DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

Contributors

ALEX STRACHAN

MIKE HUGHES

GARY EDGERTON

ROGER CATLIN

KIM AKASS

GERALD JORDAN

MONIQUE NAZARETH

TOM BRINKMOELLER

NOEL HOLSTON

 
 
 
 
 
Science Fiction Expands Across The TV Universe
July 24, 2019  | By Mike Hughes
 

The science fiction universe has been bombarded lately with news. 

Much of it is good news for fantasy fans ... unless they want their shows to be on big broadcast networks, with kajillions of viewers. In that case, most of it is bad. The basics: 

Two shows will slide to streaming services. On Dec. 13, The Expanse starts its third season, now on Amazon Prime. Almost a year later, The Orville starts its third season, now on Hulu. 

Agents of SHIELD is leaving ... gradually. ABC had already renewed it for another season, its seventh. Now it says that season – 13 episodes next summer – will be the last. For now, the sixth season is still here; there's an hour at 8 p.m. Friday (July 26) and a two-hour season-finale Aug. 2. 

Archer will be back; FXX has just renewed it for an 11thseason. This animated action-comedy isn't usually a sci-fi show, but it currently has an outer space setting.  Archer: 1999, is airing its final two episodes of the season on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. (tonight) July 24 and 31. 

Then there's the show that was created for streaming: Star Trek: Picard debuts early in 2020 on CBS All Access, with Patrick Stewart, 79 (top). It was announced that it's being stocked with Trek alumni – regular roles for Data (Brent Spiner) and two characters from the Borg, Hugh (Jonathan Del Arco) and Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan), plus guest roles for Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Troi (Marina Sirtis). 
The flood of news is linked to Comic Con and reflects ongoing trends:

Sci-fi shows do well in overseas markets. They can be hardy profit centers... if they also get a bunch of money from a U.S. network. 

The ideal is a big broadcast network – ABC for SHIELD, Fox for Orville. Next best is the dependable CW or basic-cable. 

Several shows start with a Canadian network, then add Syfy in the U.S. It's a logical strategy ... except that Syfy has been very inconsistent with those shows, even the good ones. It cancelled The Expanse and said the new Killjoys season (10 p.m. Fridays) will be its last. 

The alternative is to go to the streaming services. Fantasy fans are early adopters, ready to switch technology. Many of the sci-fi shows end up there, leaving the broadcast networks in danger, alas, of being old-folks homes.
 
 
 
 
 
Leave a Comment: (No HTML, 1000 chars max)
 
 Name (required)
 
 Email (required) (will not be published)
 
 Website (optional)
 
YYDXF
Type in the verification word shown on the image.