'Debris' on NBC is canceled after just one season

Debris on NBC has been canceled.  (Image credit: NBC)

"Debris" — NBC's latest original sci-fi offering, which we had high hopes for — has been canceled after just one season, Variety has reported. 

The finale of Debris' first season aired not too long ago on May 24. However, according to Variety, the show was averaging a mere 0.7 rating in adults 18-49 and just under 5 million viewers per episode. In other words, it wasn't performing all too well. 

The premise of the show is that three years ago, images were captured of a wrecked alien spacecraft moving through our solar system and, for the past six months, debris from that spacecraft started falling to Earth. 

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Two agents, one from the CIA — Bryan Beneventi (Jonathan Tucker) — and one from British Intelligence — Finola Jones (Riann Steele) — work together and race to report every piece of debris landing in the continental United States since each chunk of debris, no matter how large or small, creates super-weird events because of mysterious, extraterrestrial properties. 

In "A Message From Ground Control" (S01, E12) George Jones suggests the polarity be reversed. Sigh. (Image credit: NBC)

In addition to telling the story of recovering this strange extraterrestrial debris, the plot teased elements of massive international espionage (which, of course, there would be). The acquisition of alien technology would also change the balance of power on the planet, with debris pieces falling in different places around the world. 

In future seasons, fans hoped that we might learn more about the ship itself that the debris was broken off from. Perhaps one country might amass enough debris to be able to reconstruct some of it. What sort of ship was it? What caused it to break up? And of course, we'd hoped to see an escape pod of some kind with an alien lifeform inside (who wouldn't).

Granted, there was still some work to be done … and any sci-fi show that has writers who still incorporate the phrase "reverse the polarity" needs to hire new writers as a matter of urgency. (That phrase was officially inducted into the Cliché Hall of Fame 30 years ago when it was used in the musical "Return to the Forbidden Planet.")

But despite a weak season finale, budget constraints that kept principal photography entirely in British Colombia and a suspicious-looking beard in the episode "Asalah" (S01, E11), "Debris" was still finding its feet. 

Of course, it needed fine-tuning and needed to rework a few clichés, but unlike so many other shows in a similar position, when it did land, it would have done so with more original and imaginative potential than anything currently airing.

"Debris" now joins the sad fraternity of other quality sci-fi shows cut down before their time that also includes "Firefly," "Almost Human," "Helix," "Altered Carbon," "Caprica," "Dark Matter," "Project Blue Book," "Space Above and Beyond" and "Stargate Universe."

Previous episodes can be found on NBC's streaming service, Peacock

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Scott Snowden

When Scott's application to the NASA astronaut training program was turned down, he was naturally upset...as any 6-year-old boy would be. He chose instead to write as much as he possibly could about science, technology and space exploration. He graduated from The University of Coventry and received his training on Fleet Street in London. He still hopes to be the first journalist in space.