1. 'Z Nation' Lives On To A Fourth Season On Syfy
Renewal Announcement: Coming as no surprise, Syfy announced last week that their zombie-pocalypse show Z Nation will be returning for a fourth season. This show remains one of the cable channel’s top-rated entries, and even though it is nowhere near the juggernaut numbers that the other zombie show is currently pulling, even taking in account TWD’s recent down-slide, it continues to perform well for its network.
The fourth season for the show will be 13 episodes long (this season and last had 15) and will debut next Fall. #ZNation is currently wrapping up its third year with its finale set for December 16th. I also expect Aftermath to get the renewal nod from Syfy as it is been pulling numbers similar to Van Helsing, which has already been picked up for a second season. Channel Zero looks likely to get a third season renewal — it already has its second season scheduled for an early 2017 bow — because it has performed quite well for Syfy as well. Keep up with all the sci-fi TV renewal and cancellation news at CancelledSciFi.com.
2. The CW’s Superhero Crossover Is A Hit
Ratings Results of Interest: The CW aired its four-part crossover “Heroes vs. Aliens” last week, which — similar to comic book crossovers — carried one story across four different series. The epic tale of the alien Dominators trying to conquer Earth started with Supergirl on Monday, carried into The Flash on Tuesday, Arrow on Wednesday, and it wrapped up on Legends of Tomorrow on Thursday. This crossover — as with previous multi-series team-ups in the Arrowverse — delivered strong ratings for the fifth-place network. Supergirl, The Flash, and Arrow all posted season high ratings, and I expect to see a boost from Legends of Tomorrow as well. This will definitely convince The CW to do more crossovers, which is a good thing because they are typically well-liked by the fans and continue to give these shows a very similar feel to the comics that inspired them.
3. Is 'Westworld' On Track To Become The Next 'Game Of Thrones' For HBO?
Ratings Trending: Way back in 2011 when Game of Thrones had its debut on HBO, it pulled decent ratings for a cable show at that time (but not spectacular, especially considering the cost of the series). But over its 10-episode first season, it followed a trend that shows rarely see these days: its ratings increased with its finale, pulling a higher score than its premiere. The viewership for Game of Thrones has continued to increase since then, with this past season having the show at record highs (you can see that show's six year trend here).
As it would turn out, HBO's most recent major foray in genre programming, Westworld, started out its first season this Fall with decent ratings, but nothing to get too excited about. It then started to trend up with its third episode, followed by a drop in its numbers that just so happened to coincide with the Season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead (which it aired directly against). After that, though, Westworld started trending again, and this past week it posted a series-high rating based on the overnights (its delayed viewing has followed the same trend).
I expect the finale to pull even better numbers, and if the show stays on the Game of Thrones track, it will continue to increase when it returns for its second season. That’s a good thing, because HBO has put quite a bit of money into the show (allegedly, the first season cost $100 million total), and they will want the viewership (along with subscriptions) to increase to justify the expense.
4. Kevin Smith Drops Out Of 'Buckaroo Banzai' TV Series
Sci-Fi TV Development News: A television series based on the '80s cult classic The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension is in the works, and Kevin Smith was originally onboard to helm the series. However, disputes over the rights of the property between the original creators and the studio have led Smith to bow out of the project, claiming that "[he doesn't] want to make anything unless [the original creators] are involved." The series is still going forward at this point, though, without Smith's involvement.
Anne Rice has retained the theatrical rights to her Vampire Chronicles books and she now plans on taking the story to the small screen. Rice has said that “television is where the vampires belong” and she is working with her son, Christopher, to develop a series based on the books. No network is currently attached, but certainly there will be plenty of interest. The series was previously adapted to the big screen in the 1994 Tom Cruise-staring Interview with the Vampire as well as a Cruise-less sequel that followed in 2002.
5. 'The Walking Dead' And Several Other Shows Head Into Their Mid-Season Finales Next Week
Preview for the Week Starting December 5th: We are headed towards the Winter break when many shows will be going on hiatus (for a few weeks to several months). Among the shows that will have their mid-season finales next week are The Walking Dead (AMC), Star Wars Rebels (DXD), The CW Superhero shows (Supergirl actually wrapped up this past Monday), Frequency (CW), Son of Zorn (FOX), and The Last Man on Earth (FOX).
The shows wrapping up their current season next week include Ash vs. Evil Dead (Starz, renewed for third season), Van Helsing (Syfy, renewed for a second season), and Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (BBC America, renewed for a second season).
You can keep up with the weekly listings for sci-fi and fantasy television at the Sci Fi TV Site here.
6. 'The Magicians' Season 2 Trailer: 'This Is No Fantasy'
The Magicians has its Season 2 debut on Syfy on January 25th and it looks like it will be a wild one based on the most recent trailer. You can see the preliminary mid-season schedule for sci-fi and fantasy shows here.
7. More Crew-Members Are Coming Aboard 'Star Trek: Discovery'
Sci-Fi TV News of Note: Last week, we learned that Michelle Yeoh will be joining the cast of the upcoming Star Trek series as a starship captain (though not the Discovery), and since then there have been two more casting announcements. Doug Jones (The Strain) will be coming aboard to play “Lt. Saru, a Starfleet Science Officer and a new alien species to the Star Trek universe.” Anthony Rapp will be joining the cast as “Lt. Stamets, an astromycologist, fungus expert, and Starfleet Science Officer aboard the Starship Discovery.” The series has still not cast its lead yet, so stay tuned for that announcement.
- Bryan Fuller’s Departure From 'Star Trek Discovery' Is Likely A Case Of The Visionary Vs. The Corporate Franchise
The Season 2 premiere date for Syfy’s space saga The Expanse (based on the series of novels written by James S.A. Corey) has been moved up by one week to February 1st. Fans of that show will be happy to know that it is arriving one week sooner than expected.
ABC seems to be really excited about its upcoming Inhumans series and has already set the premiere dates for the show. The first two episodes will get an early bow in IMAX theaters around the Labor Day weekend and will run there for two weeks. Then the show will debut on ABC on September 26th (possible taking over the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. timeslot, which still makes me wonder about the fate of that show). Inhumans currently has eight episodes planned for its first season.
Netflix has added offline viewing to all of its streaming plans so that you can watch Stranger Things and other shows and movies the service offers even when you are without internet connection. Not all of Netflix’s selections will work with this feature, but sci-fi and fantasy shows like Black Mirror, The Flash, Penny Dreadful, Limitless, Z Nation, and Sense8 are included.
What other sci-fi news have you heard recently?