Looking Out For The Sentinel

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News Media Commentary
Title: Looking Out For The Sentinel
Commentator: James Van Hise
Date(s): Jan/Feb 1999
Venue: Cinescape
Fandom: The Sentinel
External Links: Looking Out For The Sentinel; archive link
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Looking Out For The Sentinel is an article about The Sentinel and the successful fan campaign to save the show, following its original cancellation after season three.

But an even more dramatic development came a day after the cliffhanger aired. It turned out that Sandburg wasn't the only one in mortal danger. His series was dead, too. UPN announced that it wasn't going to renew the series for another season.

This came as an abrupt surprise not only to the show's loyal viewers, but also to its co-creator and executive producer, Danny Bilson.

"We thought we were coming back," Bilson says, "We had no sense whatsoever that we would get canceled. None, except that the network was acting kind of weird all year. They didn't pay much attention to us. But the numbers were strong so I thought, "How could they cancel it? And they were letting us make this cliffhanger. So it was kind of shocking."

Shock - and outrage - motivated Sentinel fans to organize and protest their favorite show's abrupt demise. The hastily formed Support Our Sentinel (S.O.S.) committee launched a Web site (world.std.com/~sentinel) to encourage people to write UPN and demand that Ellison be given a chance to save his partner's life.

Six weeks after UPN's initial announcement, The Sentinel won its reprieve: The network ordered eight new episodes, which it will begin airing on Monday, Feb. 8. On the surface, it looked like a clear-cut victory for the fans.

"There were some press releases from UPN that said it was coming back because so many fans demanded it, and (UPN executive) Tom Nunan was quoted as saying he wished that some of us could get a hold of Nielson boxes," says Meredith Lynne, one of the key leaders of the Sentinel fan movement. "So we were very impressed with ourselves for a while there."