Fall 2018 Sci Fi and Fantasy TV Preview

By | August 27, 2018

The Fall season is upon us and the number of sci fi and fantasy shows hitting the schedule will ramp up quickly starting from the beginning of September.  At current count, there are over forty new and returning shows that will be airing on the broadcast networks, cable channels, and streaming services over the Fall months.  We have a rundown of all of those here including a short description of the show, when it will be returning, and what its status / prospects are this Fall.  And expect this list to grow as more networks add to the schedule in the coming months.  You can see the current schedule for the Fall sci fi and fantasy shows at this link, and join our discussion on the Fall shows over on Reddit.  And be sure to follow our Cancellation Watch column and the Cancelled Sci Fi Twitter Site throughout the week to keep up with the status of your favorite shows and the ratings results.

Note that shows such as The Orville, Star Trek: Discovery, and Agents of SHIELD have been held to mid-season or later starts. You can see a list of those shows at this link.

(Links below are to the show pages on this site with more information, status updates, and ratings results where available.)

American Horror Story (FX / Wed 10 PM) Season 8 Premieres Sep 12

About: The eighth year of this season-long horror anthology will be subtitled “Apocalypse” and will focus on the character Michael Langdon. Last seen as a three year old in Season 1, he is the son of Tate Langdon and Vivien Harmon and he will be grown up in the current season (played by Cody Fern) which will also crossover with the third year “Coven” storyline.

Status: This show has been renewed through its tenth season, so expect at least two more years of horror tales from this one.

Arrow (CW / Mon 9 PM) Season 7 Premieres Oct 15

About: Oliver Queen continues his fight against those who threaten Star city, though the events at the end of Season 6 will make things much more difficult for the Green Arrow and his allies. (Based on the DC comic book characters, this is the flagship of The CW’s Arrow-verse shows.)

Status: This show is getting a bit long in the tooth and its audience has definitely dwindled over the last few years. The CW claims that they have no plans to end any of their superhero shows, but they may rethink that if the viewership continues to decline, and this show could be the first one to wrap up, this season or next.

Arrow-Verse Crossover (CW) Premieres Dec 9

About: The cross-over of The CW’s Arrow-verse shows has become and annual thing now and the network has already set the dates for this year’s event.  It will premiere on December 9th with The Flash swapping nights with Supergirl and airing on Sunday.  It then continues Monday on Arrow and concludes Tuesday on Supergirl (the Legends of Tomorrow will be busy fighting demons with John Constantine and will not participate this year).  The three-episode cross-over will introduce Batwoman to the Arrow-verse.

Black Lightning (CW / Tue 9 PM) Season 2 Premieres Oct 9

About: Jefferson Pierce will continue to fight crime in his city as the superhero Black Lightning with the help of his two daughters and other allies that want to make the streets safe again. (Based on the DC comic book characters, this is not officially considered part of The CW’s Arrow-verse shows.)

Status: This show debuted to some acclaim last season and pulled decent ratings for a CW entry. Unless its ratings tank, consider it a good candidate for a third season renewal.

Castlevania (Netflix / Streaming) Season 2 Premieres Oct 26

About: Count Dracula has brought fear to the nation of Wallachia, but the disgraced monster hunter Trevor Belmont stands against the vampire and is determined to drive him from the land.

Status: This American Anime received some acclaim in its first season and could stick around for several years on Netflix.

Channel Zero (Syfy / Wed 10 PM) Returning for 4th Season

About: The fourth year of this season-long horror anthology will be subtitled “The Dream Door” and will focus on newlyweds who discover a door in their basement with dark secrets. Based on the creepypasta “Hidden Door” by Charlotte Bywater.

Status: The ratings for this show have been low over its last two seasons and this could be its final year unless it has a streaming or international deal that can keep it going.

Charmed (CW / Sun 9 PM) NEW SERIES Premieres Oct 14

About: After their mother dies mysteriously, two sisters discover they have another sister they never knew about and that they possess magical abilities they never knew existed.

