7. The Starlost (1973)
Devised by Harlan Ellison in the '70s, this show didn’t have a bad original premise, and hell, with Ellison behind it, it should have been good. Set aboard a huge colony spaceship called The Ark, which had suffered some sort of cataclysm years before, the show featured the descendants of the original crew and colonists, who didn’t even know that they were aboard a ship. Gradually they discovered more about their artificial world and the different communities within it. Unfortunately the series experienced a number of production difficulties, management compromises, technology failures, and budget cuts that effectively killed it before it even aired. The cast made a valiant effort with the material they had, but nothing could save this show.
From a possibly great show, with names such as Ben Bova and Douglas Trumbull involved, The Starlost was turned into a cheap, dumbed-down, by-the-numbers show by TV executives. Harlan Ellison won a Writers Guild of America award for the original pilot script; unfortunately the original pilot script was never filmed as it was written, and Ellison is still, to this day, bitter about what became of the show. Ben Bova has also been very vocal about how disgruntled he was with his time on the show, even going so far as to publish a novel depicting a scientist taken on as a science adviser for a terrible science fiction series, which drew on his memories of working on The Starlost.