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TV News: Threshold Canceled

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The cancellations just keep coming! This one has me upset, as I think that it was the best of the three new alien shows this season, the other two being Invasion and Surface. So far 9 episodes have aired and there is no word yet as to how many were produced or how many more will air.

The show had a great cast featuring Carla Gugino (who was also in the short shifted Karen Sisco), Charles S. Dutton, Brent Spiner (Star Trek: TNG), Peter Dinklage (The Station Agent, Elf), and Brian Van Holt. Plus, they had just signed Jag‘s Catherine Bell for a recurring role. The writing was very good, very X-Files-like without being a rip off of that series.

Threshold deals with an alien signal which was received by a freight ship in the Pacific. The signal’s purpose was to change the genetic structure of the Earth, first affecting people. Those infected by the signal are then driven to continue spreading the signal, changing more and more people along the way. A group of scientists, headed by Gugino’s Molly Caffrey. Some of this group have also had a slight dose of the signal, but have not showed any effects, other than having dreams of a glass forest. The team is working towards stopping the spread, first by tracking down all of the crew members from that initial infection.

This series had a lot going for it, in my opinion. The plotting is very good, it is intricate and holds together, it does a good job of keeping you guessing as to what is going to happen next. On top of that, the characters were being well developed. They have great interaction with each other, which not only moves the plot forward, but also helps to form who these characters are. The series has a sense of fun, but it is also full of suspense and intrigue.

The show aired on Friday nights between Ghost Whisperer and Numb3rs. In that slot, it pulled in mediocre ratings, showing itself to be the weakest of the line up. This past week it was moved to Tuesdays at 10pm. Apparently, the move resulted in even fewer viewers, which I think is due, at least in part, to the move being poorly advertised.

This announcement came hot in the heels of Alias’ cancellation. Two shows for which I always made sure to tune in. At least with the former we got a 5 seasons, it does not appear that Threshold will even have one. Perhaps we will get a DVD release as a consolation prize?

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  • We watched Threshold at the beginning and I like Spiner a lot. We stopped watching it even though we still watch Ghost Whisperer and Numb3rs. My gut reaction is that it was a little too grim for Friday night, which still draws family viewing.

    I was thinking Ghost Whisperer may be moving away from the feelgood to the scarier ghost stories and if so, we’ll probably watching that less.

  • I really liked Threshold as well. I knew it was a long shot because it wasn’t easily picked up by a new viewer -if there was a backstory preview at the beginning of eash show I didn’t notice it so it mus not have been a good one – and the fans need to be dedicated because it required patience. Admittedly, the episodes could be hit and miss, even boring but unless you were a dedicated fan from the start and knew its potential then the show may have at times seemed even boring and jumbled.
    The dialogue was excellent but called for more than a 6th grade level of attention. I didn’t see the show capitalize on having Brent Spiner as a regular cast member; he played “Data” on Star Trek for years as a very popular cast member. I was really surprised at that. (I firmly maintain that the reason BONES is a hit is because of David Boreanaz from “Angel” being on the cast because otherwise the female lead can’t act herself out of a paper bag (in fact I want to put her IN a paper bag. I get through the show for Boreanaz only) Anyhow, sorry to see Threshold go. Marvelous cast yet needed help in maintaining consistently high stress, intensity in its storylines.


  • Threshold had one of the best pilots ever. Extremely creepy in a Twilight Zone sort of way.

    The series, though, got increasingly routine, following the traditional cops-and-robbers style of modern television.

    1) We learn about the bad guy
    2) We follow a trail to find the bad guy, with a couple of dead-ends along the way
    3) We catch the bad guy in the final two minutes
    4) We banter

    Once the show went from creepy sci-fi to a cross between the Hidden and any generic catch the bad guy drama (such as, say, Charmed), it lost its oomph.

    I stuck with it, in part because of Brent Spiner and Peter Dinklage, but overall, when you go from an A+ to a C- in less than 10 weeks, it generally spells cancellation.

  • Dave Nalle

    Interesting. I thought Threshold was clearly the weakest of the 3. The plot device was too derivative and too x-files. Invasion and Surface are a lot more original and even subversive – especially Invasion, which isn’t as flashy as Surface but it’s incredibly well written and clever.


  • I liked the pilot episode. I thought there was great potential. The second episode was a little too predictable. Then I kept forgetting when it was on. Then it became “chase this guy before he spreads the infection.” Then it became “Species.” Then I decided I wouldn’t watch it anymore.

  • I originally thought Threshold would be the best of the three alien shows, but it soon became formulaic. Meanwhile, Invasion has gotten better and better. It would be awesome if Sci-Fi picked up Threshold…it’s not a bad show…just not a terribly amazing show.

  • Charlie

    I think there should be a petition started to go to all Networks that will include these items. 1. The e-mail address of all major networks. 2. A statement that we will boycott any new shows that have the continued week to week story IF, the networks don’t start including in their purchases of these type of shows AN ENDING episode. I know the networks all purchase 5 – 10 episodes of any new show. If it really bombs in the first few weeks no-one cares, but if it continues into 7-9 episodes the show gets a following and then one week you look and the show is cancelled. This leaves the viewer (consumer I might add) at loss as to what the ending was. I’m sure we would all go to the Big Screen Cinamas and watch a great movie like “Indepenence Day” or “Saving Private Ryan” and 3/4 of the way thru the movie the lights come on and an announcer says “Well we didn’t think the movie would draw that many so we cancelled production, Good Bye”. That’s what they are doing to us. They need to know this. Maybe the low ratings are inpart due to someone looking in the TV guide or watching the first episode and saying “Theres another one of those neverending stories I’m not going to get involved in it until the reruns come out”. Lets let the Network know.

  • I am shocked but not surprised. I noticed when I watched it week before last on Tuesday there was an ad during the show that said it would be on again next Tuesday, but when the schedule came out I noticed it wasn’t listed, and sure enough it didn’t air. I knew that was a bad sign so this morning I did a Google search for “threshold canceled” and your blog came up. I think it was first-rate and I’m disappointed. It really makes you mad when you think about it that you invest your time in watching a network show and they pull it. I actually gave up on “Invasion” because the local ABC station isn’t in HD while CBS is, and I was spending too much time at the tube so I had to give something up. Oh well.

  • The Threshold, Invasion and Surface boxed sets are going on sale soon:
    15 Aug – Surface, 634 min., 4 DVDs, 15 episodes
    22 Aug – Invasion, 22 episodes, 6 DVDs
    22 Aug – Threshold, 540 min.,4 DVDs

    I don’t know if there are any episodes that didn’t get broadcast, or if there’s any “wrap-up” to the stories. I thought Invasion was doing well but then I missed some episodes and it disappeared.

  • Jack Pedron

    Honestly the pilot was pretty amazing but be warned the next 7-8 episodes are repetitive and actually very silly.

    But to no dismay the last three are absolutely amazing. I sure hope scifi takes this up a notch and bring out a season 2. That was such a cliff hanger why bring so much plot lines when you already know you’d be canceled.