Sci Fi Cancellation Watch Fall Predictions: Will New Shows The Expanse, Supergirl, Heroes Reborn, Limitless, and More Be Hits or Will They Tank?

By | September 14, 2015

the-expanse-syfy-cancelledI gave my predictions for the returning sci fi / fantasy shows at this link, but the fate of the new shows that hit the schedule are typically harder to gauge largely because of a lack of any hard data prior to their first airing.  But there are a few things to consider like scheduling, promotion, early buzz and whether the concept seems less likely to draw in viewers.  Some factors are more nebulous than others (like the aversion CBS has shown to sci fi shows), but I’ve been doing this for years and have gotten pretty good at spotting the patterns.  The Cancellation Alert levels that I am assigning from least to most likely to get cancelled are Low, Moderate, Medium, Elevated, and High.  It’s important to note that typically I do not give a new show the lowest or highest Cancellation Alert level because it is just too hard to make that call with too little data to look at.  But then I usually have a few exceptions to that rule and that’s true with this batch of predictions.  And for the new shows on the streaming services, those almost always get second season nods (apparently they do better audience research than the networks), so I have them at a Low Cancellation Alert level.  So here are my predictions on the new shows and feel free to chime in with your own thoughts in the comments section below, and be sure to follow their progress through the season with our Cancellation Watch column and on the Cancelled Sci Fi Twitter Site.  And you can see the full schedule of Fall sci fi / fantasy shows at this link.

(Links are to each show’s page on this site where the season to date ratings results will be posted once they begin airing new episodes.)

Angel from Hell (CBS):  Sci fi / fantasy sitcoms tend to not to do well (evidenced by the ratings drop-off of The Last Man on Earth last season), but this one is nestled in with the CBS comedy block that has ratings juggernaut The Big Bang Theory as its lead-in. Of course Angel from Hell is at the tail end of that two-hour block, but I still think it could do okay if enough people stick around to watch. Cancellation Alert: Medium

Ash vs Evil Dead (Starz):  Come on! This is Ash we are talking about here!  He’s a survivor!  And this is a highly anticipated show with some good early buzz with the original team from the movies (most importantly Bruce Campbell) back on board. Plus, it airs on one of the pay channels and they are not as focused on the overnight numbers. I expect this one to have no problem sawing its way into a second season. Cancellation Alert: Low

Blindspot (NBC):  This is looking like it won’t really be a sci fi show, but it has been getting coverage from the genre sites and its conspiracy storylines will attract genre fans. I will at least address it here, though I’m not currently planning on tracking it on a weekly basis (gotta draw the line somewhere with so many shows on these days). Since it gets the plum Monday lead-out spot from The Voice, the NBC execs apparently want to give it a strong push and it’s sure to draw good numbers with its debut. Both Revolution and The Blacklist started off strong in this timeslot, though both faded when scheduled to different hours (with the former getting cancelled, though the latter managed to hang on to a third season). So Blindspot looks like a sure thing for its first season at least, which will give us time to see if it plans on working any sci fi elements into its premise. Cancellation Alert: Moderate

The Expanse (Syfy):  This adaptation of the James A. Corey books is a pretty highly anticipated entry on the Fall schedule and Syfy’s space entries Dark Matter and Killjoys got pretty good marks this past Summer. Plus, the network has been patient with new shows of late, so its chances look good.  That’s of course assuming that the network’s ratings struggles of late don’t force it out of the scripted series business.   Cancellation Alert: Moderate

Guardians of the Galaxy (DXD):  Animated shows are a bit harder to call because their success is as heavily (if not more so) attached to merchandise sales as to ratings. Still, after the success of the first movie, I think this show has a good shot. Cancellation Alert: Moderate

heroes-reborn-cancelledHeroes Reborn (NBC):  Why am I predicting whether a “limited run event” series will get a second season? Because we have learned that the term just means a show is getting less than the 22 episodes typical of a broadcast series and they are always eyeing the possibility of multiple seasons. NBC is just testing to see if they can recapture the magic of the original show’s first year, and if the revival does well then it will come back for a second “limited run”. I expect this one to pull big numbers out of the gate and whether it sustains that depends on whether it is closer to Heroes’ first season than the subsequent years. But I do like its chances to come back for a second run. Cancellation Alert: Moderate

