Sci Fi TV Power Rankings: Final Rankings for the 2013-14 Season

By | May 20, 2014


the-walking-dead-season4The 2013-14 season is pretty much in the books now (just a few stragglers wrapping up their episodes), so it’s time to put together the final Power Rankings for the year.  These will be a little bit different than the previous sets of rankings because these look only at the renewed shows and where they stand going into the upcoming season.  So for example, The Walking Dead is still on top because it is the highest rated scripted show on all of television (by a significant margin) but Agents of SHIELD is considerably further down the list because it fell short of expectations and likely goes into next year on a unsure ground.  I have already addressed the cancelled shows elsewhere, and the upcoming new shows won’t show up in the Power Rankings until they have aired at least two episodes.  I will have some predictions for them, though, as it gets closer to the start of the Fall season.

In my mind, there is a very big difference between the top three on this list (The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, American Horror Story) and everything else as these represent the new charge which has the cable channels willing to take risks leaving the old school networks falling further and further behind.  I even consider Teen Wolf a very strong entry despite its relatively lower ratings because it has found a solid niche (and regularly registered high in the social networks).  And regular readers will likely notice that The CW shows have slipped further down which is largely a factor of the the late season ratings slump that hit them pretty hard.  And as for NBC’s Hannibal and The CW’s Beauty and the Beast, I have them in their own separate category because the usual means of gauging a show’s relative standings just don’t seem to apply to those two.

For the Summer season, I do not plan on running a regular Power Rankings column because of the way shows are dispersed loosely across the schedule over the next three months, but I may put together a special edition sometime around the beginning of July to cover the ones that have bowed up to that point.  Then I will revisit the regular season ranking just before the beginning of Fall to address any issues that occur between now and then (schedule changes, creative talent departures, etc.).  But for now, these are the rankings as of the season end and feel free to rip them up in the comments section below.  (The number is parenthesis is where the show ranked on the previous list.)

1 (1) The Walking Dead (AMC) – There seems to be no stopping this show as it hit ratings highs yet again in its fourth season.  And even if it were to slump in its fifth year, it could still slip a couple of points and still be at the same level as the highest rated shows on the broadcast nets and cable.  TWD even beat high profile sporting events pretty regularly based on the ratings in the 18-49 demo.  This show will likely remain at the top of this list for several more seasons.
Pros: Strong Ratings, Ratings Increase Year over Year, Strong Social Network Presence
Status: Renewed for a Fifth Season

game-of-thrones-dragons2 (2) Game of Thrones (HBO) – While it’s not quite at The Walking Dead levels, this series set new highs in its fourth season and also regularly beat out most programming on the broadcast networks.  It also looks to be poised for an extended stay in the upper rungs of this list for some time.
Pros: Strong Ratings, Ratings Increase Year over Year, Strong Social Network Presence
Status: Renewed for a Fifth and Sixth Season

3 (3) American Horror Story (FX) – Could the ratings gains this one made in its third season suggest it could eventually approach TWD or GoT levels?  I don’t think so just yet, but it is performing quite well for FX and looks to be secure going into its fourth season.
Pros: Strong Ratings, Ratings Increase Year over Year, Strong Social Network Presence
Status: Renewed for a Fourth Season

4 (4) Teen Wolf (MTV) – This one is not at the ratings levels of the shows above, but it is performing very well for MTV and improves its audience each year.  It also regularly appeared in the Top 10 of the Nielsen Twitter Rankings which none of the broadcast net genre shows could boast.
Pros: Ratings Increase Year over Year, Relative Ratings, Strong Social Network Presence
Status: Renewed for a 4th Season

5 (9) Person of Interest (CBS) – The ratings in the 18-49 demographic have dropped for this show, but it is still one of the most watched on the broadcast networks based on total viewership which holds more weight with older-skewing CBS. It gets to stay in its Tuesday 10 PM EST timeslot for next season so it should have a comfortable ride into a fifth season.
Pros: High Total Viewership, Top 25 Based on Viewership
Cons: Ratings Decline Year over Year
Status: Renewed for a 4th Season

6 (14) Once Upon A Time (ABC) – This show fluctuated a fair amount in the ratings throughout the year, but it came on strong during the second half of its third season despite an extended hiatus.  ABC may be looking at an endgame for the series, but I’m guessing that won’t occur until at least its fifth season, short of a ratings collapse.
Pros: Top 25 Based on Ratings, Relative Ratings, Ratings Improvement Late in Season
Cons: Ratings Decline Early in Season, Ratings Decline Year over Year
Status: Renewed for a 4th Season

7 (10) Grimm (NBC) – It went up and down all season and ended on a bit of a down note. But it’s still doing well for a Friday series and I see NBC continuing to use it to anchor that night for at least a couple more years.
Pros: Relative Ratings
Cons: Ratings Decline Year over Year, Ratings Decline in Season
Status: Renewed for a 4th Season

8 (6) Supernatural (CW) – While this one suffered from the ratings slump that hit The CW, it performed most consistently and did not see the lows of several of that network’s other top tier shows.  It’s not impossible that the network could announce this show’s tenth season as its last (like they did with Smallville), especially if they can find a spin-off they are happy with (I thought Bloodlines showed promise).  But it has been a consistently solid entry on the schedule, so they may try to milk it a few more seasons.
Pros: Relative Ratings, Fifth Place Network Series, Consistent Performer
Cons: Ratings Decline in Season
Status: Renewed for a 10th Season

