Earlier this month I introduced Max Headroom, the fictional show starring the computerized celebrity of the same name. If you’ve read that you know I had a pretty high opinion of the series itself, a fine example of 80’s cyberpunk on its own and one of the only TV programs to venture into that territory at the time. However, it seemed the world wasn’t quite ready for the dystopian adventures of Max, and the show met with cancellation after two exceptionally short seasons. Production was still in full swing at the time, though, so what did we miss out on by this abrupt ending? or Max Headroom season 3? And hell, even in spite of the cancellation, their plans for Max’s world weren’t done–a Max Headroom theatrical movie, anyone?
So last week I introduced Earth 2 in the Primer, a series about colonizing an alien world with a heavy dose of environmentalism mixed in. Earth 2 had a strong start in the ratings but gradually crashed; the production company, however, wasn’t quite ready to cancel it yet, and decided to investigate the possibility of a retool first. With a change in showrunners, an Earth 2 season 2 continuation was pitched. While it ultimately didn’t get that renewal, we do have the leaked plans for what that second season pitch looked like. Big changes were certainly in store, but were they good ones?
Needless to say, a few spoilers for season 1 follow.
This month’s What Could Have Been comes as a special request. The Tomorrow People was a 2013 series about a group of people who developed superpowers (the eponymous Tomorrow People), who are being hunted down by a group called Ultra. It was a CW series, and as such has more of a YA bent to it than what we’ve mostly covered so far on the site. It was also a remake of a 1970s British sci-fi series, one that actually lasted quite a while (8 seasons). The modern incarnation wasn’t so lucky and got canceled after its first. Now, I should admit I’ve never actually watched The Tomorrow People myself, so if there are any silly errors you’ll have to forgive me. But, I was able to dig up a little info on where the series would have gone, and it sounds like it would’ve been quite the shakeup. Without further ado, let’s look at The Tomorrow People season 2 that could have been.
When you’re shooting a TV series or a film, sometimes real life gets in the way, and forces some changes to the plot. This is often expensive or problematic, so they’ll try to avoid it as much as possible (for example, giving Dr. Crusher and B’elanna Torres new oversized coats to hide their actresses’ pregnancies when the characters weren’t). But when it comes down to it, reality can force your hand–either due to budget reasons, or sudden illnesses or deaths, or scheduling conflicts, or even censorship, the original plan just flat out isn’t possible any more. Something new has to be made up, and fast. It sounds like a recipe for disaster, sure, but without those complications, we’d have missed out on some classic moments. So, let’s celebrate the good that came out of the bad by looking at these, 4 great scenes that nearly didn’t happen.
We’re going to try something new this month. Instead of a season for a show that was canceled, it’s going to be a look at the plans for a series that never actually materialized at all. Hopefully it’s just as popular, as I’ve got a few more of these we can examine in the future, and let’s face it–there are a lot of canceled shows, but not all of them had enough planning and forethought put into them that they could fill out a full article. And what better place to start out than in the franchise that featured in the first “What Could Have Been?” That’s right, we’re looking at a Star Trek series that never got produced: a continuation of the original series, with new characters and an upgraded ship called Star Trek: Phase II.