As a bone-deep Scorpio—and I’m talking Sun-sign, Moon-sign, street-sign and any other sign that can possibly be construed as even faintly tinged with Scorpio—your Grey Lenswoman is an Olympic-level champion at holding grudges. I’ve held onto some of mine dating back to second grade, when that creep Robert lied about me talking in class—honestly, all I did was turn my head and hold my finger to my lips in time-honored shushing mode. Robert’s tattling resulted in me having to stay late after school. I had to walk home! Okay, I always walked home, but it’s the principle of the thing, am I right? And I almost missed Sheena, Queen of the Jungle!
So, as you can see, when it comes to some of my favorite TV series of all time, it’s far from surprising that I can hold onto a how-dare-they-cancel-it grudge for literally decades. Yes, of course Firefly is one—fourteen episodes and done? Seriously? And sure, they tossed us hardcore Browncoats a bone with the Serenity movie, but then Whedon killed off some of the characters. No, I won’t mention who, for those three people who’ve not seen it, but Bad Joss, bad! Never, never, never kill dogs or my favorite characters, else you risk the wrath of Me.
Another TV series I loved and lost is The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. A Western, I hear you gasp in amazement? Yes, a Western, with the delicious snark of Bruce Campbell, the delightful geekiness of John Astin—who, I will argue to the death, was the sexiest Gomez Addams—and the delectable delectableness of Julian Curry. Plus we had Billy Drago! That man’s face was created specifically to be the perfect villain. With amazing inventions, a glowing orb, lashings of steampunk, actors who appeared in classic Western shows dating back to the 50s—the twenty-seven episodes of this series had everything. Except a second season. Funny story: when Brisco debuted in ’93, it was expected to crush in the ratings a weird sci-fi-ish series that debuted at the same time. It didn’t. That other series went on for years and was recently rebooted. Sure, I liked it too and watched all the episodes. You may have heard of it: The X-Files?
Three science fiction series with single-word titles debuted in 2005; Invasion, Surface and Threshold. I watched all three, of course, being the card-carrying geek I am. Invasion was vaguely Body Snatchers-ish, with sea creatures washed in by a hurricane who began to take over/clone residents of a small Florida town, while Surface was also about an invasion of deep-sea creatures that want to take over the world, mwhahahaha!
But, like Dorothy did the Scarecrow, this is the series I miss most of all: Threshold.
Threshold was similar to the other two, but far more fascinating. These aliens were from another dimension, see, and they plan to invade by rewriting human DNA to match their own. First contact is a weird, jagged fractal-folding-in-on-itself shape that appears over the ocean, making a noise like clashing knives; every crewmember on a nearby freighter who sees/hears it either dies, horribly disfigured, or is changed, i.e., his DNA is successfuly rewritten, and he then escapes to infect others. In other words: “we have met the enemy and he is us.”
Naturally, the government calls in a team of scientists to investigate this delicious weirdness. Carla Gugino, a crisis-management expert who’s written a protocol for ‘first contact’, assembles a team including a microbiologist (played by Brent Spiner, yay, Next Gen); an aerospace engineer; a muscle-with-a-gun; and my personal favorite, a linguistics and mathematics genius-with-an-attitude-and-an-alcohol-problem played by the amazing and Best-Cyrano-Ever Peter Dinklage. Amidst lots of bickering, they plunge into the investigation, and lots of fun ensues. Oh, and both Gugino and the Muscle watched a video one of the crewmen made back onboard the ship and are maybe sorta kinda possibly infected themselves.
This was a beautiful setup for a series, it had a strong cast and good writing, and it should, by rights, have lasted several seasons. In fact, the creators had planned more seasons, with proposed titles like Foothold and Stronghold giving us hints as to how they might go.
But how many episodes did I get of Threshold?
Thirteen, I tell you!
How dare they!