How Prematurely Axed TV Series Should Have Ended, According To Their Creators

Posted by July 14, 2012 Comment

Abigail Raney reports from Comic-Con for Bleeding Cool.

And Then What Happened? Serialized Shows That Ended Too Soon was a Comic-Con panel on how it should have ended for some of the more memorably-lamented, early cancellations in recent TV history.

The writers and producers of Dollhouse, Firefly, Middleman and Flash Foward all appeared to discuss what would have been should their shows allowed to live full, healthy lives. Before the highlights, a disclaimer:

I know at least three of these shows have continued on in comic book form. I regretably am not up to date on those. I assume for a panel like this the information would be new, but it is possible some things have come out in the comics. If they have, and so you already knew them, congrats. Feel superior.

Also, I shouldn’t have to say it, but… Spoilers. Obviously.

The Middleman

According to Javier Grillo-Marxuach, the show had such trouble finding an audience that they knew by about the third episode they were probably cancelled. However, this meant that they had a much freer hand once the network lost interest (something also mentioned by Chambliss about the end of Dollhouse). Grillo-Marxuach also claims he didn’t really plan ahead, because writing for TV is like jazz, continuously improvised. But he did seem to have made some plans.

If given a second season, the Middleman makers would have liked to jump foward to a time when Wendy would be the Middleman, and we would have learned that Wendy’s father had been a Middleman too, sent to deal with a problem on another planet. He would have returned, by which point he would have been younger than Wendy, and so would have become her apprentice.


Mention was made of an ending imagined by original showrunner David S. Goyer, who left the show halfway through, though what that was or how much remained in the actual finale never became clear.

The characters would have found an ancient computer-like device in the ocean, which would have predicted the flashes. The time flashed would have gotten shorter and shorter, and in the last flash, which was only 3 days forward, only 17 people would have seen anything (i.e., had futures to flash to).

They then would have had to piece together what happened, and realized they sent the computer to themselves as a warning, presumably to prevent whatever created a world with only 17 people. Among the 17 would have been Olivia , Lloyd, and Mark. Also on the table was the idea of people flashing forward in differing increments.

Firefly & Dollhouse

The Whedon shows were marked by noticeably shorter, less detailed revelations – but I suppose that’s to be expected given the absence of Whedon himself, and given that Serenity wrapped up some loose ends and Dollhouse had warning of its demise. In fact, Dollhouse gave us the end, and what remains to be filled in is the middle. After the 2013 apocalypse, Adele and Echo would have worked together, sending dolls out to help people – a reasonable and probably surmised development for many fans. One questioner did kindly inquire as to whether having Boyd be the head of Rossum was planned from the start, and it turns out that was an improvisation due to time restraints.

As to Firefly, the only news to me was that Inara’s grander story arc involved her being terminally ill; the fact was thrown out so casually I felt sure I must have missed its revelation at some earlier date. We were further told that the story covered in Serenity would have resolved by Season 2, if not before – surely that information is just a cruel tease to all the other stories that would have followed. Then again, I suppose it highlights the true desire behind a panel like this – that while we want to know what happened, what we want even more is, well, more. It is a testament to the enduring place these stories have in our lives – a place which, thankfully, is well beyond the reach of th long arm of the Alliance, I mean, er, the network executives.

(Last Updated July 14, 2012 3:44 am )

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