Brannon Braga's Threshold fell first (and rightly so -- it was one of the most wretched things to air on TV in some time) - after just six episodes. But there was hope for both the highly-entertaining Surface and Invasion. Both lasted full seasons and featured some dramatic story-telling. The latter series - Invasion - I believe actually eclipsed Lost in quality of storytelling by the end of the season.
I'm sad to report that Surface is dead in the water, and Invasion is also axed. All three "invasion" shows have now fallen, and so the new network schedules are shying away from any venture remotely resembling science fiction. Game shows like Deal or No Deal are obviously cheaper to produce. I've learned not to be too upset, however, about such losses. These things go in cycles, and I know that somewhere - waiting in the wings - there's a new Joss Whedon or Chris Carter or J.J. Abrams waiting to thrill audiences with a bold and daring vision.
At least some science fiction fans can satisfy themselves with the fact that niche shows like Battlestar Galactica (yawn!) and the various Stargates (double yawn!) shall return to the schedule next season. It is ironic, however...neither effort reels in the rating numbers that Invasion or Surface did on a regular basis. So I suppose life and death all depends on where a show gets aired. Numbers that pass muster on a smaller network just don't make it in the big leagues.
Personally, I'm enjoying the new Doctor Who more than either of those other Sci-Fi Channel franchises, and hope Sci-Fi will continue to air it for years to come. I think Billie Piper is amazing as Rose, and after watching just a handful of episodes, I feel she's truly become one of the Time Lord's most well-rounded and fascinating companions.
Yet the happiest news, as least far as I'm concerned, is that the very best show airing on television (although, alas, not genre...), has been renewed for a twenty-two episode commitment. Yep, I'm talking Veronica Mars. I know that some genre enthusiasts have a block against the show because they consider it a "teen" show or somehow the unholy offspring of the late, lamented Buffy the Vampire Slayer but it's really an entirely different animal than either of those misconceptions indicates.
Veronica Mars is actually a modern film-noir, one which wickedly updates the private detective genre to include the latest popular technologies, including wi-fi, cell phones, etc. It's also about class warfare (a fascinating topic given the divide today between the rich and the middle class), and the show is ably bolstered by one of TV's legitimately great performances; the winsome Bell in the title role. So I'm very enthusiastic the series is back (and the season two DVD is now up for pre-order at Amazon.com...).
I'm also happy to report that Lost, 24, Medium and Prison Break are all returning too. Each is entertaining in its own way (if only as a sustained adrenaline rush, in the case of 24 and Prison Break). But - yuck - Ghost Whisperer is also back. So Ghost Whisperer survives, and Invasion doesn't...just get your head around THAT one.
Regarding Lost, a cause celebre, I felt that it faltered badly in the last half of its second season, and because of creative stagnation may not last beyond the next season or two. Which means...the producers should cut out the flashbacks and get down to the business of telling the story of the island. Creatively, the series is essentially back to Square One with the deaths of the two most interesting new characters, so this whole sophomore sortie is something of a wash.
Also - and sadly - we also now move into a second year of "post-Star Trek" televised sci-fi, meaning no Klingons, Romulans or Vulcans on the tube (except in reruns). I miss Star Trek desperately, but this respite is good for one and only one reason: it gives the franchise the opportunity to ditch Rick Berman, Ron Moore and Brannon Braga, the three men who - more than anyone else - ran the franchise not just into the ground, but six feet under. J.J. Abrams is involved with Star Trek now (most likely for a movie...) and love him or hate him (and love Lost and Alias or hate it), he provides exactly what Star Trek needs: fresh blood. Hopefully, the starship Enterprise will eventually return to small screens, looking more gorgeous than ever. It does sadden me, however, that with the fortieth anniversary of the franchise coming in just a few short months, there's no new movie or TV show to celebrate it. I can't believe Paramount is so stupid to let that opportunity pass...