TV adaptations of movies have existed for a long time. People involuntarily curse these projects in the 21st century and hope they will be cancelled quickly, so the networks can learn from their mistakes. FOX certainly didn’t, but that is a topic for another time. Back in 1997, ABC tried its hands on a time travel crime drama that was somewhat of a hit in 1994, when it starred Jean-Claude Van Damme. TIMECOP seemed like a surefire thing for television: It’s a genre show with a bit of action here and there, it’s a crime procedural, it’s a show led by the male hero and his female sidekick – that’s what 1990s television was supposed to look like, as science fiction and fantasy became a hit in cable and syndication.
But the failure of TIMECOP was quickly evident. Airing against CBS’s efforts to get Bill Cosby to ratings highs again, against FOX’s primetime soap success MELROSE PLACE, and against WB’s 7TH HEAVEN, which started to turn into a name on television, TIMECOP didn’t have a chance to win over audiences. ABC’s reaction was to cancel it after a month and forget all about it. It’s almost surprising that the network went ahead in burning off the remaining four episodes on Saturdays during the summer months. But that was during a time when networks were barely thinking about original programming during the summer months, so if you have anything unaired in the archives, throw it out there.