Last year, Fox Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly lit the greenlight for a series about palace intrigue and the supernatural in Ancient Egypt, and it was called HIEROGLYPH! The series was created by Pacific Rim co-screenwriter Travis Beacham and it was cleared right off the top for a 13-episode season run since Fox, through Reilly, was in the mood to do away with pilots permanently. Now, paradoxically, Hieroglyph has been cancelled before it’s even aired one episode, or even filmmed more than its first entry, and the reason is the age old excuse that covers all contingencies: creative differences.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the writing team under Being Human executive producer Anna Fricke had begun to break scripts for the balance of the season, but those scripts apparently weren’t “meeting a certain level creatively.” There is some speculation though that the early cancellation of Hieroglyph has more to do with the out-going Reilly who resigned last month after running Fox Entertainment for seven years. He had envisioned Hieroglyph as a Game of Thrones-esque epic drama series that could have earned the network prestige points. The fact that it’s now been pulled before Reilly’s replacement has been named, and before even a second episode of the series had the chance to be filmmed, makes it look like the Powers That Be at Fox disagreed with Reilly’s assessment of Hieroglyph’s potential, and that was the reason the show’s been pulled.
Hieroglyph was to focus on a thief (played by Max Brown) who’s employed by the Pharoh to find a missing artifact that could bring down Egyptian civilization. The ensemble cast also included Reece Ritchie, Condola Rashad, John Rhys-Davies, Caroline Ford, Antony Bunsee and Kelsey Chow. Now, I guess, it will merely exist as a You Tube preview clip, which you can watch below:
Not for nothing, but wasn’t this kind of doomed to failure? Remember a couple of years ago, when ABC and NBC tried to duplicate the success of Mad Men by launching Pan Am and The Playboy Club respectively? Well, you can practically make a drinking game out of all the comparisons to Game of Thrones in that single one minute-and-a-half clip from Hieroglyph. Fox, sadly, has a history of gambling on huge scale projects that turn out to not deliver expected returns, the biggest example of which is Terra Nova. Something tells me that Hieroglyph was about to head down that same road.
Of course, a lot of people were expecting Sleepy Hollow to crash and burn and it was one of the few freshman hits from the last TV season. I guess now we’ll never know.