Prospects: This is a reboot of the series that aired on the WB from 1998 to 2006 (allegedly it has ties to that show) and it has a decent enough chance of succeeding on the fifth place network.

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix / Streaming) NEW SERIES Premieres Oct 26

About: Here is the tagline for this series: “Sabrina Spellman must reconcile her dual nature as a half-witch, half-mortal while fighting the evil forces that threaten her, her family, and the daylight world humans inhabit.”

Prospects: This is based on the Archie comic book of the same name and started out as a spin-off from The CW’s Riverdale.  It appears to have broken ties with that show, though, with its switch to Netflix.  The streaming service has ordered two ten-episode seasons of the show in advance.

Daredevil (Netflix / Streaming) Season 3 Premieres Late 2018

About: Matt Murdock continues to fight crime in Hell’s Kitchen as Daredevil and allegedly the third season will return to the look and feel of the show’s first year.  Based on the Marvel comic book character of the same name.

Status: Netflix’s Marvel shows (which also included Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Punisher) remain popular and there is every reason to believe they will continue on the streaming service for several more years.

Doctor Who (BBCA / Sat 9 PM) Returning for 11th Season

About: The time traveling Doctor returns in a new incarnation with Jodie Whittaker taking over the role for the show’s eleventh season.

Status: This show’s survival is more heavily influenced by its viewership in Britain, and I am sure we can expect several seasons from the new Doctor.

The Dragon Prince (Netflix / Streaming) NEW SERIES Pemieres Sep 14

About: Here’s the tagline for this show: “Two human princes forge an unlikely bond with the elven assassin sent to kill them, embarking on an epic quest to bring peace to their warring lands.”

Prospects: This show comes from Aaron Ehasz, head writer of Avatar: The Last Airbender, and should draw plenty of attention. Since it is on Netflix, consider it likely to get a second season pickup.

The First (Hulu / Streaming) NEW SERIES Premieres Sep 14

About: Here is the tagline for this show: “Set in the near future (2030), this groundbreaking story explores the challenges of taking the first steps towards Mars.”

Prospects: This looks like another attempt by Hulu to create an “impact series” along the lines of The Handmaid’s Tale and Castle Rock. Consider it likely to get a second season because it runs on one of the streaming services.

The Flash (CW / Tue 8 PM) Season 5 Premiere Oct 9

About: Barry Allen continues to defend Central City in the guise of The Flash against the threat of meta-humans who have turned to crime. (Based on the DC comic book characters, this is one of The CW’s Arrow-verse shows.)

Status: Even though the ratings have slacked off some for this one, it is still The CW’s highest rated show and should continue racing right on into a sixth season.

The Gifted (FOX / Tue 8 PM) Season 2 Premiere Sep 25

About: This spin-off from the X-Men franchise follows a group of young mutants on the run from a world that fears people with their abilities.

Status: FOX probably hoped this show would have drawn stronger ratings in its first season, but it still did well enough for a renewal and could survive to a third year if it can hold steady with last year’s viewership.

What’s to watch on the Streaming Services?  Click on the following links for a comprehensive list of the Sci Fi TV Shows available on Netflix | Prime Video | Hulu

God Friended Me (CBS / Sun 9 PM) NEW SERIES Premieres Sep 30

About: An outspoken atheist has his life is turned upside down when he is friended by God on Facebook. Unwittingly, he becomes an agent of change in the lives and destinies of others around him.

Prospects: Like last year’s Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, this is another attempt to update the Highway to Heaven / Touched by an Angel format. Based on ABC’s lack of success last year, I’m guessing God will have unfriended the show by the end of the season.

The Good Place (NBC / Thu 8:30 PM) Season 3 Premiere Sep 27

About: When a woman who was not very good during her life dies and goes to the “Good Place”, she does her best to fit in and avoid getting sent to the “Bad Place”.

Status: This show has managed to perform decent enough for NBC on Thursdays and it has started to get some good buzz from critics as well. If it can hold steady in its third season, it should avoid getting sent to the Network Executioner’s Bad Place.

