Ah, if only the commercials were it. Two minutes or so of slick, cleverly-edited entertainment and – switch! – onto the next ‘show.’ Trouble is, even given our ever-shrinking collective attention span, television producers still have to fill at least 20 more minutes or so with actual storytelling, let alone the double that for an hour broadcast, and on a repeated, weekly basis. When it comes to the horror and sci-fi genres, it seems few other areas of the small screen have ever led to as much misdirection and, oh – let’s be honest – outright disappointment in terms of promising something really good (and far too many times, failing to deliver). With Fox’s new Sleepy Hollow now off and galloping to its eventual fate as only the viewers will determine, Hollywood.com takes a look back over the years to similar fare that looked completely cool in the commercials, only to be anything but come actual air-time.
The Lone Gunmen (FOX, 2001)
A spinoff of The X-Files, The Lone Gunmen followed a group of geeky conspiracy theorists that, inexplicably, deviated from its alien-origins to offer physical comedy and more down-to-Earth plot lines. It lasted but 13 shows.
Manimal (NBC, 1983)
The ultimate example of great-looking promo turning into a flop at airtime, especially when the quasi-superhero with an ability to turn into any animal chooses a hawk or black panther in almost every one of its eight episodes.
Kingdom Hospital (ABC, 2004)
Not even Stephen King, some star power and elongating the planned mini-series to a full show could save this effort. Poor ratings led to its cancellation after only one year.
American Gothic (CBS, 1995)
Yes, even someone as sure-handed as Sam Raimi can misfire, particularly in this Gary Cole, creepy-sheriff vehicle that went bye-bye in a hurry. Produced by former teen idol Shaun Cassidy.
The Secret Circle (CW, 2011)
Take the writer from The Vampire Diaries; substitute witches for vampires and insert a bland cast without any discernible charisma. Voila! The Secret Circle. Twenty-two episodes later, the secret was out – it sucked.