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USA Cancels 2 Shows From Trek Vets December 19, 2007

by Charles Trotter , Filed under: Sci-Fi , trackback

The USA Network has given the axe to two genre shows co-created by Star Trek veterans: The 4400 and The Dead Zone. The 4400 was created by Scott Peters and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine writer and producer Rene Echevarria. The Dead Zone was created for television by Deep Space Nine & Voyager co-creator Michael Piller with his son, Shawn Piller (who wrote for TNG and VOY). Both shows also featured a number of Trek vets both in front of and behind the camera.

The 4400 was about people who were abducted by time travelers and then sent back with special abilities to help ‘save the future.’ The show ran for four seasons and aired its last episode on September 16th. Echevarria brought in his old boss Ira Steven Behr to be executive producer and show runner for The 4400 (as he was for DS9). DS9’s Robert Hewitt Wolfe also wrote and produced for the series in the first season. In addition recurring DS9/ENT star Jeffrey Combs (Weyoun, Brunt, Shran, etc) had a recurring role as did Penny Johnson (DS9: Kasidy Yates). The show received three Emmy Award nominations in 2004, including one for Outstanding Miniseries. It was Peters who broke the news of the show’s cancellation on the USA Network forums.


Jeffrey Combs with Summer Glau in ‘The 4400′

The Dead Zone was about a man who gains psychic abilities after recovering from a coma. The Pillers created the seres based on the a Stephen King novel of the same name (which was also turned into a feature film). DS9 actress Nicole de Boer (Ezri Dax) was in the regular cast and one-time TNG guest actor David Ogden Stiers (Timicin in “Half a Life”) had a recurring role. The series has been on the air for six seasons; its last episode aired the same day as The 4400‘s last episode, September 16th.


Nicole de Boer with Anthony Michael Hall and Chris Bruno in ‘The Dead Zone’

These make the second and third series from Trek veterans being brought to an end by NBC Universal (owner of USA Network and The Sci Fi Channel). Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica will premiere its 4th and final season in early 2008.

For more information on the cancellation of both shows, see TV Guide.

Comments

1. Chain of Command - December 19, 2007

Interesting…..Sad to see them go

2. Chain of Command - December 19, 2007

Doesn’t surprise me though unfortunately. Good Science Fiction always gets wasted by networks so that they can give us crap.

3. I AM THX-1138 - December 19, 2007

I didn’t think either show lived up to the potential that they initially promised.

Dead Zone was a cool book and an interesting movie but I didn’t see how it’s story was going to work out in a series (particularly since the lead character died). To me, it kind of turned into the pre-cognitive (or post-cognitive psychic–whatever) version of Monk.

The 4400 seemed like a great idea at first but it lost me when it failed to deliver in a timely fashion. Having to wait for a new show is not a good sign and I moved on. I also hoped for more info on where they went and who took them and was less interested in what their powers of the week were.

4. heroesSTfan - December 19, 2007

Dead Zone was starting to drag on a bit. My family stopped watching it this season.

The 4400 is one of my favorite shows. I will be very sad to see it go.

5. TJ - December 19, 2007

The 4400 was a great show and popular, I dont understand why it’s bit the dust. It left the season ended on a cliffhanger as well DAMN IT!

Dead Zone used to be great but then got rid of most of its main/support cast most of whom popped up only occassionally and became ‘Random Johny Adventure of the Week’ show, a pale immitation of its former glory.

So is this a product of ratings or more fall out from the WGA strike? Will there be anything but repeats and crap left on TV by next year?

6. steve adams - December 19, 2007

Never watched the Dead Zone. The movie with C Walken was tops but a show based on it, didn’t interest me.
4400. I watched the 1st season on dvd. Liked it. Have the second season but have yet to watch. Guess I know where its going to end.
I figured the show was good for a 7 year run… Bummed now that its gone.
^
You can see the influence that show had on Heroes.
:(

7. Charles Trotter - December 19, 2007

I never watched The 4400 outside of a few minutes here and there (sorry Rene, Ira, and Robert), but it looked like a really good show. I’ve seen most of The Dead Zone (my mother is a big fan), but I lost interest during the last few seasons, particularly at the start of this season when it jumped the shark in the very first episode (I won’t specify how to avoid spoilers). Nikki did a good job on the show, but I think it’s run its course and it is a good time to end it, particularly given the way the last episode wrapped up. There are still some threads left hanging, but maybe they can be wrapped up in a TV movie or something.

