1. Trending This Year: #ShadowHunters, #TeenWolf, #StrangerThings and More
Freeform's Shadowhunters, based on the YA Mortal Instruments books returns for its second season on January 2nd and a report just released has pegged it as the "most social" freshman TV show of 2106 (it's first season bowed earlier this year). That means that the show has demonstrated high engagement across the social platforms according to the ListenFirst Media research firm (which tracks Facebook, Instagram and Yahoo’s Tumblr; Nielsen has an exclusive arrangement for tracking Twitter activity). Shadowhunters performed decent in the linear ratings for its network in its first season, but the fact that it connects with a younger audience (Freeform's demo) gave it an extra boost on the social nets. Of course that's not quite as good as having high ratings numbers that sell more advertising time, but in the current fractured market, any additional measurement of audience engagement is definitely useful.
The other genre entries among the new shows in ListenFirst Media's Top 10 were Stranger Things (2), Lucifer (3), and The Shannara Chronicles (8). Among the returning series Top 10 were The Walking Dead (2), Teen Wolf (3), and Game of Thrones (9).
2. Will 'Timeless' Run Up Against 'The Wall'
Ratings Results of Interest: NBC's new series Timeless is on its Winter hiatus and this past Monday the network aired a preview episode of its new gameshow The Wall in the 10 PM EST timeslot. And The Wall posted a higher rating in the hour (a 1.6 score based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic) with a weaker lead-in (a special two-hour episode of America's Got Talent) than Timeless has seen since its debut. With that sci fi show already struggling in that high-profile hour, it would not be a surprise to see NBC shuffle it on the schedule when it resumes is season in 2017 and possibly give the Monday lead-out slot to the gameshow. Timeless currently does not have a return date set and it has been losing a fair chunk of its lead-in from The Voice throughout Fall, so it is possible that it could get shuffled to weaker timeslot that could effectively act as a burn-off run for the remainder of the show's first season.
3. Syfy's 'Aftermath' and TNT's 'The Librarians' are Looking Good for Renewal
Renewal and Cancellation Trending: Syfy's post-apocalyptic series Aftermath wrapped up its first season this week and it has posted decent linear viewing numbers for the network in its freshman year, though not spectacular. But it comes as part of an international partnership with the Space Channel up in Canada (similar to the arrangement the network has on Killjoys and Dark Matter) which makes it less expensive for Syfy. Plus, that network has typically been giving its shows two seasons to prove themselves, so I like Aftermath's chances of returning for another year.
TNT's The Librarians has been doing well in its third year, with ratings results about even with where it was at season last season. That counts as a win in a time when most shows are seeing double-digit losses, especially considering the fact that it has been facing stiff competition on Sunday nights. Plus, this one has a devoted fanbase that is very active on the social networks, so I consider the show pretty much a lock for a fourth season renewal.
Among the shows currently in danger of cancellation are Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Exorcist and Frequency and I look at those in more detail here.
4. 'Star Trek', 'The Walking Dead', 'The Twilight Zone' Among Next Week's Marathons
Preview for the Week Starting December 26th: There will not be much in the way of new programming on the broadcast nets and cable channels next week, but quite a number of holiday marathons will be airing for those looking to kill some time. BBC America will start running Star Trek - TOS just after 12 AM on Thursday and that will continue until until 10 AM Saturday. Then they will usher in the New Year with Star Trek Voyager starting at 4 AM on January 1st and going into next week.
Starting at 10 AM on Friday, AMC will run the first season of Humans (eight episodes), followed by the first season of Into the Badlands (six episodes), then launch straight into The Walking Dead which will go into next week. And of course Syfy will have its annual New Year's Twilight Zone marathon which kicks off with TZ: The Movie at 6 AM on Saturday December 31st. And for those looking for a bit of levity over the holidays, IFC will start off a Three Stooges marathon at 6 PM New Years eve!
You can keep up with the weekly listings for sci-fi and fantasy television at the Sci Fi TV Site here.
5. 'The Flash' is "Borrowing Problems From The Future"
The CW's The Flash is currently on its Winter break but is set to resume its third season on January 24th. Here's the trailer for the show's return that has Barry continuing to deal with the repercussions of his travels in time.
You can see the full Mid-Season schedule of Sci Fi & Fantasy shows here.
6. 'Mr. Robot' Creator to Revive a Famous Movie Robot
Sci Fi TV Development: Sam Esmail is currently busy working on USA's Emmy nominated Mr. Robot, but he has another project in the works for down the road. He is adapting the classic 1927 film Metropolis to a television mini-series. It is not clear at this point if that would be a close-ended "event series" or if it is intended to continue for multiple seasons. But it will likely be 2018 before we see much movement on it because Esmail has his hands full with his current show.
7. 'Robotech' Returns in the Pages of Comics
Sci Fi TV News of Note: Robotech had its bow in afternoon syndication in the mid-80's and helped start up the Anime craze that would arise in the States toward the end of that decade. But the show has been mostly dormant since its initial 65-episode run despite multiple attempts to launch a sequel series over the years. It has lived on in comics, though, and a new series is on the way from Titan Comics with Brian Wood (Briggs Land, DMZ) set as the writer. That will bow in 2017 and the full details on the series will be released in the coming months.
And speaking of comics, Orphan Black will be jumping to that medium with a six issue mini-series from IDW that will take place in an alternate timeline that will explore what would have happened if the clone Beth had not committed suicide. The final season of that show is currently scheduled to kick off in Spring of 2017.