Transitions in TV thrillers

Cast of the late Fox thriller
Human Target's TV cast

Continuing my look at seasonal television turnover, espionage has fared slightly better than live-action superheroes. I was disappointed, but not surprised, by the cancellation of Human Target, which was a fun throwback to the action shows of the 1980s.

I had already dropped Undercovers and Nikita and was somewhat surprised that the latter (the fourth version of the waif turned assassin) got renewed. Spy spoof Chuck, which I’ve kept watching just as I stuck with Smallville, managed to avoid the axe one final time, and we’ll see whether the Charlie’s Angels remake is any good.

In related genres, conspiracy dramas V, The Event, and Survivors joined Flash Forward and Dollhouse in cancellation. I had kept up with the V remake, although the alien invasion plot took a long time to develop suspense. Speaking of aliens, Spielberg’s Falling Skies and time-travel Terra Nova are getting a decent amount of prelaunch hype, but we’ll see if they can avoid similar disappointment.

Cryptozoology and weird science fans still have Fringe, Sanctuary, and Warehouse 13, which may even have a steampunk spinoff. I thought that the season finale cliffhangers of Fringe, Chuck, and Castle were all pretty good this year.

Comedic procedural Psych and related caper shows Burn Notice, White Collar, and Leverage are similar to Castle but no doubt managed to hang on because they’re on cable, which has more modest audience expectations. Breaking In, which featured Reaper and V‘s Bret Harrison, wasn’t so lucky.

It’s too soon to say whether this autumn’s batch of shows will do any better, but let’s hope the best rise to the top in the networks’ game of trial and error.

Coming soon: Space opera, animation, and fantasy on TV!