This Week in Sci Fi TV: Star Trek: Discovery Delayed Again, and 7 More Things to Know

By | January 22, 2017

1.  Premiere Date Gets Pushed

Fans are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the latest  television entry–which takes place between the prequel series Enterprise and The Original Series and focuses on the ship’s Lieutenant Commander to be played by Sonequa Martin-Green–but it looks like it will miss its May target date. CBS has made the following comment on when the show will debut:

We will be flexible on a launch date if it’s best for the show. We’ve said from the beginning it’s more important to do this right than to do it fast.

The show was already delayed from its original January launch date and has had some shakeups behind the scenes with Bryan Fuller stepping down as showrunner and executive producer. The current plan is for Discovery to air its premiere episode on CBS and the rest of the episodes will be available on the network’s streaming service CBS All Access. No adjusted premiere date has been given for the show yet.

In related news, James Frain has been cast on the show to play the iconic role of Sarek, Spock’s father. It will likely be a recurring role for Frain who has previously appeared on such genre shows as GothamOrphan BlackTrue BloodThe Cape and more.

2. , and  are All Slipping in the Ratings

Last Friday, NBC’s new series Emerald City slipped to a 0.8 rating based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic with 3.2 million total viewers for its second episode which has it at less than encouraging ratings levels. The prior week’s debut at a 1.0 score had it at passable numbers for a Friday show, but as I said then, that gave the show little leeway for slippage. This one is certainly expensive to produce and it has already been labeled with the “event series” tag, so at this point I am not liking its chances of surviving into a second season unless NBC has significant international financing at play with the show.

On Monday, NBC’s Timeless returned from hiatus but posted a season low 0.9 rating with 3.4 million total viewers. That show’s lead-in was not as strong with Celebrity Apprentice pulling numbers notably lower than The Voice did in Fall, but NBC has to be discouraged by the drop-off in the numbers for Timeless which keeps that one firmly On the Bubble. On Tuesday, ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. slipped to a series low 0.6 rating with two million total viewers which has it below the levels that got Agent Cartercancelled last season. I have been saying for a while that this show is likely in its final season, and its current viewership struggles appear to be reinforcing that. You can see the standings of all this season’s sci fi and fantasy shows here.

3. The Journey Continues with NGC’s 

At the TCAs last week, the National Geographic Channel announced that their docu-drama series Mars will be returning for a second season. Originally announced as a mini-series, apparently the network decided to extend the mission for the show. Mars pulled decent but not spectacular linear ratings for NGC in the U.S., but the network claimed that it reached an audience of 36 million people globally and also that it was their most DVR’d show (something that is more important to the cable channels than the broadcast nets). The second season will bow either later this year or early in 2018.

4.  Writer is Working on a NASA Based TV Series

Andy Weir, who brought us the celebrated science fiction novel and film The Martian, is now turning his attention to television. CBS has ordered a pilot for his proposed series Mission Control which Variety describes as a drama that “follows the next generation of NASA astronauts and scientists as they juggle both their personal and professional lives during a critical mission with no margin for error”. This will be one of the shows that the network will consider adding to their 2017-18 schedule.

Also on the development front, the previously announced adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens is scheduled to bow on Amazon Prime and BBC next year. The apocalyptic fantasy/comedy will run as a six-episode mini-series and co-author of the book Neil Gaiman will be aboard as writer and showrunner.

5. The CW Superheroes All Return Next Week

Plenty of sci fi and fantasy shows have been in their Winter hibernation since late Fall, but the schedule is starting to fill up with those returning from their breaks. All four of The CW’s superhero shows–which were just renewed for the 2017-18 season–will have their mid-season returns the week of January 23rd, and you can see The CW’s mid-season sizzle reel about. Also next week, Syfy’s The Magicians will be returning for its second season. You can keep up with the weekly listings of sci fi and fantasy TV shows here.

6. AMC Sets the Return Date for 

AMC’s post-apocalyptic martial arts drama Into the Badlands returns for its second season this Spring and the network has finally given it a premiere date. The show will have its Year 2 bow on Sunday, March 19th and will air at 10 PM EST following The Walking Dead (The Talking Dead will shift to 11 PM EST). You can see the show’s Season 2 trailer above and you can see the full schedule of sci fi and fantasy shows here.

7. News Bites: M. Night Shyamalan Wants to Direct an Episode of , and More

In other sci fi TV news. M. Night Shyamalan has indicated that he would like to direct a second season episode of Netflix’s hit series Stranger Things. That series was created by the Duffer brothers who got their start in television working on Wayward Pines which was executive produced by Shyamalan.

FX’s upcoming series Legion, which debuts February 8th, will not connect to the X-Menmovies according to producer Laura Shuler Donner. But the recently announced X-Menseries in the works at FOX will be linked to the films.

HBO has not officially announced an eighth season of Game of Thrones yet because the network is still trying to work out the number of episodes. The upcoming seventh season will have a shortened episode count of seven, and for the eighth year they were originally targeting only six. That count could be extended, though, thus the reason for the delay on the official Season 8 announcement.

8. Did You Know That Patrick Stewart Originally Thought His Casting on  was a “Lunatic” move?

The upcoming Star Trek series is experiencing some pre-launch bumps, which is not uncommon when trying to get a show–especially one facing such high expectations–off the ground. But did you know that during the development phase of Star Trek: The Next Generation that Patrick Stewart was reluctant to take the lead role on the show?

The classically trained actor did not believe that taking the role was the right move for him, commenting: “Why would they cast a middle-aged bald English Shakespearean actor in this iconic role as captain of the Enterprise? It made no sense.” Of course, Gene Roddenberry eventually convinced the actor to take the captain’s chair, even though Steward felt its was a “borderline lunatic” move. We all know that it was the right decision, though, as Captain Jean Luc Picard has since become an iconic and much beloved sci fi character.

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