8. CanuckLou - December 19, 2007

Dead Zone rocked the first 5 seasons but this last one was indeed disappointing. And the Stillson/Armageddon storyline remains unresolved.

Grrr….

9. Anthony Pascale - December 19, 2007

the ends of the 4400, dead zone and bsg will put quite a few former trek writers, producers and actors out of work. Lets hope Ira and Ron and the others all come back and create some new and interesting genre shows.

I was a fan of the 4400 and the show eventually evolved out of the ‘freak of the weak’ mold it fell into early on. The fact that it ended on a cliff hanger sucks.

I have actually never watched a single episode of the dead zone…maybe i will review it on netflix.

10. Daoud - December 19, 2007

Indeed. 2-hour finale movies would have been nice for each of them… Especially if somehow they were made to overlap with each other, or other shows.

Those Johnny + Monk commercials were always fascinating. He should have left Cleaves Mills in the end for San Francisco and resettled there. ;)

11. martin - December 19, 2007

I had a feeling with Ira and the other producers being in the final scene with Jordan Collier on the steps that the season finale would end up being the series finale. I think the producers must have known it so they did the Quark’s bar scene for us.

12. New Horizon - December 19, 2007

Dead Zone rocked for the first five seasons? Man, I would say only the first two. Season three on was weak.

13. Kyle Nin - December 19, 2007

I’ll tell you what killed “The Dead Zone”: Walt Bannerman’s death. Why did they have to do that?

14. Pragmaticus - December 19, 2007

Aww man… it’s sad that Anthony Michael Hall is out of a job.

15. Greg2600 - December 19, 2007

Dead Zone is still a good show, although tired. The 4400 is just not comprehendible. They should allow for some kind of tie-up TV movie.

16. focuspuller - December 19, 2007

I haven’t actually ever had the chance to see either show, but i have been curious. There is a point I would like to make though. In my opinion, whether the shows were still good or not is mute. A common practice in British television is short series and mini-series (in fact in the uk a season is called a series, so season 1 would be series 1). Why should a good series HAVE to run long? But i think you’ll be seeing more american shows aiming for this, I don’t mind Battlestar Galactica ending now because I know it’s been completly solid so far so why push it?

On a final note case and point, a Uk series called Life On Mars (a great sci-fi/detective series that I urge all of you to see) ended the show after only 2 seasons, 6 episodes per season.

17. Charles Trotter - December 19, 2007

Dead Zone and The 4400 are not the only shows to be canceled with a cliffhanger episode. The fourth season of the Sci-Fi series Farscape ended on a cliffhanger but was canceled before the fifth season went into production. Although a later mini-series tied up some of the loose plot threads, shows such as Odyssey 5, Moesha, Love of Life, Peyton Place and, to my particular annoyance, Darkwing Duck have not been so lucky.

18. TechTrekker - December 19, 2007

My wife and I have watched both of these shows and loved the stories and the characters. We were anticipating each new season and are now left with cliff hangers. In a way, it reminds me of how DS9 ended. You would think the money makers in hollywood would make a DVD movie to wrap up the series and give closure to the fans.

But I guess good art is beyond the scope of a executive’s pocket.

Shame on USA.

Pun intended.

19. Bob Tompkins - December 19, 2007

And another one bites the dust. It was a very good series; they wrapped up a lot of loose ends on the final? episode. It deserves better.

http://www.zap2it.com/tv/news/zap-journeymanprobablydone,0,2265447.story

20. Hallbjorn - December 20, 2007

Well, I am sad about this cancellation of my two favorite series, I was a big fan of them both and this was NOT a nice christmas present !!!!

What will I watch next summer ?

21. sebi - December 20, 2007

is it just me or is it insulting to the fans if such shows are cancelled without notice to the writers first? It’s a nice way to say “so you’ve been watching this show on our network for years and want to know how it ends? yeah, sorry, but no.”

