The TCAs (Television Critic Association press tour) are currently in progress so this week’s edition of this post will focus on the recent sci fi & fantasy television news coming from this year's tour.
1. The CW Renews #Arrow, #TheFlash, #Supernatural, and More, But No Word on #Frequency Yet
As usual, The CW was active with renewal announcements this time of year and handed out new seasons to all of its veteran sci fi / fantasy shows from Fall: Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, and Supernatural. Of course, all of those are the network’s top-rated shows, so the renewal announcements come as no surprise. Supernatural will be heading into a record-busting thirteenth season (more on that in an upcoming post), and Supergirl’s renewal gets that show into the third year syndication stretch which means that a fourth season renewal is likely just a rubberstamp away next year.
Not included in the renewal announcements was The CW’s freshman time travel series Frequency. That is currently one of the network’s lowest rated shows and its status has been looking iffy all season. That show wraps up its thirteen episode first season this month and it will then hit Netflix in February, so if it can find an audience there, it still has a slight chance of coming back for a second year. As for mid-season shows such as The 100, iZombie, and The Originals, The CW will decide their fate later in the season.
2. #Constantine Will Return as an Animated Series
Also among the announcements from the fifth place network, Matt Ryan will be returning to the role of John Constantine, but in animated form. The CW has placed an order for five ten-minute episodes of an animated Constantine series that will stream on their digital channel CW Seed. The network’s boss also indicated that he would like to see the character return to the live-action Arrow-verse shows (he appeared in a Season 4 episode of Arrow), but nothing is currently in the works. Fans can hope that if the animated series finds a good audience from digital viewing that Constantine will play a larger part in The CW’s superhero shows in the coming seasons.
3. Freeform Renews #Beyond for a Second Season
Freeform showed confidence in its newly launched series Beyond by announcing a second season renewal at the TCAs. That show bowed last week with decent linear viewing numbers for a cable series and the entire first season was made available on the network’s website and app for streaming. Freeform indicated that over seven million people have viewed the series digitally so far and also came up with a seven million number for three day delayed viewing, though that is apparently somewhat skewed (as detailed in the Variety article). In any case, the network seems happy enough with the viewership of the series–especially in their target demographic–to bring it back for a second year, which is not a huge surprise because it has been promoted heavily thus far. And fans of Shadowhunters can take this as good news because that series, which leads into Beyond on Mondays, has been performing better in the linear ratings and has been trending well on the social nets. It is in its second season and I currently consider a third year renewal a good bet.
4. More #XFiles Episodes are in the Works, and #WaywardPines Could Return for a Third Season
The X-Files revival from last season ended on a pretty big cliffhanger, and many fans have been wondering when that will be resolved. FOX indicated at the TCAs that they are making progress on a second revival season of the show as the network’s entertainment president David Madden commented that “a lot of conversations are going on” and that they “hope to be able to announce something shortly”. At this point, the 2017-18 season would be the soonest that anything would make it to the network's schedule.
As for Wayward Pines, that show wrapped up its second season last Summer and the network has been mum about it ever since. M. Night Shyamalan previously indicated that he wanted to do three seasons to complete the story arc he had in mind, and that third year is still a possibility at this point. But it won’t be happening this Summer according to Madden as he claimed that it “didn’t come together quickly enough”. Likely there were scheduling conflicts with Shyamalan’s other projects and Wayward Pines also did not perform as well in the ratings during the second season as it did in its first. But Madden officially said that the show is “not cancelled”, so fans can still hope for at least one more season from that one.
5. The Prospects are Not as Good For FOX Shows #ScreamQueens, #SleepyHollow and #TheExorcist
Among FOX’s lowest rated shows this season are Scream Queens, The Exorcist and newly returned Sleepy Hollow, and the network’s entertainment president David Madden was less positive when asked about these at the TCAs. For Scream Queens, he noted that it has performed better with multi-platform viewing and registered well with the younger audience. For Sleepy Hollow, he observed that “bringing a show out on Friday night is tough” (so why did they do it?) and said that he hopes the current season’s new storyline will reinvigorate the viewers. For The Exorcist, he pointed out the show’s delayed viewing and claimed they were having “conversations” about a second season. But all of that pretty much amounts to net-speak that suggests none of the three shows are on good standing at this point.
6. ABC Exec Talks the Fates of #AgentsOfSHIELD and #OnceUponATime
ABC did not participate in the TCAs this year (neither did CBS or NBC), but has been talking to the press a lot this week and the ABC Entertainment Group president Channing Dungey had some notable comments on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Once Upon A Time. Concerning the former series, he said that he hoped it could find some synergies with the upcoming Inhumans show and that the new series could have a “halo effect” that draws viewers over to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (which has been struggling in the ratings for several years). The Inhumans will debut in IMAX theaters before starting its eight-episode run on television in Fall and Dungey commented that “hopefully there’s a world for me where those shows exist side-by-side on our air and are two different pieces of music that exist together in the same landscape”. Of course, there is no guarantee the AoS will still be around in Fall once The Inhumans has it bow, but at least the network is considering the possibility.
As for Once Upon A Time, Dungey noted that the current season could be the show’s last. Apparently it will reach a certain point in its story arc at the end of its sixth year which would have it at a good place to wrap up. The show’s creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis have pitched ideas for a seventh season, but the network has not decided yet if it will keep it around. Once Upon A Time is currently at all-time ratings lows and I have been predicting for some time that this season or next could be its last. It still has synergies with parent company Disney as characters from their vault are currently worked into the storylines. But if the sixth season offers the right time to wrap up the show, the network might choose that direction instead of having it continue to limp along on the schedule. And even if it does go one more year, that will almost certainly be its last.
7. #AmericanHorrorStory Gets Renewed Through a 9th Season
FX already extended a seventh season renewal to its horror anthology series American Horror Story this past Fall, but at the TCAs the network announced that show will have two more season after that as well. AHS saw a resurgence in its viewership in its sixth season after experiencing a notable drop-off the prior year. As for the show’s upcoming seventh season, the theme will remain a mystery as with the sixth year, a strategy that appeared to work because it revived interest in the property this past Fall. The seventh cycle of the series will have its debut at the beginning of the 2017-18 season and regular cast members Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters are already confirmed to be returning.
8. #XMen Series Getting Closer to Pilot Order at FOX
In development news, FOX chairman Gary Newman indicated that the X-Men series in the works from Burn Notice creator Matt Nix is making good progress and nearing a pilot order. Following is the description of the show given by Deadline Hollywood:
The untitled series focuses on two ordinary parents who discover their children possess mutant powers. Forced to go on the run from a hostile government, the family joins up with an underground network of mutants and must fight to survive. The show appears particularly timely, dealing with the plight of minorities in society.
FX, which is owned by FOX, currently has the X-Men spin-off series Legion set to debut next month (February 8th).
9. Premieres and Returns
Among the scheduling announcements this week was premiere for Making History (FOX), the return for Once Upon A Time (ABC), and the premiere for Time After Time (ABC), all three of which happen to fall on March 5th. You can see the full schedule of sci fi & fantasy shows here.
10. First Trailer for ABC's #TimeAfterTime
As mentioned above, ABC's reboot of Time After Time, which has H.G. Wells chasing Jack the Ripper through time, debuts on March 5th at 9 PM EST. Here is the trailer.