As The Wormhole Turns – La Brea The Road Home Part Two Ends An Era?

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Welcome Back La Brea and Wormhole Science Fiction Lovers!

La Brea Season 3 poster
Image courtesy NBC

As our article title and the third season La Brea poster header indicated all season long, is this an end of an era in scripted science fiction series on major network television channels like NBC?

Do such science fiction series, subsequent to lower ratings as compared to police, fire, and hospital scripted programs (which are flourishing), spell the end of the science fiction genre on major network channels in the United States?

Unfortunately, this would appear to be the case for new science fiction series that could be broadcast on the United States television networks ABC, CBS or NBC.

There is good news however. Beloved science fiction television genre series is well underway via movement to streaming platforms such as Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Crackle TV, Disney Plus, Hulu, MGM Plus, Netflix, Paramount Plus, and Peacock TV.

La Brea S3x06 Run for your lives
Image courtesy NBC

What this means is that although science fiction on major United States based network channels may be at the End Of Life (EOL) for now, the science fiction television genre will live on to be loved by tens of millions of viewers as evidenced by recent science fiction series successes such as Fallout, Foundation, For All Mankind, Outer Range, Halo, The Mandalorian and other new content being created for and by streaming television services!

The Forty Year Back Story:

ABC V Series New Logo Full
Image courtesy ABC

ABC Network (now part of Disney) was a player in the modern science fiction broadcast world subsequent to their highly successful Lost series from 2004 to 2010 with 121 episodes. After a notable original V mini-series success on NBC in 1983, V The Final Battle in 1984 and a shortened nineteen episode weekly series on NBC that left science fiction fans with huge cliffhanger, ABC picked up the franchise. ABC subsequently left the science fiction genre after a two season run of a reboot of V Series from 2009 to 2011 that also disappointed fans who had hoped the story arc would be completed in a third season.

The City On The Edge Of Forever
City On The Edge Of Forever. Image courtesy Paramount Plus

CBS Network had never been a significant science fiction content producer until it picked up the Star Trek franchise now broadcast on the Paramount Plus streaming service.

Likewise, the CW Network (originally UPN – The United Paramount Network until 2006), like SYFY, is actually a cable channel that produced significant science fiction related content including The Secret Circle (2011), The Vampire Diaries (2009), Arrow (2012), iZombie (2015), Legends of Tomorrow (2016), Riverdale (2017) and the popular Superman & Lois (2021) entering its fourth and final season soon.

The Ark S2 Poster
Image courtesy SYFY

With very few exceptions, notably the SYFY Channel in the United States (a cable channel that is owned by NBC), there are few relatively new science fiction scripted series on network television remaining.

These include as The Ark headed for a second season and comedic science fiction series Resident Alien (hopefully pending renewal for a fourth season).

Now in 2024, virtually all of the other recent science fiction series are now exclusively only on streaming platforms.

Streaming Roots and How We Arrived Here:

Sanctuary Season 3 Banner
Image courtesy SYFY

The roots of successful streaming programs can be said to have arguably begun in earnest in May 2007 with the Sanctuary web series first broadcast on the Internet. The Sanctuary web based series was so successful it actually crashed the Internet servers on launch day. I was peripherally involved in a support role for fans to interact with the series star Amanda Tapping while running a popular website dedicated to supporting the Stargate franchise prior to the launch of WormholeRiders News Agency in 2008. Sanctuary, produced in conjunction with Space Channel of Canada (now known as CTV SciFi), was such a success that the web series was picked up by SYFY (then the SciFi channel) that ran four seasons from 2009 to 2001.

The Invaders intro
The Invaders Image courtesy ABC

SciFi began broadcasting in September 1992 with the hit movie Star Wars Episode IV (The New Hope) as its first broadcast.

SciFi had much early success over their early years which can be attributed to broadcasting re-runs of iconic science fiction programs such as the early episodes of Dr. Who, The Prisoner, The Invaders, Star Trek the Original Series (TOS) and many various fan favorite science fiction movies.

