This Week in Sci Fi TV: The Orville Gets Renewed, A Twilight Zone Reboot Is on the Way, and More

By | November 3, 2017

Weekly rundown of the latest sci fi and fantasy television news. See a list of prior week columns at this link.

The Voyage Continues for The Orville

FOX announced this week that their new sci fi dramedy series The Orville will continue trekking into a second season. That show got off to a strong start ratings-wise when it had two Sunday airings that were boosted by a lead-in from NFL Football. When it moved to its regular Thursday timeslot at 9 PM EST, its numbers did drop, but that was to be expected considering the stiff competition on the night from the ABC dramas and Thursday Night Football. Still its ratings average in that hour thus far this season is up 38% from what FOX was averaging in the same timeslot last year. In addition, The Orville has ranked in the Top 15 among all broadcast network shows when Live+7 viewing is taken into account. The Star Trek-like comedy started out with mostly negative reviews from critics, but it caught on with fans and it has since developed some very good buzz in the sci fi community (it currently has only an 18% Fresh Rating at Rotten Tomatoes, but a 93% Audience Score). The Orville only has thirteen episodes planned for its first season to keep costs down and allow the needed time for production. FOX has not announced the second season episode count, but I expect it to be around the same number.

You Are Stepping Back Into a Dimension of Sight, Sound, and Mind . . .

CBS already has a successful Star Trek revival on its All Access streaming service, so now they have found the perfect companion to that.  Dipping back into the classic sci fi TV vaults, the network plans on reviving The Twilight Zone to add to its line-up of streaming scripted originals. There are no specifics on the new version at the moment, but that show has definitely been ripe for a reboot.  It is essentially a timeless series, and with Netflix’s Black Mirror currently challenging its status as one of the all time great anthology shows, now is a good time for it to make a return.  And since it will run on CBS All Access, for the first time the show will not be limited by broadcast network standards and it can really push some boundaries.  There is no timeline for when the new Twilight Zone will have its debut, but I would expect to see it land around Fall of 2018.

New Warriors Will Be Finding a New Network

Freeform had greenlighted the superhero comedy Marvel’s New Warriors (with fan-favorite Squirrel Girl as one of the main heroes) straight to series earlier this year, but now they claim that they do not have space on the schedule for the show.  That cable network has been ramping up scripted programming of late and also has Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger in the works, but apparently they decided their schedule was overcrowded and has chosen to squeeze out New Warriors. Marvel has reclaimed the show, which has already been cast and may have even shot the first episode by now, and will be shopping it around to other networks.  Following is the description that Marvel gives for the series:

Marvel’s New Warriors is about six young people with powers living and working together. With powers and abilities on the opposite end of the spectrum of The Avengers, the New Warriors want to make a difference in the world… Even if the world isn’t ready. Not quite super, not yet heroes, Marvel’s New Warriors is about that time in your life when you first enter adulthood and feel like you can do everything and nothing at once — except in this world, bad guys can be as terrifying as bad dates.

This series already developed a fair amount of positive buzz while in development, and I expect other networks will have an interest in picking it up.

Marvel Announces Five New Characters Joining on with Agents of SHIELD

ABC’s Agents of SHIELD series already has a notable team of agents, but Marvel has announced four more that will be signing on for the upcoming fifth season. Here is a rundown of the new characters:

Deke (Jeff Ward): Deke is the ultimate survivor and roguish scavenger, the guy who can get people what they need, but at a price of his asking. With his sharp mind and quick wit, he is both a real asset in a tight spot and a hard man to trust.

Tess (Eve Harlow): Tess is resourceful, striving to be self-sufficient in very desperate circumstances, but she has hung on to her hopes for a better future for herself and those closest to her. She is living proof that even in the toughest of times, good people will still fight for each other.

Flint (Coy Stewart): Flint is a young man who’s been forced to grow up fast in a tough environment, but hasn’t lost his desire to make something of himself. When he crosses paths with our S.H.I.E.L.D. team, he just may get the chance to prove that he’s capable of big things. Fun fact: Flint is based on a character from Inhumans comics.

Grill (Pruitt Taylor Vince): Grill is a gruff taskmaster, lording over those under his command with an unforgiving temperament. He has no illusions about the world he lives in and this makes him a man not easily fooled, or crossed.

Agents of SHIELD returns for its fifth season with a two-hour premiere on December 1st.

Schedule: The Inhumans Has Its Season Finale Next Week

ABC’s The Inhumans wraps up its eight-episode first season next week, making way for the return of Agents of SHIELD on December 1st (see above). Apart from that, it is mostly business as usual for the week, but business is good for sci fi and fantasy TV with over three dozen shows running this Fall. And in the coming weeks, we will have the premieres of Future Man (Hulu, November 14th), The Punisher (Netflix, November 17th), and Marvel’s Runaways (Hulu, November 21st). You can see the full Fall schedule at this link and you can keep up with the weekly listings at this link.

You can see new trailers for the Batman: Brave and the Bold / Scooby Doo cross-over, X-Files Season 11, Ash vs. Evil Dead Season 3, and more at this link.

News Bites: Krypton Gets Its Brainiac and More

Blake Ritson (Da Vinci’s Demons) has been cast as Brainiac and Paula Malcomson (The Hunger Games) has been cast as Charys in Syfy’s upcoming Superman prequel series Krypton.

Annabeth Gish has joined the cast of Netflix’s upcoming horror series The Haunting of Hill House.

Anna Maxwell Martin has been cast in the Amazon / BBC co-production of Good Omens as the demon Beelzebub. Mireille Enos, Lourdes Faberes, and Yusuf Gatewood have been cast as three of the four horsemen of the apocalpyse.

The Worlds Series slowed down the ratings for The Flash and several other shows this week. More on that in the Sci Fi TV Status Report Friday Update at this link.

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