years to be titled the "Firefly" award, but I hadn’t yet seen that show, which has a large enough fan base, thus, I would like to honor the memory of "Threshold" with this award. This year, this category includes only shows that were cancelled during or immediately after their freshman seasons.

The “Threshold” Award for Best Cancelled Series

Alcatraz (FOX) This show burst out of the gate with a magnificent, insanely intriguing pilot, and then held on to the mystery and thrills in subsequent episodes. Most lamentably, this show’s mythology would have taken it to very interesting places, and it’s a shame to see it cut off from the opportunity to tell more of its fascinating, highly exciting stories.

The Finder (FOX) This spinoff of “Bones” was wonderfully eccentric and entertaining, giving actor Geoff Stults a perfect leading role. The supporting cast – Michael Clarke Duncan, Maddie Hasson, and Mercedes Masohn – was equally superb, and it’s a shame that they only got thirteen weird, wacky adventures when FOX choose only to renew its more established series.

How to Be a Gentleman (CBS) Most will tell you that this show was awful, but it’s actually on par with most of CBS’ current comedy lineup. Though it may not have been blisteringly clever comedy, it was quite funny and should have run for more than three episodes before being cancelled. Fortunately, it did return to air the rest of its filmed episodes earlier this summer, showcasing more generally amusing and funny installments.

Luck (HBO) This horse racing drama took a bit of time to get good, but it received a renewal long before that. Unfortunately, animal deaths during filming got that order reversed, something that HBO has done before (“Tell Me You Love Me” was another example). This show wasn’t perfect, but it did have its share of mesmerizing scenes and strong characters, plus some terrific turns from Dennis Farina, Dustin Hoffman, and others.

Outcasts (BBC America) The demise of this show was softened only by the fact that, by the time I encountered it, it had already been cancelled by BBC. That said, it was one of the most creative and most engaging sci-fi series in a long time, featuring excellent performances from the likes of Liam Cunningham, Amy Manson, and the rest of the ensemble. It definitely deserved more than eight episodes, and any sci-fi fan who missed it should begin watching immediately.

And the winner is…


Next up: Best Drama Series

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