The 2014-15 season is all but over and we now know the cancellation/renewal status of all the sci fi / fantasy shows that aired during that time (you can see the full rundown at the Cancellation Watch page). Ten total ended up facing the network executioner at some point during the season out of the 29 shows that I tracked (that does not include Nikita or Warehouse 13, both of which were in their final seasons). That’s a little over a one third cancellation rate, but actually that’s not bad at all considering that broadcast networks had an overall 40% cancellation rate across their scripted shows suggesting that sci fi entries have lower than average cancellation rate (despite the network conspiracy against the genre that fans usually often claim).
So how did I do at predicting the cancellations and renewals for the season?
Well, there were 29 shows that I tracked, though I’m throwing Hannibal out of the mix because I passed on making a prediction on that one (more on that below). Of the remaining 28, there were six where my predictions through most of the season went counter to their final status. So that’s a 21% miss rate. But then I would argue that you can’t hold Beauty and the Beast against me (I predicted cancellation, more on that below) and I did lean back toward renewal for The 100 in the two weeks before that became a reality. And then I had strong arguments in my favor on the other calls I made as well, as you will read below. But then I will accept that 21% miss rate which I don’t think was too bad especially when it comes to trying to guess what network executives will do.
Following is a rundown on my misses on renewals/cancellations as well as a look at all of the cancellations.
Haven (Syfy, Renewed for a 5th Season) – I never said this one was definitely heading to the network executioner, but I was leaning heavily in that direction for most of its fourth season run because of its low ratings. But not only did it get renewed for a fifth year, it received double its typical episode count for a season (26 vs. 13). I believe that is in part because it is a relatively inexpensive series to produce and the renewal gets it close to a syndication friendly count of episodes, but then I believe the strong fan support on the social networks helped it as well. It does not fit in as well with Syfy’s move back to more heavily science fiction based scripted programming, but apparently the network still has confidence in the show.
Helix (Syfy, Renewed for a 2nd Season) – This show never pulled great numbers during its first season, but I’m thinking the fact that it fits in well with Syfy’s new direction had a lot to do with why they renewed it. That will only go so far, though, and it will probably have to improve its ratings if it wants to see a third year.
Being Human (Syfy, Cancelled After 4 Seasons) – So I missed on all the Syfy shows this season. This series averaged better than either of the two above, yet it got the axe. According to series star Sam Witwer, the fourth season wrap up was planned in advance and it was done for artistic reasons. But then when did television networks ever do anything for artistic reasons? I’m guessing that the licensing deal with the BBC made this one more expensive and it also does not fit as well into Syfy’s new direction. But this cancellation definitely took me by surprise.
Almost Human (FOX, Cancelled After 1 Season) – I missed on this one because I didn’t expect FOX to be, well . . . FOX. They should have renewed it and they should have never thrown it so the many scheduling hurdles and aired episodes out of order. When FOX renewed Dollhouse after one low-rated season and kept Fringe going for five years despite its tepid numbers, I thought maybe the network had changed. But they sunk Almost Human just like they did with Firefly, in fact even worse. It ended the season as their fourth highest rated show based on relative ratings, so it was not an unreasonable assumption to think they would bring it back. But that’s if FOX doesn’t act like FOX (and this of course fuels the conspiracy theories mentioned above).
The 100 (The CW, Renewed for a 2nd Season) – This was a kind of miss because I kept wavering on it. The show started off good then sunk pretty fast and when I was at the point of making my final calls for the season it appeared to be in the midst of a death spiral. But then it started to rise and maintained a level just good enough to get it the renewal nod. As it came closer to the end of the season, I was leaning back toward renewal, but I will take the hit because I had previously pegged it as likely to get cancelled.