Happy (Syfy / TBD) Returning for 2nd Season

About: A down-on-his-luck ex-cop teams up with an imaginary (or is he?) winged blue unicorn named Happy to solve the disappearance of a young girl. Hi-jinks ensue.

Status: This bat-shit crazy series (based on the Grant Morrison comic of the same name), started strong last season but then dropped off. Syfy is terrible about promoting its own shows and also follows old school thinking of placing heavy importance on the same day ratings numbers. So whether this one can survive to a third season may depend on what sort of magic Happy can conjure.

The Haunting of Hill House (Netflix / Streaming) Premieres Oct 12

About: This series is a modern reimagining of Shirley Jackson’s classic 1959 novel about families from the past and present that must deal with the ghosts that haunt them.

Status: Netflix has placed a ten-episode order for this series and it is unclear at this time if that is intended to be close-ended. If there is a chance to continue the story, the streaming service is more likely than one of the broadcast nets to keep it going.

Into the Dark (Hulu / Streaming) NEW SERIES Premieres Oct 5

About: This series will release one “super-sized” episode a month featuring a horror story from well-known genre directors and/or writers.

Prospects: Sounds like this show is following a similar concept that brought Showtime’s Masters of Horror series plenty of acclaim and it should be able to stick around on the streaming service for a few years.

Iron Fist (Netflix / Streaming) Season 2 Premiere Sep 7

About: Danny Rand uses the powers of Iron Fist to fight against crime and other evil forces in New York City.  Based on the Marvel comic book character of the same name.

Status: The first season of this series was not well received by fans or critics, but word is that the show has made some course corrections in its second year.  As one of the Defenders entries on Netflix, it has a decent chance of sticking around for a third season and more.

The Last Ship (TNT / Sun 9 PM) Season 5 Premiere Sep 9

About: The USS Nathan James survived a plague that wiped out most of the population of the Earth and has since brought a cure and helped rebuild civilization on a devastated planet.

Status: This series is returning for its fifth and final season giving it the opportunity to wrap up all of its storylines.

Legacies (CW / Thu 9 PM) NEW SERIES Premieres Oct 25

About: This spin-off from The Originals focuses on the character Hope Mikaelson who is a hybrid vampire / werewolf and who carries on the legacy of the original vampires.

Prospects:  The Vampire Diaries / The Originals franchise may be getting a bit long in the tooth, but this series may carry it on for a few more years or so on the fifth place network.

Legends of Tomorrow (CW / Mon 8 PM) Season 4 Premiere Oct 22

About: This show returns for its fourth season with John Constantine jumping onboard as the team must face the consequences of the changes they have made in the timeline . . . and demons.

Status: Next to The Flash, this should be the safest of the The CW’s superhero entries because if one of the other shows ends its characters can be absorbed by Legends of Tomorrow.

MacGyver (CBS / Fri 8 PM) Season 3 Premiere Sep 28

About: The MacGyver reboot returns for its third season and brings more adventures and dangerous situations for our titular hero and his allies.

Status: This has been a stable performer on low-viewership Fridays and it is entering its third full season which practically guarantees it will stick around for a fourth year because that gets it to a syndication friendly count of episodes (where shows really start to turn a profit).

The Man in the High Castle (Amazon / Streaming) Season 3 Premiere Oct 5

About: In an alternate history, the Axis powers won World War II and divided up the United States between Germany and Japan.  Now those two powers vie for control of the country and ultimately the world.  Meanwhile, a resistance group has discovered that other alternate realities exist as well.

Status:  After a long wait, this show is finally returning for its third season.  And Amazon has already given the greenlight for a fourth year, so expect it to stick around for a while.

Manifest (NBC / Mon 10 PM) NEW SERIES Premieres Sep 24

About: Five years ago, Montego Air Flight 828 disappeared off the radar and the flight, with its crew and passangers, was considered lost.  But then it shows up again and lands and only five hours has passed for those onboard.  They must wrestle with returning to their former lives while also dealing with the mysteries and implications of their disappearance.

