Saturday, September 23, 2017

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

This is the nineteenth category of the 11th Annual AFT Television Awards, my personal choices for the best in television during the 2016-2017 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.

The “Threshold” Award for Best Cancelled Series

Dark Matter (Syfy) ran for three seasons, so in a sense I can’t complain that much, but I’m citing my frustration for three reasons. One is that it ended on a game-changing cliffhanger, which showed that it was able to reinvent itself regularly. Secondly, it’s much better than “Killjoys,” which Syfy opted to renew for two more seasons, which also means it knows when it’s ending, and, thirdly, like “Alphas,” this is exactly the type of show that should be airing on a network like Syfy, and I can’t understand why no one appreciates it. It worked very well despite a questionable premise. Let’s hope Netflix or someone picks it up; otherwise, I’ll just have to keep recommending it to people.

The Great Indoors (CBS) wasn’t a show I ever expected to watch or like, but something about the relatively basic millennial-centric comedy won me over. The cast was fun and I laughed a lot, and you’d think that CBS of all networks would be up for another show like this which serves a slightly different population than all of its other shows. I recognize that this one doesn’t rank as high as the others in terms of quality, but I’ll miss it.

Making History (FOX) was one of my favorite shows to watch this past season, making a relatively unsophisticated concept into an enjoyable show with a lot of laughs. I was particularly fond of Leighton Meester’s Deborah Revere and her excited pronunciation of “ice cream.” I’m not sure how long this show ever had it in, but I think that it could have gone on a bit longer, even if some of its plotlines towards the end weren’t superb.

Powerless (NBC) is a show that really should have succeeded, and I’m sad that I forgot about it until this point, meaning that I didn’t get to recognize it properly in other categories (I may have to go back and do that). Vanessa Hudgens was terrific in the lead role as an overly excited do-gooder working with unmotivated people played by the likes of Alan Tudyk and Danny Pudi to combat collateral damage from supervillains. I don’t know why it didn’t catch on, and I really hope to see the episodes that didn’t make it to air.

Sense8 (Netflix) doesn’t technically belong here since it was un-cancelled, but it was only revived for a two-hour special and therefore has still been officially axed. This season demonstrated that this show has longevity, and its awesome finale showed that it’s finally ramping up its action to head somewhere great. Unfortunately, all we’ll have is two hours to wrap that up, which should hopefully be able to condense what could have been played out over several seasons.

Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll (FX) is one of those shows that I feel like no one else was watching, and I was very sad to see that it was cancelled. “Rescue Me” lived on a whole lot longer than this half-hour comedy, and I would have loved to see more of this truly wild and singularly argumentative group. I get that it was a bit unfocused and messy at times, but I would call those things assets rather than limitations.

Keep these shows alive by checking them out and getting into them!

Next up: Best Drama Series

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