9 (7) Arrow (CW) – Its numbers looked shaky at several points in the season, but it avoided that late season plunge that hurt both Vampire Diaries and The Originals. And now it is in that third season sweet spot, so it should likely cruise into a fourth year and possibly produce another spin-off or two.
Pros: Relative Ratings, Fifth Place Network Series, Third Season Series
Cons: Ratings Decline Year over Year, Ratings Decline in Season
Status: Renewed for a 3rd Season

haven-syfy-cancelled10 (11) Haven (Syfy) – It’s numbers were never great during its fourth season, but Syfy renewed it anyway and gave it twice its usual order of episodes (26 instead of 13). Its fifth season will air in two parts which will keep the show running into 2015.  But that may be it or it may get a shortened sixth season to wrap up its storylines.
Pros: Low Production Costs, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Mediocre Ratings, Ratings Decline Year over Year
Status: Renewed for a 5th Season

11 (5) Vampire Diaries (CW) – Once The CW’s flagship series, this one limped out of the season as the network’s ratings slump hit it hard.  It’s not impossible that the network could look at wrapping this one up within the next couple of years if it ratings remain low.  But even if the slump continues I don’t think it will have to worry about cancellation next season.
Pros: Relative Ratings, Fifth Place Network Series, Strong Social Network Presence
Cons: Ratings Decline Year over Year, Ratings Decline in Season
Status: Renewed for a 6th Season

12 (12) Sleepy Hollow (FOX) – This show started the year strong (becoming a surprise early hit) but dropped notably by the end of its season.  But all of FOX’s shows were slipping by then, so it’s hard to determine if that is a symptom of the show or the network in general.
Pros: Strong Ratings Early, Top 25 Based on Ratings, Relative Ratings
Cons: Ratings Decline in Season
Status: Renewed for a 2nd Season

13 (18) Resurrection (ABC) – It’s kind of hard to gauge this one because its numbers started strong then dropped significantly, but actually it remained pretty much even if you look at the relative ratings.  Plus it only had eight episodes in its first season, so is that a good enough sampling?  If it remains at about the same ratings levels next season, it should be okay, but if it slips it could find itself in trouble early.
Pros: Strong Debut Ratings, Top 25 Based on Ratings, Relative Ratings
Cons: Ratings Decline in Season
Status: Renewed for a 2nd Season

14 (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.  Should be considered a decent enough performer for its network, though.
Pros: Relative Ratings
Cons: 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 about establishing its brand than waving Nielsen numbers around.   That helped it get its second season renewal pretty quickly, but will the pressure be applied a bit harder when it returns for its sophomore year?
Pros: Low Ratings Expectations, New Network
Status: Renewed for a 2nd Season

agents-of-shield-cancelled16 (17) Agents of SHIELD (ABC) – This show finally stabilized toward the end of its season, but that was around the 2.0 level based on the overnights in the 18-49 demo.  Is that enough for this high cost entry?  It’s part of a recognized franchise owned by ABC’s parent company Disney, but I expect the show to go through some retooling and possibly be on a very short leash going into its second year.
Pros: Strong Early Ratings, Recognized Franchise, Top 25 Based on Ratings
Cons: Ratings Decline in Season, Ratings Fluctuations, High Production Costs
Status: Renewed for a 2nd Season

17 (8) The Originals (CW) – Not only did this one suffer from The CW’s late season ratings slump, it gets shifted to Mondays for its second year–a night that has been a disaster for its network of late.  I realize they are trying to use this one as a strong entry to regain a foothold on the night, but that could backfire quickly.  And unfortunately the networks often respond to that situation by cancelling a show rather than trying to reschedule it.
Pros: Relative Ratings, Fifth Place Network Series
Cons: Ratings Decline in Season, Scheduling for Next Season
Status: Renewed for a 2nd Season

18 (21) The 100 (CBS) – It got the renewal nod, but it has not been much of a ratings magnet in its first season.  If it can build up its following during its second year, though, it could have a decent chance of winning a third season renewal from the fifth place network.
Pros: Decent Debut Ratings, Relative Ratings, Fifth Place Network Series
Cons: Ratings Declines in Season
Status: Renewed for a 2nd Season

19 (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 it 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

Unrankable:

Maybe these next two should be at the top of the list because they seem to be bullet-proof?  Other factors than ratings came into play when deciding to bring them back, so I will just keep them in their own category for now.

Hannibal (NBC) – It appears that NBC has made a long-term deal with this show’s studio and its international production arrangement means that it comes to the network at a lower cost.  It sufficiently plugs up the difficult late Friday timeslot and the show has plenty of good buzz from the critics, so maybe it will coast through that seven year run that showrunner Bryan Fuller envisions.
Pros: Recognized Franchise, Strong Social Network Presence, Good Buzz from Critics
Cons: Poor Ratings, Ratings Decline in Season
Status: Renewed for a 2nd Season

Beauty and the Beast (CW) – Is its international audience really that good?  Is it the CBS/WB balance of shows theory that the TV by the Numbers guys have theorized.  Or do the execs at The CW just not give a damn and want to thumb their noses at the old-school model of renewing and cancelling television shows (if so, you have to give them props for that).  All I know is that fans of The Tomorrow People, Star-Crossed, The Secret Circle, Cult, and other cancelled CW shows would like to have words with those network executives.
Pros: Recognized Franchise?  Good International Audience?
Cons: Abysmal Ratings
Status: Renewed for a 3rd and 4th Season

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2 thoughts on “Sci Fi TV Power Rankings: Final Rankings for the 2013-14 Season

  1. Tammy

    You don’t think that the cyberbullying terroism of the BATB fans had something to do with the renewal. I heard death threats & other horrific threats were launched at journalists & the network. Why they would pick this dead show up is beyond me. TTP or Starcrossed were better choices.

    Reply
  2. Angellica.T.

    they really need to renew or sale The Secret Circle for more seasons they know damn well the cost is why it was axed not ratings which mean they need to give it back and put the damn money together

    Reply

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