Into the Badlands (AMC):  This is the most unique genre entry on the Fall schedule and has already started to generate some positive buzz. AMC has been pretty patient with its new shows and I expect this one to do well enough to garner a second season. Cancellation Alert: Moderate

Jessica Jones (Netflix):  I don’t know that Netflix is necessarily looking at each of its Defenders stand-alone shows as candidates for multiple seasons. It makes sense for Daredevil because that has the best known character of the group (which also includes Luke Cage and Iron Fist). They will all come together in the eventual team-up series and will likely cross over into each other’s shows, but may not necessarily be designed for multiple seasons on their own. It’s possible, but that will tie up a lot of development money and Netflix has plenty more shows in the pipeline. So I’m taking a pass on making a prediction for this one.

Legends of Tomorrow (CW):  This one doesn’t hit until mid-season, but it is one of the year’s most anticipated shows and almost a guaranteed hit. Superhero overload will kick in at some point, but not this season for this show (though maybe for Supergirl, see below). The CW is billing it as an “event” series, but see my comments on Heroes Reborn above. Count this one as one as an almost certain entry on the 2016-17 schedule. Cancellation Alert: Low

Limitless (CBS):  This show has three strikes against it going into its first season. One, the timeslot has not been a good one for CBS for a while (Person of Interest saw its numbers fade in this hour last season). Two, its premise is very similar to the Josh Holloway starring Intelligence which failed in this very same timeslot two seasons ago. Three, CBS has typically shown little patience with sci fi shows during the regular season. That’s not a good score for the show to have before it has aired a single episode. It will have Bradly Cooper stopping by from time to time to give it a ratings boost, but I don’t know if that is enough to offset the strikes against it and unfortunately this could be the first genre casualty of the season. Cancellation Alert: Elevated

The Man in the High Castle (Amazon):  The pilot for this show is the most watched ever since Amazon started letting people vote for their original content and most all of the series on the streaming services have been receiving second season orders. So consider this one pretty close to a lock for a renewal. Cancellation Alert: Low

Minority Report (FOX):  : It would seem like this show has a plum timeslot in the hour after Gotham airs on Mondays, but then I’m not too high on the sophomore show’s prospects in its second year after its numbers slumped during the latter half of its first season (more on that at this link). But then Minority Report is produced by FOX Studios meaning that all the revenue stays in house and it has been getting some good early buzz. It’s not a sure thing, but it has a chance. Cancellation Alert: Medium

Scream Queens (FOX):  This is another show that looks to have little or no genre elements, but it is getting a lot of early buzz from the sci fi community. Coming from the same team that created American Horror Story, it has some big names attached and I expect it to draw notable Nielsen numbers out of the gate. I would think that it should be good for a second season unless it fades pretty quickly as struggling FOX does not have a lot of leeway these days for ratings slackers. But I think it should do well enough to get a second season. Cancellation Alert: Moderate

supergirl-cbs-cancelledSupergirl (CBS):  Everything points to this show being one of the season’s biggest hits except the network it is on. Supergirl will be shooting for the younger audience currently flocking to the superhero TV shows and movies which is a far cry from the older demographic that tunes in for the procedural-heavy lineup on CBS. But then the network does have its younger-skewing comedies like The Big Bang Theory, and that audience will likely be giving this show a look. The other question will be whether superhero burnout (which has to come at some point) hits this show, and that’s possible if it doesn’t wow out of the gate. Like Agents of SHIELD and Gotham, I expect this one to start strong and then fade to a degree. How much it slips, and how patient genre-averse CBS will be, will be crucial to its fate. Cancellation Alert: Moderate

The X-Files (FOX):  Like Heroes Reborn above, this one is being billed as an “event” series, but I’ve already heard talk of possibly carrying it beyond its planned “limited-run” of six episodes. Ratings-wise, this is sure to be a hit and FOX would definitely welcome it back for further seasons. That will all depend on whether the core players can work it into their schedules and if they choose to do so. Basically, it won’t get cancelled, but it may not continue on either. Cancellation Alert: Low

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