Upfront season is underway as the television networks (mostly the cable channels at this point) present their schedules for the upcoming year to the advertisers. Plenty of development announcements, series pickups, and cancellations come out this time year and I will be covering that each week in this column as the Upfronts continue through May.
1. #IntoTheBadlands Kicks Its Way to a Third Season
AMC announced this week that their post-apocalyptic martial arts series Into the Badlands will be returning for a third season. The news does not come as a huge surprise even though the show’s numbers have dropped off notably on Sundays without The Walking Dead as its lead-in. With the boost from that show, Into the Badlandsaveraged a 1.4 rating based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic. The last three weeks (since TWD wrapped its seventh season), it has only averaged a 0.53 rating. But it has been seeing very good delayed viewing gains (more important to the cable channels than the broadcast nets), and I’m guessing this one plays well internationally. The third season will comprise 16 episodes (up from this season’s ten) and will air at some point in 2018.
2. Powerless Can’t Fend Off the Most Evil of Villains: The Network Executioner
NBC has yanked its superhero comedy Powerless from the schedule as of this week which essentially assures it is headed to cancellation. The show’s numbers have dropped pretty low the last few weeks, and I had been predicting it would get yanked. But with only three episodes to go in its first season, I started to think the network might let the show go ahead and air out. Apparently they had enough of the low ratings, though, and decided to go ahead and pull it. Whether the remaining three episodes will air at a later time or be made available online remains to be seen. NBC has not officially cancelled the show at this point (the broadcast nets hate to do that these days), but this one will almost certainly be sent to the Network Executioner by season end.
3. Titans and Young Justice Will Launch DC’s Streaming Service
DC is getting into the streaming service business and two big-name shows will help get it started. The live-action Titans series that was previously announced as a development project will debut on the service, with superhero mogul Greg Berlanti onboard as one of the writers.. Not much else is known about that show at this point other than it will focus on the popular team of young superheros which will be led by Dick Grayson (as either Nightwing or Robin) and will also include Starfire and Raven.
The long-awaited third season of Young Justice, to be titled Young Justice: Outsiders, will also help the service get off to a strong start. The revival of that series was announced last year, though many of us thought that it would land on Netflix where the first two seasons are currently streaming. Both shows and the as yet unnamed DC streaming service are targeting 2018 for a start date.
4. Bryan Singer Will Bring Us an Alternate History Roman Empire
Director/Producer Bryan Singer has a new project in the works titled August One that will give us a futuristic alternate history where the Roman Empire never fell. The setting is described as
a world where the Roman Empire never fell but instead grew into a technologically advanced civilization, a society where the concepts of slavery, corruption and sin have been culturally normalized.
The show–which has similarities to the Star Trek: TOS episode “Bread and Circuses”–was created by John Cabrera who previously collaborated with Singer on the web series H+: The Digital Series. Ten episodes of the series are currently planned and they will be about ten minutes each. August One will likely stream at some point in 2018.
5. MTV’s #Scream to Reboot With Its Third Season
MTV’s horror series Scream, based on the movie franchise of the same name, returns for its third season this Summer but will be going through some changes. The show will have a n all-new new cast along with new showrunners and will also be moving to a new location. Scream debuted to decent ratings and generated considerable buzz on the social networks during its first season in 2015, but that cooled off notably during its second year. The reboot for its third season, which will only be six-episodes long, is an attempt to revitalize the franchise on television.
6. #Sense8 Returns for Its Second Season Next Week
The long-awaited second season of Netflix’s Sense8, from the Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski, is finally almost here. That show’s Season 2 debut is next Friday, and the entire second season will be available for streaming. You can keep up with the complete listings of sci fi and fantasy shows each week here.
7. Amazon Sets the Premiere Date for #TheTick
Spoon!!!! The Tick is back! The new live-action series from Amazon (that sadly does not bring Patrick Warburton back in the lead role) has been in the works since last year and finally has a premiere date for this Summer of August 25th. You can see the pilot for the series (which viewers up-voted last year) at this link. And you can get a preliminary look at all the sci fi and fantasy shows arriving Summer and later here.
8. News Bites: General Zod to Join Supergirl
The infamous Superman villain General Zod will be showing up on the season finale of The CW’s Supergirl. The character will be played by Smallville and Arrow veteran Mark Gibbon.
Amanda Lund (Goosebumps) has been cast in the upcoming Seth Rogen comedy pilot Singularity. According to Deadline Hollywood, the show takes place in “a future when artificial intelligence greatly surpasses human intelligence, resulting in profound changes to our society”.