Set to premiere early next year, Fox has already pulled the plug on the Egyptian fantasy series "Hieroglyph" well in advance of the first episode even airing.
The series came from the mind of "Pacific Rim" writer Travis Beacham and showrunner Anna Fricke, who previously worked as an executive producer on "Being Human." "Hieroglyph" was to follow the adventures of a notorious thief who is plucked from prison to serve the Pharaoh, the supreme ruler of Egypt. As the show progresses, the thief must learn to navigate seductive concubines, criminal underbellies, sorcerers and deadly palace intrigue as he races to prevent Egypt's downfall.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, "Hieroglyph" was something of a passion project for outgoing Fox Entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly. Reilly gave the series the greenlight and ordered 13 episodes of the show, bypassing the traditional pilot season method. He hoped for the show to become Fox's own fantasy epic in the same vein of HBO's smash hit "Game of Thrones," no doubt hoping for a similar amount of success. Reilly announced at the end of May he would be stepping down from the position after seven years, but a replacement for his position has not yet been announced. You can check out a trailer for the now mummified show here.
Only one episode of "Hieroglyph" had been shot before Fox decided the scripts and stories for the rest of the season weren't up to snuff creatively. Filming for the remaining 12 episodes of the season was expected to begin later this year.
With the show's cast being led by Max Brown, it's bizarre that Fox didn't attempt to salvage this project, considering its hefty budget and high production values. Though no exact number for the show's budget exists, The Hollywood Reporter states "Hieroglyph's" budget as "pricey."
Considering how rare it is for a network to kill a green-lit project before it even airs, "Hieroglyph" must have had some serious problems. When it does happen, as in the case of cancelled Fox sitcom "Us and Them," the show is usually a relatively inexpensive sitcom, not a sweeping fantasy epic. It isn't unheard of, however. In 2010 NBC shot and then canceled the sci-fi drama "Day One." Then again, this is Fox, which is notorious for canceling the short-lived but beloved Joss Whedon sci-fi series "Firefly." The network might not need a real reason to cancel a good show, but unlike "Firefly," "Hieroglyph" won't ever see the light of day.