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1. Returns in July

The wait for the seventh season of HBO's Game of Thrones--currently one of the most-watched shows on television--has been long because of the extra time needed for production, but at least fans now have a target date for when it will return. GoT usually has its bow around April, but this year it will be on July 16th. The date was announced this week in a rather clunky Facebook live-stream with (apparently) dragon's breath melting a block of ice that eventually--after several glitches--revealed the debut date. A teaser was also released, but it does not show any scenes from the upcoming season.

The seventh season of Game of Thrones will consist of seven episodes, three short of the ten each of the prior seasons had. And the eighth season will be around the same episode count and will wrap up the story that began on television back in 2011

2. Has Its Captain

The upcoming Star Trek series has cast Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter, The OA) as the captain of the Discovery. Isaacs will not be the star of the series, though, as it will focus on the ship's Lt. Commander to be played by The Walking Dead's Sonequa Martin-Green. Production is under way for the show which has been delayed from a January start then from a May start. It is currently scheduled to debut in late Summer or early Fall. The premiere will air on CBS and then the series proper will be available only on that network's streaming service CBS All Access.

3. Has Been Renewed for a Fourth Season

Late last week, Disney announced that their animated spin-off series Star Wars: Rebels will be returning for a fourth season. That announcement comes as no surprise, even though their had been some concern among fans that the show would end after its third season because another Star Wars animated series is allegedly in the works. I figured that a fourth season renewal was pretty much a lock because that gets the show beyond the 65 episode threshold generally preferred for a syndication run of an animated series. And supposedly it is Disney XD’s Number 1 series in total viewers and “key demos”, though its linear viewing numbers have been down in its third year. Whether its fourth season will be its last remains to be seen, and the episode count has not been announced yet (expect between 13 and 22), though it has been scheduled for a Fall 2017 start.

4. No Time for Time Travel

This past Sunday, two new sci fi shows debuted--both time travel themed--though neither of them made much of an impression in the ratings. On ABC, Time After Time could only must a 0.7 rating based on the 18-49 demographic with 2.5 million total viewers. That is a near disastrous debut for a broadcast network show and it could get yanked from the schedule at any point as repeats of some of ABC’s more popular shows would probably pull better numbers. Expect this show, which was apparently rather poorly promoted, to be one-season-and-done and it could likely find itself cast to a Summer burn-off run.

Over on FOX, the time travel comedy Making History did not fair much better, pulling only a 0.9 score for its debut with 2.2 million total viewers. It was the lowest rated of the network’s comedies airing in the two hour Sunday Prime Time block, and it is certainly more expensive to produce than your average sitcom because of its historical settings. This one may get to air out its first season at these levels, but don’t expect a second season unless the show starts trending up over the coming weeks (an unlikely prospect).

5. Slips in the Ratings

This past Wednesday, Syfy's The Expanse slipped to near a series low rating of a 0.15 score based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic with 450k total viewers. That's a disappointing drop after two weeks of trending up and keeps the show on iffy ground since it is expensive to produce. Fans should definitely show their support on the social networks and by watching it online to help assure that it gets a third season. More on that at this link.

Also on that night, Syfy's The Magicians dropped to its lowest Season 2 numbers, posting a 0.24 rating with 630k total viewers. But that one is still the network's top-rated show and it is pretty much a lock for a third season. Over on FX, Legion edged up just a bit to a 0.38 rating with 795k total viewers and it still looks like it has a decent chance for a second season renewal. You can keep up with the ratings results and renewal/cancellation prospects of all your favorite sci fi and fantasy shows over at CancelledSciFi.com.

6. Three Season Premieres Next Week

Mid-Season continues to add to the number of sci fi and fantasy shows on the schedule and next week brings three more premieres. On Netflix, Iron Fist--the fourth in the Defenders series--has its bow on Friday. On The CW, The Originals returns for its fourth season Friday at 8 PM EST. And on AMC, Into the Badlands returns for its second season Sunday at 10 PM EST. You can see the full Mid-Season schedule here.

7. is Back in April

The long-awaited return of the Z-Movie-riffing series Mystery Science Theater 3000--funded by a Kickstarter campaign initiated by Joel Hodgson--is just over a month away. The eleventh season will comprise fourteen episodes and will debut on Netflix on April 14th. You can see the preliminary Spring schedule of sci fi and fantasy shows here.

8. Get Ready to Cast Your Vote

Amazon's next Pilot Season starts March 17th and they will release the pilots for several shows that could join their list of original series. Viewers will be given the chance to vote on which ones they like the most. Here are two entries that should interest sci fi and fantasy fans:

Oasis - Based on the cult-hit novel The Book of Strange New Things from Michel Faber, Oasis follows a chaplain who is sent into space to help establish a colony on a distant planet. What he ends up discovering not only puts his faith to the test, but life as we know it.

The Legend of Master Legend - A dark comedy about the life of Frank Lafount, a.k.a. Master Legend a homemade superhero whose mission is to protect the people of Las --Vegas from evil-doers. Master Legend juggles the demands of justice with the even more complicated demands of his real family, who don’t see him as a hero at all.

9. 'The Passage' Gets Pushed Back

In more pilot news, FOX has pushed the filming of their pilot The Passage--which comes from Ridley Scott's Scott Free Productions--to Summer due to the scope of the project. That means the network would be considering it for Mid-Season next year or later. Here is the description of the series:

Based on the fantasy book trilogy by Justin Cronin, the story begins as a character-driven government conspiracy thriller and morphs into a post-apocalyptic saga with vampires. The series spans over a century and focuses on a young girl named Amy who must save the human race.

You can see a full rundown of the Pilots currently under consideration by the networks at this link.

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