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1. USA Renews for a Third Season

USA confirmed this week that sophomore series Colony will be returning for a third season. That show’s linear ratings have been down a bit in its second year, but I have been confident that it would get the renewal nod because it is still performing well for a cable series and it has been posting good delayed viewing gains (more important to the cable channels than the broadcast nets). It has also been the most-watched scripted cable show on Thursday nights based on total viewers throughout its first two years. Plus, Colony has a very loyal fanbase that has been active on the social nets lately lobbying USA to renew it with the hashtag campaign. The third season will be thirteen episodes and will likely air in early 2018.

2. Will Return for a Second Season

USA also announced that their paranormal series Falling Water will be returning for a second season. That show wrapped up its first year back in Fall and only averaged a 0.15 rating based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic, making it USA’s lowest rated series and definitely not a sure thing for renewal. But the network worked out an exclusive deal with Amazon for the VOD sales of the show which apparently helped it secure its second season.

This renewal is particularly of interest because it continues to show that the old school Nielsens have less influence on the survival cable programs. This suggests that shows like Falling Water can survive, even in the uber-competitive environment of Peak TV, if they have the right partnerships and/or financing in place (“stickiness” on the social networks helps as well).

3. 'A Series of Unfortunate Events' Extended Through a Third Season

Also announced this week, Netflix has given the greenlight to a third season of A Series of Unfortunate Events, based on the Lemony Snicket children’s books by Daniel Handler. The first season of that show started streaming in January and has been well received. A second season was confirmed last month and now Netflix has extended that to a third. The first season covered books one through four and now it looks like the next two seasons should finish out the complete run of thirteen books. Whether the streaming service decides to take the story beyond that remains to be seen.

4. Marvel's 'New Warriors' Series featuring Squirrel Girl Heading to Freeform

Freeform is adding the superhero comedy series New Warriors to its lineup, placing a straight-to-series order of ten episodes. Featured in the team will be the beloved Squirrel Girl, though the other team members have not been named yet. Deadline Hollywood gives the following description:

New Warriors is about six young people with powers living and working together. Not quite super, not yet heroes and with powers and abilities on the opposite end of the spectrum of The Avengers, the New Warriors want to make a difference in the world, even if the world isn’t ready. The series is about the entry into adulthood when you feel like you can do everything and nothing at once – except in this world, bad guys can be as terrifying as bad dates.

The series features Squirrel Girl (aka Doreen Green) as a totally empowering fangirl — tough, optimistic and a natural leader. Doreen is confident and has the powers of a squirrel: She’s acrobatic, can fight and talk to other squirrels. Her most important trait is that she has faith in people and teaches them to believe in themselves.

Squirrel Girl was originally created by Steve Ditko and Will Murray as a superhero parody back in the 90's, but she has since developed a cult following among Marvel readers.

5. Rainn Wilson Beams Aboard the New Series as Harry Mudd

CBS continues to cast the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery series and made an interesting announcement this week concerning a beloved character from TOS. Rainn Wilson (The Office, Super) will be appearing on the show as the intergalactic con-man Harry Mudd. Originally portrayed by character actor Roger C. Carmel, Mudd appeared in two episodes on the original series "Mudd's Women" and the fan-favorite "I, Mudd". The character aslo returned for one episode of the animated series, "Mudd's Passion", with Carmel voicing the character. Wilson's Mudd will likely be a recurring character with no word at this point on how many episodes he will appear in.

6. Season 7 Finale Hits a 5 Year Low

On Sunday, AMC's The Walking Dead improved to a 5.4 rating with 11.3 million total viewers to wrap up its seventh season, but that is actually a five-year low for a season finale performance from the series. The Walking Dexit has definitely taken its toll on the show as it went extremely dark during the first half of its season, turning off many viewers. The producers need to pay attention to that and make some course corrections before the show returns for its eighth season. It is still the highest rated scripted show on all of television, but if TWD keeps chasing away its audience, that could change within a year or two.

7. Doctor Who Season 10 Premiere and More From Next Week's Listings

This coming week will be a busy one for genre television with the debuts of several new and returning shows. On Saturday, Doctor Who returns to BBC America for its tenth season (the last with Peter Capaldi as the Doctor), and the spin-off from that series Class kicks off its first season that same night. On Friday, Mystery Science Theater 3000 returns for its revival season on Netflix. And on Sunday, The Leftovers returns for its third and final season on HBO. You can keep up with the full listings for sci fi and fantasy TV shows each week here.

8. Returns in May for a Binge Run

Syfy's well-regarded time travel series 12 Monkeys returns next month for its third season, and surprisingly the network is airing the entire ten episodes across three nights. The show will debut on Friday, May 19th and air four episodes back-to-back. Then it will air three more on Saturday and the final three on Sunday. This quasi-binge run may seem a bit odd, but NBCUniversal's Chris McCumber has said that "with its time-twisting themes and edge-of-your-seat storyline, 12 Monkeys is the perfect show to air this way”. This show has also been picked up for a fourth and final season. You can see the full Spring schedule of sci fi and fantasy shows here.

9. News Bites: Katee Sackhoff and Lance Henriksen Become Part of The Machine

Syfy had previously announced that work had begun on the pilot for the AI-themed The Machine which is based on the movie of the same name. This week they announced that genre veterans Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica, Bionic Woman), Lance Henriksen (Millennium, Aliens) will be joining the cast. Caity Lotz (Legends of Tomorrow), who appeared in the movie, is already set to return as one of the leads in that series.

Television is about to get purged as the popular movie franchise The Purge is headed to the small screen. The newly created Blumhouse TV studio is working on a ten episode series that will air on both USA and Syfy, likely in early 2018.

The cult-favorite animated series Invader Zim will be returning to television later this year or early in 2018. A ninety-minute TV movie is in the works to bring the character back, though there is no word on whether that could lead to a continuation of the series.

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