Farscape Banner
Image courtesy SYFY

SYFY’s first original hit series was the short lived one season dystopian space opera Mission Genesis in 1997. Then came First Wave co-produced with the Space Channel broadcast from 1998 to 2001.

This was followed by the now classic Farscape series that was broadcast from 1999 to 2003. Farscape was co-produced with Nine Network.

Stargate SG-1 Team poster
Image courtesy Amazon MGM Studios

SciFi then invested heavily in additional science fiction scripted series beginning when it acquired the rights in 2001 to broadcast Stargate SG-1 owned by MGM Studios (Now known as Amazon MGM Studios).

Stargate SG-1 was originally on Showtime from 1997 to 2001, then continued to be broadcast on SYFY until 2007 for a combined total of ten episode years totaling 214 episodes. SYFY then added the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica in 2004, and Stargate Atlantis in 2005. MGM released two follow on direct to DVD Stargate SG-1 movies in 2008 that SYFY also broadcast. Stargate Universe began in 2009 and in 2010 SYFY created Caprica, a popular Battlestar prequel series that sadly only lasted one season.

Sharknado 6 banner
Image courtesy SYFY Sharknado

SYFY also became well known for their weekly wild and often wacky science fiction movies for which it became famous in their own right. 

The wildly successful weekly movie series generated huge followings of millions of viewers every week that culminated in the success of the Sharknado movies (1 to 6) series that concluded in 2018.

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Image courtesy TNT

Close competitors in the with superb science fiction content in the twenty-first century were the Turner Network Television (TNT) Network and its fabulous Falling Skies series with five seasons broadcast from 2011 to 2015.

TNT’s also broadcast their subsequently successful program called The Last Ship, a dystopian action science fiction drama series that ran for five seasons from 2014 to 2018.

Fringe Season 3 Group Photo
Image courtesy Warner Brothers TV

The Fox Network was a strong contributor with their original The X-Files series from 1993 to 2002, Sliders in 1998, Firefly in 2002, and the iconic fabled Fringe series produced at Warner Brothers Television that ran for five years and 100 episodes from 2008 to 2013. Fox and the fascinating time travel mystery series Alcatraz was not renewed after one season in 2011 despite strong ratings when the network decided to renew Fringe for a fifth season instead. Fox left the genre after NexT rogue AI series in 2020 which ran for only one season. Fox Network television was subsequently acquired by Disney which has its hands full with Marvel and Star Wars streaming series.

The Beginning of The End:

La Brea S3x06 The end of Levi
Image courtesy NBC

The decline of science fiction series like La Brea on network television channels can be traced back to its roots on December 03, 2009 when telecommunications giant Comcast announced its intent to acquire mass media company NBC Universal from General Electric corporation amid concerns at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of potential negative effects within the vertical entertainment industry since Comcast was also heavily involved in cable television and internet services in many United States media markets.

La Brea S3x06 Zyra Gorecki as Izzy
Image by Mark Taylor courtesy NBC

On March 19, 2013 General Electric divested itself from NBC giving Comcast sole ownership and a free hand to reduce employees located within duplicate internal divisions. Through this acquisition, Comcast gained ownership of the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), the film studio Universal Pictures, cable channels such as SYFY, Universal Parks & Resorts. Among other assets owned by NBC Universal was the USA Network and the E! Channel who  often ran large entertainment convention events at San Diego Comic-Con, WonderCon in San Francisco and Anaheim as well as at New York ComicCon at the Javits Center.
Image by Greg Gayne courtesy NBC

SYFY reigned supreme for many years via their continued strong interest in scripted science fiction series (many were acquired and developed with Canadian UK network partners) subsequent to beginnings of the merger mania in 2009.

These fabulous programs included Sanctuary, Warehouse 13, Eureka, Helix, Haven, Alphas, Lost Girl, Merlin, Defiance, Continuum, 12 Monkeys, Dark Matter, Killjoys and The Expanse. Their last major five year successes concluded with the supernatural science fiction thrillers Van Helsing, Wynonna Earp, and The Magicians.

The cracks in the formula became apparent when SYFY, out of nowhere, stunned viewers when it dumped The Expanse despite rave reviews and being the highest rated science fiction program in 2018.

