Sci Fi TV Power Rankings: Time to Make the Call on Revolution, Agents of SHIELD, Intelligence, and More

By | April 23, 2014


revolution-s2There are only a few weeks left in the current season and only two sci fi / fantasy shows have been cancelled (Being Human and Once Upon A Time in Wonderland) and none have been banished to Friday or Saturday burn-off runs (though The Tomorrow People‘s shift to Monday could effectively be that).  That leaves currently thirteen shows that have yet to receive word on their fate and announcements should start hitting in the next few weeks as the networks need to have all of their schedules tidied up by next month’s upfronts.  That is when they present next season’s slate of shows to the sponsors and typically all of the renewal / cancellation decisions are made prior to their presentations (you can see the dates at this link).  So now it’s time for me to make the final call on those shows that are still waiting before all the announcements start popping out.

For that reason, I am doing the Power Rankings a bit differently this time around.  I have them ordered in reverse, starting with those most likely to get cancelled.  And for each of those that have not received word on their fate, I’m making my final prediction on whether they will be renewed or cancelled.  At this point, the ratings for the next few weeks will not make that much difference except for some of the newer entries like Resurrection and Believe or if perhaps if a show like Agents of SHIELD were to go on a nosedive.  But the next few weeks won’t impact the overall averages for most shows and quite a number of them have already wrapped up.

So fans of the shows I give the thumbs down on should be ready to savage me in the comments section or on the Cancelled Sci Fi Twitter Site, but I call it as I see it based on the numbers I have been collecting all season and my observations of how the networks have acted in the past.  Note that I previously suggested that the ratings bar may have dropped this season and I have set where I believe it is at with the Target number in my Cancellation Watch tally.  That’s hard to gauge during the season, though, and it may have dropped even further which could benefit some of these shows.   That also gives me some wiggle-room, but I have set it based on the cancellation / renewal activity I have seen for all shows thus far in the season.

And one additional note about the shows on The CW:  Seeing as they are the fifth place broadcast network, their decisions don’t always follow the numbers.  That could be seen last year when they renewed Beauty and the Beast despite its low numbers as well as Nikita despite the fact that it hardly registered in the ratings.  Sometimes other factors drive their renewal decisions like a narrower demographic (young women particularly) or if the series plays well overseas.  So even though I have four of that network’s shows as certain to be cancelled, there’s a chance that one or two or all of them could still survive.  At this point, I’m thinking they replace those shows with some of the strong pilots they have in the pipeline (i.e., Flash, iZombie, Supernatural: Bloodlines, etc.), but it’s not impossible that some of this year’s ratings laggers could stick around.

So now on to the Power Rankings.  Note that these rankings only look at shows that have aired on the U.S. television networks in the 2013-14 season. And import shows like Syfy’s Lost Girl and Bitten or BBC America’s Orphan Black which are not as heavily impacted by their ratings in the States are not included here. The rankings order the shows by those least likely to get cancelled to those most likely (though this time around that is reversed). The number in parenthesis is the show’s prior rank. Any cancelled series or non-cancelled show in its final season will be addressed separately at the bottom. You can see the full schedule for the mid-season shows at this link.

Cancellation Alert statuses from least likely to be cancelled to most likely: Low, Moderate, Medium, Elevated, High

Likely to Get Cancelled:

star_crossed_cw_cancelled29 (27) Star-Crossed (CW) – This show seemed to be arriving essentially DOA since The CW scheduled it on Mondays which have been a disaster for that network of late. And it performed as poorly as expected.  Final Call: Cancelled
Cons: Poor Ratings
Cancellation Alert: High

28 (25) Intelligence (CBS) – This series deserves better than it got, but it won’t get that from CBS.  It’s that network’s second lowest rated scripted series and CBS is ceding Thursdays in Fall to the NFL, so they have less hours available on their schedule.  And unfortunately this show never developed much of a fan base, so its chances of getting saved by someone like Netflix or Amazon are slim.  Final Call: Cancelled
Pros: Good Debut Ratings
Cons: Poor Ratings, Ratings Decline in Season, Sci Fi Averse Network
Cancellation Alert: High

27 (29) Beauty and the Beast (CW) – The CW’s spin department tried to make this show’s move to Summer sound like the start of a new season.  But it is what it is: a burn-off run.  There’s a slight chance that they might decide to keep it as a Summer entry if the final six Season 2 eps pull decent numbers (by CW standards).  But I think that’s a longshot.  Final Call: Cancelled
Cons: Poor Ratings, Ratings Decline Year over Year
Cancellation Alert: High