Beauty and the Beast (The CW, Renewed for a 3rd and 4th Season) – I would argue that I get to take a mulligan on this one. EVERYBODY had it pegged as sure to get cancelled and The CW apparently decided to thumb its nose at us and renew it for TWO seasons. I don’t know if this one really is a big hit overseas or if B&B’s producers just have incriminating photos on several CW execs. But fans of The Tomorrow People, Star-Crossed, The Secret Circle, Cult, and any of a number of other cancelled CW series would like to have words with the people that kept B&B going.
Believe (NBC, Cancelled After 1 Season) – I had this one pegged as a goner shortly after it moved to Sundays (following its Monday post-The Voice premiere). I did think there was slight chance that NBC would keep it alive because of the pedigree that J.J. Abrams and Alfonso Cuarón brought to it, but then Abrams had a pretty bad year in general as far as TV shows he was attached to (with Almost Human and Revolution also getting the ax). This show had some potential, but scheduling killed it.
Once Upon A Time in Wonderland (ABC, Cancelled After 1 Season) – I had this one as DOA before the season even began because of its Thursday 8 PM deathslot (which killed Last Resort and Zero Hour the prior year). It never had much of a pulse in the ratings, but it will get to live on once it gets attached to parent series Once Upon A Time’s eventual syndication run.
Star-Crossed (The CW, Cancelled After 1 Season) – This was another series that I pegged as practically DOA because of its scheduling on Monday nights which have been a disaster for The CW network of late. And it barely registered in the Nielsens on that night even though it did manage to pick up a small but loyal following. It might have had a chance if they aired it on a better night.
Revolution (NBC, Cancelled After 2 Seasons) – I was dubious about this one going into the season because of its first year ratings drop and the fact that it was moving to the “family friendly” Wednesday 8 PM EST timeslot. The show started its second year with tepid numbers and only went down from there. Its fans are fighting hard for it and it may still live on at another location, but I was sure for most of the season that NBC would cut ties with it.
The Neighbors (ABC, Cancelled After 2 Seasons) – The move to Fridays at 8:30 EST PM actually seemed like a good one for this show because the ratings expectations for that timeslot are pretty low and I would have thought that Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing would have provided a decent lead-in. But the numbers for The Neighbors couldn’t even meet up to those low expectations. I did note that the show had beat the odds before, but I was pretty sure it wouldn’t this time and I was correct. It’s a shame because this one turned into a fun little sci fi romp that may eventually earn cult status.
The Tomorrow People (The CW, Cancelled After 1 Season) – The Wednesday post-Arrow timeslot seemed like a good one for this show and it actually started out with decent ratings. But by the end of Fall it had sunk pretty low and it seemed pretty certain to have a date with the network executioner in its future. That’s of course always hard to say for sure with The CW, but I pegged it as a goner by about mid-season and that’s how it played out.
Intelligence (CBS, Cancelled After 1 Season) – The premiere for this show delivered promising numbers, but those dropped quickly when it moved to its regular Monday night timeslot. Within a few weeks of airing on that night, I was certain that genre-averse CBS would pull the plug on this one, and sure enough they did. Unfortunate, though, because it was actually a pretty decent show.
Dracula (NBC, Cancelled After 1 Season) – Was this one cancelled or did it just air out its full “limited run” as planned? Well, considering that it ended on a cliffhanger, you know a continuation was planned. And the show’s numbers were not that bad for the Friday 10 PM EST hour. It actually pulled better numbers than Hannibal in the same timeslot, but that one got renewed. I was pretty certain that Dracula would get cancelled, though, even if part of me felt it had a chance because its international production arrangements made it a cheaper property for NBC. But I called the cancellation and that’s the way it worked out.
Hannibal (NBC, Renewed for a 3rd Season) – This show’s second season renewal was unlikely based on its first year ratings, but it is an international production that comes at a cheaper cost to NBC, so it has intangibles that make it hard to predict. Its numbers were pretty low for its second season, but apparently the network decided they were good enough to plug in the troublesome scheduling hole in the Friday 10 PM EST hour (even though they were below the cancelled Dracula which is also an international production and aired in the same timeslot).