Fortunately The Expanse was picked up by Amazon Studios, running on Amazon Prime for three more seasons on the streaming service with success and high praise.

La Brea S3x06 Eoin Macken as Gavin Harris
Image by Mark Taylor courtesy NBC

In 2018, the pressure on broadcast networks became evident when a fabulous science fiction series on the NBC’s USA Network named Colony became a casualty. The NBC and Comcast merger “Reductions In Force” (RIF) became known as “the night of the long knives” which impacted the majority of staffers, employees and publicists whose careers ended abruptly with what many believe were unanticipated layoffs. Another great NBC series, Manifest, was not renewed but was saved by streaming service Netflix.

La Brea S3x06 The Harris family looks for Eve
Image by Greg Gayne courtesy NBC

Great SYFY series such as Primeval New World, Ghost Wars, Incorporated, and Day of The Dead were subsequently not renewed after single seasons, likely a result of terminating publicist marketing employee teams in “the night of the long knives” that were needed for continued series success. Krypton, based on the DC Comics Superman franchise, made it to two years to 2019 but effectively ended cable channel SYFY’s dominance as undisputed king of science fiction series as an NBC network affiliate. SYFY original programming suffered as a result. Alien Nation and horror based Chucky remain as the only multi-season survivors.

The Man in the High Castle poster
Image courtesy Amazon MGM Studios

However, all these events actually jump started the streaming services movement which can be traced in large part to huge success in 2015 with a The Man In the High Castle broadcast on Amazon Prime Video for four seasons concluding in 2019.

This factor was repeated with the Warner Brothers Discovery merger last year that cancelled a completed season four production of Snowpiercer ready to be broadcast on TNT (the fourth season now will broadcast by AMC in 2025), and Westworld which had been renewed for a fifth season on HBO but will not be produced after the merger that produced the Warner Discovery conglomerate. With talk of further consolidation in the entertainment industry looming in the future, all this could mean the end of ABC, CBS, or NBC network channel science fiction series in the United States.

La Brea S3x06 Scott and Ty get ready
Image courtesy NBC

Since that time a few months ago, new science fiction series broadcast on major network television channels ABC, CBS and NBC are few and far between. After NBC chose not to renew a superb series named Debris with good ratings created by J.H. Wyman of Fringe after broadcasting only thirteen episodes in season one ending in late May 2021, the beloved La Brea time travel science fiction series on NBC may be the last major network television effort in that regard, at least for the time being.

The Future of Science Fiction Television is Streaming:

The Mandalorian Season 2 Poster
The Mandalorian Image courtesy Disney Plus

Streaming services accelerated during the transition subsequent to the entire Star Wars and Star Trek franchises moving to streaming platforms when Disney purchased Lucas Film.

CBS, broadcast owner of Star Trek franchise launched Paramount Plus, the renamed CBS All Access streaming service.

Star Wars series such as The Mandalorian, Obi Wan Kenobi, The Book of Bobba Fett, and Andor have been a success on Disney Plus. Star Trek series including Discovery, Picard, and Strange New Worlds have been huge successes on the Paramount Plus streaming service.

All of this begs the question:

Will ever be another science fiction series to be launched on a major network channel in the United States?

Or is the science fiction genre to only find life only on streaming services in the future? We shall see.

In the meantime, enjoy the wildest moments of La Brea courtesy of NBC included below.



The Road Home Part 2:

La Brea S3x06 Izzy is shocked
Image by Mark Taylor courtesy NBC

We here at Team WHR believed that there is much more to this superb La Brea story remaining to be told. Unfortunately, “The Road Home, Part 2” is the finale for this terrific time travel science fiction adventure series. Although we had been hoping for at least five full seasons of the La Brea series, as the old adage often applied to television programming saying goes; “Don’t Cry and Be Sorry it’s Over, Be Happy Because It Happened”, and we are because the series ended without cliffhangers!

On that note, we waited to post this analysis hoping that series creator David Appelbaum would be able to place La Brea with one of the major streaming services. As of this post, that does not seem to be happening at this time, but will remain hopeful that may occur in the future after we publish this feature article.

