Tuesday, October 6, 2015

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

This is the nineteenth category of the 9th Annual AFT Television Awards, my personal choices for the best in television during the 2014-2015 season. This category is a special one, given out four times in the past six 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 shows that were cancelled during or immediately following their first or second season (with one notable exception below).

The “Threshold” Award for Best Cancelled Series

Babylon (SundanceTV): This blistering police parody was a superb and unequaled show that deserved much more than six episodes. There was plenty more storytelling to do, and it’s a shame that only a limited number of British and American audiences got to see the brilliance of this series and neither country wanted to keep it alive.

The Bridge (FX): Dramas on FX are of a certain caliber, and I don’t know why the network seemed to hold the latest excellent drama it offered in lower regard. Demian Bichir and Diane Kruger only get better in the show’s equally enticing second season, and this is just the latest great show to end on an intense cliffhanger that could have sent it into an even more compelling third season and beyond.

Happyish (Showtime): This show didn’t necessarily get to be the great series it could one day have become, but there were plenty of hints along the way that it had that potential. Showtime’s angriest new series starred Steve Coogan and Kathryn Hahn as people who couldn’t be more annoyed with their lives. Its incorporation of brands and famous historical figures was clever, and this show deserved another chance.

The Newsroom (HBO): This show doesn’t technically qualify for this category, but I see no reason why a show created by Aaron Sorkin should have such a short and unremarkable life. This show’s first season was excellent and its second slumped, but the six episodes in its final season were packed with superb material, a clear sign that this show had much more storytelling and speech-delivering to do.

Weird Loners (ABC): This show isn’t necessary worthy of comparison to the other series I’ve recognized in this category, but it was that broadcast network comedy of the season that I enjoyed a bit and looked forward to getting to enjoy for more than just a paltry six episodes. That and it’s always a treat to see Becki Newton back on television.

Next up: Best Drama Series

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