I understand the economics behind it. I also know though that I don’t want to get into another show made by the SciFi network before it wraps. Having such stories murdered midstream really suck in every sense of the word.

22. Stringfellow Hawke - December 20, 2007

All I can add to this thread is if it’s the practice of the USA Network and others mentioned to end shows without notice, then it only sets the standard amongst viewers to not bother watching programmes on their schedules in the event they are terminated without satisfactory closure.

You would think some of these networks would take the hint of other shows – like BSG – and give the producers advance notice of cancellation so they can wrap up series on a good note, leaving the networks in a positive light. It just makes them look like they don’t really have their heads on straight if they drop an investment without thinking about the future trends being set. It’s no wonder sci-fi doesn’t have much success on television. Networks haven’t the faith to market it properly from start TO finish.

I don’t watch anything else on USA other than 4400, and I’m not about to start, either. Not if they drop programmes without notice. I’ve no interest in watching the ‘newer shows grow’ only to have them cancelled when money gets a bit tight. They should’ve thought about that when they got a hit on their hands. I guess they just want to wallow in mediocrity then eventually merge with some other network. Sound familiar?

23. Bill Cox - December 20, 2007

I hate to see them go. USA has some great original programming, and losing these 2 shows is sad news indeed. Now, if USA decides to drop Monk and Psych, I’m gonna boycott them forever.

24. Rick - December 20, 2007

Never watched THE DEAD ZONE. I kinda enjoyed THE 4400 and really started to get into it of late. It wasn’t a hard core cliff hanger it had when this last season ended, but it opened the door to new questions and what would be happening to the future of this group. You never know maybe they will wrap up things with a mini-series or a couple of TV films. The worst rumor due to the strike is the possibility of BSG ending unresolved. I don’t get that as even if the actors contracts ended surely they could get most everyone together for a wrap up of sorts. It would be funny another version of BSG ending unresolved. So a decade or so from now another writer producer can do another BSG and finish it. ;) Or not…

25. martin - December 20, 2007

The BSG thing really has me worried.

Hopefully the strike will be resolved in the next month or so and they can get BSG done, or at least resolved.

What would keep them from doing a Season 5 at this point anyway? Just release the 10 or whatever episodes for season 4 and then resolve in season 5. It isn’t like Eick and Moore have anything else going on do they? If RDM were to no agree to something like this after he and his team went on strike and ruined it, he would lose a lot of his dedicated fans. They could also resolve with just a mini series too.

Just don’t bring Braga into it to have it just be a dream of Dirk Benedict’s Starbuck.

26. Jeff - December 20, 2007

the 4400 was just dumb. The first season was COOL, but the HUGE break until it was picked up again pretty much killed it, and everything that made the first season work was dropped.

It was basically Heroes, but no one seemed to know what they had or what to do with it when it was picked up again.

RIP 4400, the most frustrating collection of wasted opportunities ever to hit TV.

27. AaronA - December 20, 2007

There is a petition thread to save 4400 at the USA network’s forum, which already has nearly 300 signatures.

To add your name, go to:
http://forums.usanetwork.com/index.php?showforum=3

(Quick sign up required)

28. Paul - December 22, 2007

GOOD!

Maybe they’ll finally learn to make short, compact, two or three seasons long shows again – an art long forgotten in Hollywood.

Currently, everybody is trying to stretch the story out to several years, whatever it takes. Take LOST, for instance: that story is worth two seasons tops, and they are trying to make 6 seasons out of it. It’s just sick. What’s wrong with making neat, self-contained one-seasoners? Why it can work for Europeans, but not for Americans? Some of best series I’ve seen here in Europe were 12-16, some even SEVEN episodes long – and it seemed just about right. Why would anybody want to watch the same faces all over seven or ten years, still playing the same dragged out story?

29. TJ Trek - December 23, 2007

yes, networks don’t understand Sci-fI. I mean look at the original star trek series. The only reason it failed was because the network forced it into failiure.

30. Lina Smutz - April 9, 2011

Hm, I’m comfortable with this however not absolutely sure, therefore i am about to research a touch more.

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