Prospects: This reverse-Lost newcomer could be a surprise hit for NBC or it could go the way of other imitators like FlashForward and The Event.  And since it airs on one of the broadcast networks, it faces a sink or swim future.

Mars (NGC / TBD) Season 2 Premiere Nov 12

About: This docu-drama follows a group of explorers sent to establish the first colony on Mars while interspersing commentary from scientists on the reality of such a mission.

Status: According to NGC, the first season reached a worldwide audience of 36 million.  Its numbers were much more modest from its run in the states, but if it can hold onto those global numbers it could return for a third season or more.

Midnight Texas (NBC / Fri 9 PM) Season 2 Premiere Oct 26

About: Based on the Charlaine Harris books, Midnight, Texas is a small town that provides a safe haven for vampires and witches and other supernatural beings who try to keep themselves hidden from the outside world.

Status: The first season of this show aired in Summer of 2017 and actually performed quite well for NBC.  It is now getting promoted to the Fall schedule, but sent to low-viewership Fridays.  Perhaps it will end up drawing a strong enough cult audience to keep it alive, similar to Grimm which aired on Fridays for six years for NBC.

Missions (Shud / Streaming) Season 2 Premieres in Fall

About: A privately funded mission to Mars succeeds in landing on the Red Planet, but what they find there could change our beliefs about the origins of the human race.

Status: This French-made series is funded in part by AMC and airs on their Shudder streaming service.  That arrangement could keep it going for a few more seasons.

Nightflyers (Syfy / TBD) NEW SERIES Premieres in Fall

About: Based on the George R.R. Martin story, the series follows the crew of The Nightflyer who embark on a mission to make contact with alien life.  But what they find may be much more terrifying than they expected.

Prospects: The early buzz for this show has been good, but the sci fi community in general has been rejecting Syfy’s output of late.  Add to that the fact that the network often shows a lack of commitment to its own programming, making me dubious about its prospects.  You’re probably better off going with the similarly themed Origin which will stream on YouTube’s Premium service (see below).

Origin (YouTube / Streaming) NEW SERIES Premieres in Fall

About: A group of troubled passengers wake up on a damaged spaceship abandoned in deep space and discover the most terrifying thing there may be themselves.

Prospects: This is another addition to YouTube’s Premium streaming service and I am guessing it will get a season or two to build its audience.

Outlander (Starz / Sun 9 PM) Returning for 4th Season

About: As this time-traveling romance continues, Claire and Jamie head to the new world to brave the challenges of an untamed continent.

Status: This series remains one of Starz’s most popular shows and it has already been renewed through its sixth season.  Expect it to stick around for a while.

Riverdale (CW / Wed 8 PM) Season 3 Premiere Oct 10

About: The gang returns for Riverdale‘s third season, but they have to figure out how to get Archie out of jail as the mysteries continue in this Twin Peaks-meets-Archie-comics mash-up.

Status: This series continues to be a stable performer for The CW and also does very well in its encore run on Netflix.  Expect it to stick around for a few more seasons.

Runaways (Hulu / Streaming) Season 2 Premiere Dec 21

About: In the second season of Hulu’s Marvel superhero show, the Runaways have left their home and their evil parents and now must find a way to survive on their own while also trying to stop the nefarious plans of PRIDE.

Status: This series seemed to register well with its target audience of younger viewers in its first season and I believe it is set for a multi-year run on Hulu.

Stan Against Evil (IFC / Wed 10 PM) Season 3 Premiere Oct 31

About: Stan continues the fight against evil in his small New Hampshire town in the show’s third season.  No word yet on whether Ash will show up to lend a hand now that the chainshaw-wielding hero has some extra time . . .

Status: This show continues to be a stable performer for its network and appears to have developed a cult following, so it could stick around for a few more seasons.

Be sure to follow our Cancellation Watch column and the Cancelled Sci Fi Twitter Site throughout the week to keep up with the status of your favorite shows and the ratings results.

