Masters of Science Fiction too artistic for ABC | Reuters

Masters of Science Fiction too artistic for ABC | Reuters

LOS ANGELES Hollywood Reporter – This is what happens to an original series at ABC when its mercurial entertainment president Stephen McPherson doesnt like it: It gets put on hold for more than a year, trimmed from six episodes to four and then buried deep within the bowels of television Siberia.

Thats what they call it when you air Saturday nights at 10 in August. It simply wouldnt be possible for a broadcast network to more effectively guarantee that a series be viewed exclusively by close friends and family members of the production team, unless they cut the national signal and screened it instead on someones front porch.

But this, alas, is the fate that has befallen “Masters of Science Fiction,” and the shame of it is that from the looks of the first two hour-long installments, the network is appallingly firing a fatal bullet through an anthology project of genuine artistic vision. The problem is, it apparently doesnt track as nearly shallow enough for the suits whose job it is to prevent pretty much anything thats unique and imaginative from accidentally leaking out to the public.

But hey, as long as theres room in sweeps for such literary masterpieces as “National Bingo Night” and “Shaqs Big Challenge,” ABC should remain safely insulated from most programming that could somehow be construed as brainier than your average speed-dating mixer. Imagine the same guy whose network boasts such MENSA candidates as “The Bachelor” and “Wife Swap” referring to a show that dramatizes short stories by such legendary writers as Harlan Ellison and Robert A. Heinlein as “very uneven” and “a little bit problematic.” Thats how McPherson described “Masters” in justifying his slicing it down and burning it off. And by comparison, this would make “According to Jim” . . . what? A bellwether of consistency? A landmark comedic achievement?

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