At least books don’t get cancelled

Did you ever watch The 4400? How about Space Above and Beyond? I expect most people reading this watched Firefly, right?


Television is increasingly seen as the home of deep visual story telling. HBO and its imitators have created shows with the depth and passion of a great novel, things like The Wire, Deadwood and Damages. Even science fiction and fantasy are having a resurgence and upping their game, with Game of Thrones being compared to the non-genre greats and new arrivals like Helix offering up the promise of something a bit different. Sure it’s not all brilliant – I didn’t get past the first episode of Falling Skies – but it’s fair to say that TV can now do deep, credible fiction on a par with novels.

But television does something that novels don’t. It gets cancelled.

I never found out why the 4400 were really sent back. I never knew which of the Wildcards made it through the war. And the fate of Serenity, while resolved in the film, still left much tantalising potential untapped. Whereas authors, barring death or distraction, will make it to the end.

So hooray for novels. And hooray for television. And hooray for the fact that at least one of them regularly offers us closure.

And if you haven’t seen it then try to get hold of ‘Who Monitors The Birds?’, Space Above And Beyond’s twelfth episode. That show might have had some bum notes, but that one episode made it all worthwhile.