“The Road Home, Part 2” finale aired subsequent “The Road Home, Part 1” after a remaining character named Helena (Emily Wiseman) surfaced in the episode “Fire Storm” where we learned that Helena is Gavin Harris’s (Eoin Macken) half sister. We also learned that Time Travel was invented by their father who finished setting up the technology in 1965 using modern 2020’s computer technology to create jet aircraft that in the end help save our heroes.

La Brea S3x06 Harris family reunited
Image by Greg Gayne courtesy NBC

The good news of La Brea is that the series producers and creator ensured the series would conclude on a happy note creating an enjoyable ending for their fans. Eve (Natalie Zea) and her family of Gavin, Josh (Jack Martin), and Izzy (Zyra Gorecki), in fact all the main characters including Sam Velez (Jon Seda) and his daughter Riley (Veronica St. Clair), Scott Israni (Rohan Mirchananey), Veronica Castillo (Lily Santiago), Lucas Hayes (Josh McKenzie), Judah (Damien Fotiou), and even Petra (Asmara Feik) daughter of deceased villain Maya Schmidt (Claudia Ware), all safely make it back safely to 2021 either using the prototype Time Travel jet aircraft or utilized a wormhole portal to return home to their own time, most likely closing once and for all after everyone returned to 2021.

La Brea S3x06 Ty will sty in 10,000 BC
Image courtesy NBC

In the end, Ty Coleman (Chiké Okonkwo) decided to stay in 10,000 BC with his wife Paara (Tonantzin Carmelo) to live out their lives.  Levi Delgado (Nicholas Gonzales) sadly passed away sacrificing himself to save the others.

We never learned the fate of Silas (Mark Lee) and other characters in 10,000 BC. Likewise, Leyla (Edyll Ismail) daughter of Ruth (Chantelle Jamieson) never consummated her relationship with Izzy due to the shortened third season.

Stargate SG-1 Moebius part
Image courtesy Amazon MGM Studios

Lastly, the La Brea series finale reminded me of the famous two part Stargate SG-1 episode “Moebius part 2” where the main characters went back in time to fix the future. The end result was that Stargate SG-1 main characters lived as themselves in ancient Egypt as a method to ensure that the future characters never had to go back in time in the first place so they could fish at Jack’s pond that had no fish before Moebius but did have fish when the future characters ended the eighth season knowing they had changed the future.

La Brea S3x06 The Time Travel jet aircraft
Image courtesy NBC

Therefore, speaking of endings, there are a La Brea few items that were not addressed in the finale: Did Gavin destroy the trouble making Time Travel computer chip in the jet aircraft?
Did everyone get back to the correct time at the end (pun intended)? Did the original wormhole ever occur in the pilot episode if Gavin destroyed the time chip technology after returning to 2021?
Did the finale cleanly avoid all time paradoxes of having two of several main characters that existed at the same time (again pun intended)?

La Brea S3x06 The end of an era in 10,000 BC
Image courtesy NBC

In closing our analysis of La Brea, one of our favorite science fiction series by the way, we wonder If Gavin did not destroy the time chip after they all returned after the wormhole occurred in 2021, since the items above were never really addressed, what could happen in the future?

Although unlikely, It remains a long shot possibility that a La Brea series could return in the future, perhaps on a streaming service, so everyone can learn more about Gavin’s father in 1965, and the fate of humankind in the future.

We certainly hope that to be the case!

Click to visit and follow WormholeRiders News Agency on Twitter!We will be back in the near future with more of your favorite television series and movie analysis. In the meantime, please feel free to share this article with your friends, co-workers and or family and leave your comments!

We look forward to you visiting our dedicated review and analysis web site here in the future! Or as many of our readers and visitors often do, visit TeamWHR on Twitter, or visit me on Twitter by clicking the text links or images avatars in this news story. I and TeamWHR look forward to Seeing You on The Other Side!

Thank you. Click to visit and follow WormholeRiders (Kenn) on Twitter!

Best Regards,

Kenn of #TeamWHR


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