As the new year begins, there are currently only five new sci fi / fantasy shows on the schedule for mid-season and one of those–FOX’s Wayward Pines–is hitting pretty late and really counts more as a “bridge” series (filling up the gap between the regular season and Summer). The CW has two shows that should hit the schedule at some point in the next few months: iZombie and The Messengers. And ABC has The Whispers waiting in the wings as well. NBC previously teased us with the Heroes revival–titled Heroes Reborn–but they just recently announced the premiere dates of their mid-season shows and that one was not included. So maybe it is getting pushed to the 2015-16 season. For those three mentioned that should bow at some point during mid-season, I am not including predictions for them here because the timeslot that they get will play an important factor in determining there chances for survival. For example, if The CW’s The Messengers gets slotted into the Monday 8 PM EST hour, then its prospects will look grim just like with the ill-fated Star-Crossed from last year. But if it were to get the plum, post-Flash hour on Tuesdays then its chances for success would seem much better. So for now, I am just focusing on the five that have already secured a timeslot over the next few months. The Cancellation Alert levels from least to most likely to get cancelled are Low, Moderate, Medium, Elevated, and High. Note that for predictions on new shows, I rarely go with the lowest or highest levels because it is usually too hard to make those assessments without actually having numbers to look at. And in this case I wasn’t tempted to break that rule with any of the five shows I am looking at here as I have in the past. Also note that three of these five–Agent Carter, Galavant, and Wayward Pines–are considered limited-run “event” series, but the networks always keep them open-ended in case ratings returns are favorable. So I am making the assumption that any and all of these could continue if they pull decent numbers. So on to the predictions and we will be getting some numbers on three of these shows pretty quickly with Galavant and Agent Carter premiering next week and 12 Monkeys on January 16th (you can see the full mid-season schedule at this link):
12 Monkeys (Syfy, Airs Fridays 9 PM EST, Debuts Janary 16th) – This adaptation of the Terry Gilliam feature film is the second entry in Syfy’s new direction to focus more on science fiction oriented scripted programming, so there is a lot of anticipation around it (though the first one–Ascension—didn’t do so well). It won’t be as expensive as their upcoming space opera entries like The Expanse and Killjoys, so they are probably not expecting huge ratings returns from it. If it can hold the line around Syfy’s typical 0.4/0.5 rating in the 18-49 demo based on the overnights, then it should be okay for that network.
Cancellation Alert: Moderate
Agent Carter (ABC, Airs Tuesdays 9 PM EST, Debuts January 6th) – This spin-off from the Captain America feature films seems to have piqued the interest of genre fans and developed some good early buzz. And while it initially seemed like a good idea to have a timeslot timeshare with Agents of SHIELD to have new episodes airing in place of repeats, I’m wondering if the ratings struggles for AoS will carry over to Agent Carter. I expect it to debut well because of the early anticipation, but whether it can hold onto its audience will determine if this one could return as either and ongoing or limited series next year.
Cancellation Alert: Medium
Galavant (ABC, Airs Sundays 8 PM EST, Debuts January 4th) – This fantasy musical comedy which will be timesharing with Once Upon A Time looks like great fun based on the promos. The episodes are thirty minutes each and they will be doubling up for its four week run, so maybe it can get in and out before the ratings attrition sets in. Its premiere will set the tone, if it does well with its bow then it has a chance, otherwise expect it to disappear into the cancelled TV wasteland.
Cancellation Alert: Medium
The Last Man on Earth (FOX, Airs Sundays 9 PM EST, Debuts March 1st) – This is a comedy series from SNL‘s Will Forte about, well, the last man on Earth. Unfortunately, though, sci fi and sitcoms have rarely been a good mix so this show has that working against it going into its first season. And this also seems like somewhat of an odd premise for a broadcast network series. Maybe this one will do okay with FOX’s venerable animated entries as its lead-in, but I’m not putting too much money on it surviving too long.
Cancellation Alert: Elevated
Wayward Pines (FOX, Airs Thursdays 9 PM EST, Debuts May 14th) – This Twin Peaks-like series comes from M. Night Shyamalan and is yet another of those limited run “event” series, which just means the network wants you to believe it is close-ended but they always leave them open for continuation. It’s hard to tell if the May start means that FOX does not have much confidence in this show or if it believes Shyamalan’s name will bring in enough viewers to help this one perform well as a “bridge” series (filling the gap between the regular and Summer seasons). It will be getting the jump on the Twin Peaks revival from Showtime (scheduled for early 2016), so maybe it can benefit from some of the anticipation leading up to that.
Cancellation Alert: Medium