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The CW cancellations continue with 'Nancy Drew' sci-fi spinoff 'Tom Swift' axed after just 5 episodes

Three episodes of the Tian Richards-led project have yet to air.

By Josh Weiss
Tian Richards Tom Swift THE CW PRESS

The CW has officially canceled sci-fi series Tom Swift midway through its first season due to low viewership numbers, Deadline reports. Spun out of the network's Nancy Drew series, the project — which received a full series order last summer — has only aired five episodes to date, with three more scheduled to premiere through late July. Despite its short-lived tenure on the small screen, the show has made history with the first gay Black lead in the history of network television.

According to Deadline, CBS Studios hopes to find a new home for Tom Swift and keep the cast members under contract, though their options were set to expire this week (it's unclear at this time if actor renewals were reached). This cancelation is the latest casualty of The CW's looming, expected sale to Nexstar Media Group, a deal that should be moving forward over the next several weeks. A number of other titles — including Batwoman, Legends of Tomorrow, and Naomi — have also received the axe.

Tian Richards leads Tom Swift in the title role, playing a brilliant and affluent inventor, who finds himself thrust into a world of immense conspiracies and unexplained phenomena when his father suddenly goes missing. Wanting to uncover the truth, Tom embarks on a grand adventure that places him squarely in the sights of an Illuminati-esque cabal that will do anything to stop him. If he has any hope of staying alive, Mr. Swift must rely on his intellect, wit, and an endless supply of designer sneakers to save the day. It has a slick, James Bond Jr. kinda vibe, with equally great style and a bit more sci-fi around the edges.

"A big part of this show is seeing tech and STEM as something that isn't relegated to being nerdy or ostracized, but it is cool and innovative and it makes our world function, and to see other people occupy those spaces that you don't usually get to see," Richards recently explained to Entertainment Weekly. "Tech just doesn't look like Bill Gates and Elon Musk. It also looks like people like Tom Swift and, in real life, people like [architect] Iddris Sandu, who was a big inspiration. I love that young kids will get to see this, because hopefully they will become interested more in tech and in aerospace and inventing because they see someone who looks like them in this role."

Ashleigh Murray (Tom's best friend, Zenzi), Marquise Vilsón (Tom's bodyguard, Isaac), April Parker Jones (Tom's mother, Lorraine), Albert Mwangi (the dangerous Rowan), and LeVar Burton (the voice of Tom's A.I. companion, Barclay) round out the principal cast. Melinda Hsu Taylor (Nancy Drew), Noga Landau (Nancy Drew) and Cameron Johnson (Empire) co-created the series and serve as executive producers alongside Josh Schwartz (Dynasty), Stephanie Savage (Gossip Girl), and Lis Rowinski (Nancy Drew). The eponymous hero is based on the literary character hailing from Stratemeyer Syndicate, publisher of the Nancy DrewHardy Boys, and Bobbsey Twins book series.

The first five episodes of Tom Swift are currently available to stream via The CW website. Episode 6 premieres next Tuesday, July 5, at 9 p.m. EST

If you're looking for some sci-fi TV to check out in the meantime, Peacock has SYFY hit Resident Alien, as well as originals like Brave New Worldand Intergalacticstreaming now.