26 (28) The Neighbors (ABC) – You might think that there is a slight chance for this show because of its Friday night timeslot with low ratings expectations and the fact that it has beat the odds before.  But I think the mothership is calling them back home.  Final Call: Cancelled
Pros: Low Ratings Expectations
Cons: Poor Ratings, Ratings Decline in Season, Ratings Decline Year over Year
Cancellation Alert: High

25 (26) The Tomorrow People (CW) – Could this one be this year’s Beauty and the Beast (renewed last year despite low ratings)?  It has performed better on Mondays than B&B and it has developed somewhat of a following as well as better buzz as the season progressed.  But I think that is all too little too late and The CW will go with what’s in its pipeline (Flash, iZombie, Supernatural: Tribes) rather than bring back this ratings lagger.  Final Call: Cancelled
Pros: Fifth Place Network Series
Cons: Ratings Decline in Season, Mediocre Ratings
Cancellation Alert: High

24 (22) Revolution (NBC) – Getting preempted for Law and Order: SVU repeats throughout April would seem to be this show’s death knell.  But it won’t go quietly as fans will almost certainly start up a raucous campaign to convince another network to pick it up or for Netflix or Amazon to save it.  Final Call: Cancelled
Pros: Relative Ratings, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Poor Ratings, Ratings Decline in Season, Ratings Decline Year over Year
Cancellation Alert: Elevated

23 (24) Dracula (NBC) – It’s an international production that comes cheaper to NBC and it performed better in the late Friday timeslot than Hannibal has, so it still has a ghost of a chance.  But I’m thinking NBC is going to pass on it.  Another network could still pick it up if its international audience is good, though.  Final Call: Cancelled
Pros: Good Debut Ratings
Cons: Poor Ratings, Ratings Decline in Season
Cancellation Alert: Elevated

22 (23) Believe (NBC) – Its numbers improved slightly this past Sunday, but not much.  Could the pedigree of J.J. Abrams and Alfonso Cuarón alone be enough to keep it alive?  Unlikely unless its numbers improve notably over the next few weeks.  Final Call: Cancelled
Pros: Decent Debut Ratings, All Star Production Team
Cons: Poor Ratings, Ratings Decline in Season
Cancellation Alert: Elevated

21 (19) The 100 (CBS) – Maybe this one becomes this year’s Beauty and the Beast?  I see that most other predictions on the internet have it returning, but that’s a stretch if you ask me.  It’s currently where The T0morrow People was when that show was kicked to Mondays .  True, the ratings for The CW have been down overall of late, but I can’t see that as a good enough justification to bring this one back when they have strong shows waiting in the wings.  It is The CW, though, so it’s harder to guess what they will do, and if its numbers rise in the coming weeks that will help its cause.  Still, I think it is a longshot for this one to return.  Final Call: Cancelled
Pros: Decent Debut Ratings, Relative Ratings, Fifth Place Network Series
Cons: Ratings Declines in Season
Cancellation Alert: Elevated

On the Bubble:

almost-human-fox-cancelled20 (21) Almost Human (FOX) – This one should come back based on the fact that it is FOX’s fourth highest rated scripted series based on the ratings averages.  But then the network seemed to be doing everything they could to hurt its chances with their poor scheduling, preemptions, and airing episodes out of order (shades of Firefly).  So do the net execs have it in for the show?  We’ve seen it happen before, but I’m saying they give it a chance: Final Call: Renewed
Pros: Good Early Start, Ratings Surges, Relative Ratings
Cons: Ratings Decline in Season, Poor Ratings, Poor Scheduling
Cancellation Alert: Medium

19 (20) Hannibal (NBC) – It’s numbers have been poor even for a Friday show (and it has performed worse than Dracula did in the same timeslot), but then it doesn’t cost as much as most other shows because of its international production arrangements.   It’s an inexpensive way to plug a problem spot on the schedule, so it still has a chance.  But I’m taking a pass on calling this one because there are too many intangibles involved.  Final Call: Pass
Pros: Recognized Franchise, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Poor Ratings, Ratings Decline in Season
Cancellation Alert: Moderate

Likely to Get Renewed:

18 (17) Resurrection (ABC) – Based on this show’s current numbers, it should get renewed.  However, that assumes that it has halted its ratings slide which it appears to have done based on its last few episodes.  If it starts slipping again, though, its chance fall with it.  Keep an eye on its numbers over the next few weeks to see if its status might change, but for now it looks good.  Final Call: Renewed (based on its current numbers)
Pros: Strong Debut Ratings, Relative Ratings
Cons: Ratings Decline in Season
Cancellation Alert: Low

agents-of-shield-cancelled17 (18) Agents of SHIELD (ABC) – Disney owns Marvel and ABC.  The Avengers is a major multi-media franchise from Marvel and Agents of SHIELD is part of that.  You do the math.  Disney will almost certainly insist that the series continues and they can right off any revenue shortfall against the absurd tally (that’s still growing) from the movies.  Expect a shake-up with the series when it returns next season (and it may be on a short leash), but you can pretty much bank on it being back.  Final Call: Renewed
Pros: Strong Early Ratings, Recognized Franchise, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Ratings Decline in Season, Ratings Fluctuations, High Production Costs
Cancellation Alert: Moderate

Renewed or Sure to Get Renewed:

16 (16) Helix (Syfy) – It got the second season renewal, but that was far from a sure thing.  The fact that it fits in with Syfy’s move back to more science fiction oriented scripted programming probably helped it, and its ratings average was about the same as what Haven had in the Fall before that one got renewed.  But I am thinking that Helix will have to build on its current numbers when it returns if it hopes to live beyond its second year.
Pros: Strong Early Buzz
Cons: Mediocre Ratings, Ratings Decline in Season
Status: Renewed for a 2nd Season

15 (15) From Dusk Till Dawn (El Rey) – It hasn’t made a dent in the cable ratings yet, but it’s on a new network that is more concerned with establishing its brand than waving Nielsen numbers around.   That helped it get its second season renewal pretty quickly, but then the pressure will probably be applied a bit harder when it returns for next year.
Pros: Low Ratings Expectations, New Network
Status: Renewed for a 2nd Season

14 (14) Once Upon A Time (ABC) – This show has slipped some in the last few weeks, but not too bad.  It’s a third season series and its relative ratings are good, so consider it a lock for a fourth season.  Final Call: Renewed
Pros: Relative Ratings, Third Season Series, Strong Social Network Presence, Ratings Improvement Late in Season
Cons: Ratings Decline Early in Season, Ratings Decline Year over Year
Cancellation Alert: Low

13 (13) The Witches of East End (Lifetime) – It’s numbers were okay for a basic cable series and good enough to get a second year nod. But it’s definitely no Walking Dead ratings juggernaut, or even Teen Wolf for that matter.
Pros: Renewed, Relative Ratings, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Ratings Decline in Season
Status: Renewed for a 2nd Season

12 (12) Sleepy Hollow (FOX) – A surprise hit early in the season, this one slipped notably in the ratings by the end of Fall. Its exit at mid-season didn’t deliver spectacular numbers either (though they weren’t terrible) so we will have to wait until next year to see if it can reclaim any sort of momentum.  It’s network is struggling in general with its scripted programming, so it may be facing an uphill climb upon its return next season.
Pros: Renewed, Strong Ratings Early, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Ratings Decline in Season
Status: Renewed for a 2nd Season

11 (11) Haven (Syfy) – Not only did this show get renewed, but it received twice its usual order of episodes for a season (26 instead of 13). Probably indicates that the series is low cost enough that Syfy would pony up the money for that many more episodes to make it more attractive to the syndication market. But then kudos to the fanbase for their strong online presence that brought attention to the show and likely helped it get renewed. Looks like the social networks could be in the process of helping to change the way that network execs gauge the success of a TV series.
Pros: Renewed, Low Production Costs, Renewed
Cons: Mediocre Ratings, Ratings Decline Year over Year
Status: Renewed for a 5th Season

10 (10) Grimm (NBC) – It has gone up and down all season, but never dropped enough to cause concern. It’s still doing well for a Friday series and its a third season show as well, thus its fourth year renewal came as no surprise.
Pros: Renewed, Relative Ratings, Third Season Series
Cons: Ratings Fluctuations
Status: Renewed for a 4th Season

person-of-interest-cancelled9 (9) Person of Interest (CBS) – The move to Tuesday at 10 PM EST hurt this show’s ratings in the 18-49 demographic, but it is still one of the most watched shows on the broadcast networks based on total viewership which holds more weight with older-skewing CBS. Plus the fact that it is a third season show helped it win a fourth season renewal.
Pros: Renewed, High Total Viewership, Third Season Series
Cons: Decline in Year over Year Ratings
Status: Renewed for a 4th Season

8 (8) The Originals (CW) – This spin-off series helped The CW retake Tuesdays (relatively speaking) and and is now set to coast into a second season.
Pros: Renewed, Relative Ratings, Fifth Place Network Series, Strong Social Network Presence
Status: Renewed for a 2nd Season