Star Trek Short Treks (CBSAA / Streaming) NEW SERIES Pemieres in Fall

About: This series will offer short episodes focused on characters from the Star Trek: Discovery universe such as Harry Mudd, Saru, and Craft.

Prospects: This seems like a great idea to flesh out the universe and hopefully they will continue to produce more installments after the four planned for Fall.

Stranger Things (Netflix / Streaming) Returning for 3rd Season

About: The third season of this creepy 80’s-throwback series heads to a location that is quite appropriate for its era: the mall.

Status: This show continues to be hugely popular for Netflix and its creators the Duffin Brothers plan on continuing the story through a fourth or possibly fifth season before wrapping it up.

Supergirl (CW / Sun 8 PM) Season 4 Premiere Oct 14

About: Kara Zor-El (aka Kara Danvers) continues to defend National City in the guise of Supergirl against super-villains and other criminals. (Based on the DC comic book characters, this is one of The CW’s Arrow-verse shows.)

Status: This show moves to Sundays for its fourth season as The CW expands its programming to six nights.  That network’s superhero shows have been waning in popularity, so whether this one survives into a fifth season remains to be seen.  As a consolation, Supergirl can shift over to Legends of Tomorrow if her series proper ends.

Supernatural (CW / Thu 8 PM) Season 14 Premiere Oct 11

About: The Winchester brothers continue their lifelong mission to combat supernatural forces of evil as this series enters its record-busting fourteenth season.

Status: This show remains a solid performer for The CW and will remain on the air as long as the principals want to stay with the series.

Titans (DCU / Streaming) NEW SERIES Pemieres in Fall

About: This live-action series brings together the classic Titans team of Robin, Starfire, Beast Boy, and Raven, and it will also have Hawk and Dove and other DC characters showing up throughout its first season.

Prospects: This will be the first original series streaming on the new DC Universe service and I’m sure they will give it at least a couple of seasons to establish itself.

Travelers (Netflix / Streaming) Premieres Late 2018

About: Time travelers from the future send their consciousness back through time into the minds of people in the present day.  Their mission is to save humanity from a terrible future.

Status: Starting with its third season, Travelers is exclusively a Netflix original with the Canadian Showcase channel backing out of the partnership.  But this series has a devoted and very vocal fanbase which should keep it going a few more years.

Van Helsing (Syfy / TBD) Returning for 3rd Season

About: Vanessa Van Helsing, a descendant of the infamous 19th century vampire hunter, continues to battle for humanity in the aftermath of the Vampire-pocalypse that has devastated the world.

Status: This series enters a precarious period as the third season mark is where Syfy typically cancels shows, especially those not owned by its parent company NBCUniversal like this one.  In Van Helsing‘s favor is the fact that it is likely not too expensive to produce and it has a strong and very vocal fan following.  So perhaps this fan-favorite can continue to fly under the radar for a few more years like summer entry Wynonna Earp, but its fans need to be sure to make plenty of noise on the social networks to support it.

The Walking Dead (AMC / Sun 9 PM) Season 2 Premiere Oct 7

About: Changes are coming in the ninth-season of this zombie-pocalypse drama (not revealing any spoilers, though) as the setting jumps forward a few years and a new group of enemies show up to disturb the precarious peace established our favorite group of survivors.

Status: The Walking Dexit marches on for this franchise as its audience continues to shrink.  But it is still one of the top-rated cable shows and I expect TWD to stick around for probably two to three more seasons.

Z Nation (Syfy / Fri 9 PM) Returning for 5th Season

About: In the less serious of the two current zombie-pocalypse shows, our group of survivors continue their struggles in the ravaged lands while trying to contend with the hybrid human/zombie who could hold the cure for the virus.

Status: This show had been a solid performer for Syfy, but its numbers dropped notably in its fourth season.  It comes at a relatively low cost since it is produced by The Asylum and a sixth season would get it close to a syndication friendly count of episodes, so it might stick around for at least one more year beyond its fifth if Syfy can work out a deal with the show’s studio.

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