In this weekly column, I monitor the viewership levels for the currently airing sci-fi and fantasy shows as well as their renewal and cancellation prospects. Also check out This Week In Sci-Fi TV on Fridays, which delivers news and updates on genre television.
Season Premieres: #DarkMatter And #WynonnaEarp Return Down In The Ratings
This past Friday, Syfy’s Dark Matter and Wynonna Earp had their season premieres, but both experienced ratings drops from last year. Dark Matter had a 0.15 rating based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic (with 587K total viewers) for its two-hour debut, which was down from its 0.17 average last year. Wynonna Earp only managed a 0.09 rating (with 462K total viewers) which was down notably from its already low first season average of a 0.13 score. Considering that Syfy has already cancelled Incorporatedand Aftermath this season, both of which averaged a 0.16 rating, the two returning Summer entries definitely appear to be on iffy ground.
Dark Matter comes as part of a partnership with the Space Channel up in Canada which has helped keep it going this far. If its numbers do not slip too much, I like its chances because cable shows that have survived through a third season typically stick around for four to six total to give them a binge-worthy run. Though remember that Syfy did cancel Defiance after its third season.
The Space Channel recently jumped onboard as partner for Wynonna Earp, though I believe Syfy still has the majority ownership in that one. The show was received well in its first season and made the awards rounds, and it developed a loyal following that has been very active on the social networks. It is also relatively inexpensive to produce, but the fans need to get active to bring more attention to it, otherwise it may not stick around for a third season.
Orphan Black had its fifth season premiere on Saturday and could only muster a 0.07 rating with 278K total viewers. That show is in its final season.
Netflix Apologizes, But #Sense8 Is Still Cancelled
Netflix announced the cancellation of their sci fi series Sense8 two weeks ago and that set off a social media campaign to try and change the mind of the streaming service execs using the hashtag #RenewSense8. That prompted the following response from Netflix on the show’s Facebook page:
To our Sense8 family…We’ve seen the petitions. We’ve read the messages. We know you want to #RenewSense8. We wish we could #BringBackSense8 for you. The reason we’ve taken so long to get back to you is because we’ve thought long and hard here at Netflix to try to make it work but unfortunately we can’t.
Sense8–which comes from the Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski–is an expensive show to produce (because of its location shooting) and it was not one of Netflix’s highly watched original series, prompting the streaming series to cancel it after its second season. Some believe that it was cancelled due to its LGBT themes, though series co-star Brian J. Smith wrote a lengthy letter dispelling that idea. The show did end without a resolution to its storylines, prompting the campaign, but it seems unlikely that another network will be willing to pick it up at this point.
Ratings Results Of Interest: ‘Fear The Walking Dead’ Drops
On Sunday, AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead slipped with its second Season 3 episode to a 1.0 rating based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic with 2.5 million total viewers. But it was still the top rated show on cable for the night and even beat out everything on the broadcast nets on Sunday except the Stanley Cup and ABC’s game shows. Plus, it has already been renewed for a fourth season.
Over on Showtime, Twin Peaks improved once again, this time to a 0.10 rating with 270K total viewers. Those numbers are still pretty low, though, and I am guessing that Showtime will stick with the “limited run” story for this one. On Starz, American Godsimproved slightly to a 0.26 rating with 629K total viewers as it heads into its season finale this coming week.
On Saturday, Doctor Who slipped to a 0.17 rating with 539K total viewers, the lowest numbers it has seen on BBC America. That show depends more heavily on its viewership in Britain, but it is definitely not holding up well in the States vs. the Peak TV crunch. An eleventh season is planned with a new Doctor (though it has not been officially announced that I am aware of), so this show is not in trouble at the moment.
I covered the premiere ratings for Freeform’s Shadowhunters and Stitchers previously in last Friday’s This Week In Sci Fi TV column.
Scorecard: Wynonna Earp Starts Near The Bottom
As expected based on their low returns, both Wynonna Earp and Dark Matter start low on the Cancellation Watch Scorecard, with the former coming in near the bottom at Number 57 and the latter in the lower half at Number 36. I am starting Dark Matter at Renewal Possible status because its numbers are not too far off from last season and because it has made it to the third season threshold (see above). Wynonna Earp starts On the Bubble and really needs a rally from fans on the social nets.
Orphan Black enters at the bottom of the Scorecard, though that is not a surprise seeing as it is in its finale season. Fear the Walking Dead did not slip from last week despite its ratings drop. The rest of the shows remained mostly stable on the Scorecard apart from some incidental movement. You can see the full results here.
Be sure to follow the Cancelled Sci-Fi TV Twitter for daily ratings results as well as breaking news and updates. Follow CancelledSciFi.com for ratings results and status of all the currently airing and returning sci-fi and fantasy shows.