7 (7) Arrow (CW) – It’s numbers looked a bit shaky early in its second season, but it came on strong toward the end of Fall and has done decent since its mid-season return (until the CW caught rerun fever). With a Flash spin-off potentially on the way, Arrow could anchor a whole line of DC comics related shows on The CW at some point.
Pros: Renewed, Relative Ratings, Fifth Place Network Series, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Ratings Fluctuations
Status: Renewed for a 3rd Season

6 (6) Supernatural (CW) – This one may be in its ninth season, but it keeps performing well for the fifth place network. It’s tenth season is now a lock and a spin-off could be coming as well.
Pros: Renewed, Relative Ratings, Fifth Place Network Series, Strong Social Network Presence
Status: Renewed for a 10th Season

5 (5) Vampire Diaries (CW) – Still the top rated series on the fifth place broadcast network, and it has beaten out some of its timeslot competition from the Big Four networks several times this year.
Pros: Renewed, Relative Ratings, Fifth Place Network Series, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Declining Year over Year Ratings
Status: Renewed for a 6th Season

4 (4) Teen Wolf (MTV) – This show already grew its numbers last Summer and now it has continued to hold strong against regular season competition as it ended its third year with some of its best numbers yet. Season 4 is just around the corner as it is set to begin in June.
Pros: Renewed, Ratings Increase Year over Year, Relative Ratings
Status: Renewed for a 4th Season

3 (3) American Horror Story (FX) – In its third season, this one has delivered its highest ratings numbers yet and has regularly scored well in the social media ranking of TV shows. It has become a huge hit for its network and has outpaced quite a number of broadcast network shows as well.
Pros: Renewed, Strong Ratings, Strong Social Network Presence
Status: Renewed for a Fourth Season

2 (2) Game of Thrones (HBO) – This series has grown its ratings and prestige each season and now rivals the numbers of many broadcast network shows. Should stick around for the long haul.
Pros: Strong Ratings
Status: Renewed Though Its Sixth Season

1 (1) The Walking Dead (AMC) – This show continues to top all scripted programming on the broadcast and cable networks and even has beat out some high profile sports coverage like the Olympics. Consider it a lock for AMC for several more years (with a spin-off on the way).
Pros: Renewed, Strong Ratings, Strong Social Network Presence
Status: Renewed for a Fifth Season

Cancelled:

Once Upon A Time in Wonderland (ABC) – This one’s cancellation seemed almost a sure thing from the point that ABC scheduled it in the Thursday 8 PM EST hour which has been a deathslot for them for several years.  On a positive note, it will likely get tacked on to Once Upon A Time‘s eventual syndication run and its characters could crossover in upcoming seasons of the parent show.
Cons: Poor Ratings, Ratings Decline in Season
Status: Cancelled

Being Human (Syfy) – The cancellation for this one came as a surprise especially considering the fact that Syfy’s Haven was renewed after averaging lower numbers. Series star Sam Witwer claimed that the decision to end the show was for artistic reasons and this was always planned as the final season. But then when did television networks ever do anything for artistic reasons? Other factors were surely involved, but then it did produce more episodes that the BBC version that inspired it.
Pros: Relative Ratings, Low Production Costs
Cons: Cancelled, Mediocre Ratings
Status: Cancelled

Final Season:

Nikita (CW) – It got a 4th season renewal but not enough eps for a typical domestic syndication package. That’s probably because it plays better to the overseas markets and they just wanted to give it the chance to wrap up its storylines.

Warehouse 13 (Syfy) – This was once Syfy’s flagship series but now it seems to be limping out with its final season.  It was more a product of the “Syfy” era of the channel and with its departure the network is set to start delivering shows with a heavier science fiction bent.

3 thoughts on “Sci Fi TV Power Rankings: Time to Make the Call on Revolution, Agents of SHIELD, Intelligence, and More

  1. Stacey

    I agree with you on most of these but I really disagree on The 100, I think it’s going to pull a renewal. It was 5th in the demo this week on cw (ahead of the already renewed Reign) and it was 3rd in overall viewers (beating the already renewed Reign, The Originals, and The Vampire Diaries). It has good retention coming out of Arrow and it was a midseason premiere. Ratings are always lower in the Spring so there is less expectation on it.

    Reply
  2. Johnny Jay

    At this point, I’m thinking you may be right. It had looked like it was in a death spiral, but it has turned that around the last two weeks. If it can hold at that 0.6 level it had this week and last, then it’s chances are much better. If it does get renewed, though, I see a good chance that it will be as a mid-season entry.

    Reply
  3. Stacey

    Agreed, I think it will stay midseason with 13 eps again. Although I would kind of like to see how its numbers would do in the fall.

    Reply

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