We are now about six weeks into the new TV season and it is becoming clear as to which shows are the winners and losers so far this fall.
First, let’s take a look at how some of the new dramas are fairing (good and bad):
1. Sleepy Hollow – Sure, the FOX thriller has an absolutely crazy premise; but with witty dialogue uttered with an awesome British accent courtesy of new hottie Tom Mison laced with great action scenes and a sci-fi filled history lesson each week, Sleepy Hollow has become the top new drama of the fall. And thanks to steady and strong ratings the network has ordered a 13-episode second season (the first season of the series only has 13 episodes, giving room for last year’s thriller The Following to return during mid-season), meaning Sleepy Hollow will be around for at least a little while longer.
2. The Blacklist – The NBC drama is the other big winner of the fall TV season thanks in great part to the overwhelmingly captivating charisma of James Spader; and let’s not get started on all of the hats and dapper attire he wears (right?) not to mention the twisty storylines. This is the highest rated new drama of the fall, earning a full season order from NBC.
3. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – The Joss Whedon ABC series (that is actually overseen by his brother Jed and sis-in-law Maurissa, who have quite a long TV resume themselves) started off very strong, earning 11.9 million viewers in its debut. And while those numbers have diminished in its subsequent airings (shame on you viewers!), the network has faith in the show, as it received the always-aimed-for “back 9” order. This mean the show has been given a full season order, making it the second drama to be renewed for a full season.
4. The Originals and The Tomorrow People – The newest additions to The CW line-up got a later start than the other new shows on the major networks. That is the new normal for the network airing their prime-time line-up at the beginning of October instead at the end of September like the other major networks. Both shows performed fairly well with The Tomorrow People only slightly outshining The Originals in their debuts. Both shows will still need to prove themselves to the powers that be in order to get a full season order, but they are already doing something right since the network ordered three additional scripts for each show.
NOTE: The new show Reign was also part of this additional three scripts order, but the show had a weak premiere on October 17 and saw its number fall more in its next airing. Those numbers will be enough, for now, for the network to keep the show on a little while longer.
5. The Night Shift – What show is this you might ask? Well, it’s a mid-season series set to air on NBC next year about the men and women who work late shifts at San Antonio Memorial. Think Grey’s Anatomy combined with a more serious version of Night Court, starring (among others) Eoin Macken (one of the hunks from Merlin), Brendan Fehr (from Roswell) and Jill Flint (from Royal Pains). Why are they on this list? Well, the show has been given an order for three additional scripts before the show has even aired.
6. Lucky 7 – The ABC series about lottery winners crashed and burned after only two episodes, getting pulled by the network and was briefly replaced by repeats of the hot-as-hell Scandal. [More on Scandal further down the page.] Ouch, right?
7. Ironside – The NBC drama that is a loosely-based remake of the 1960’s-1970’s classic TV series aired only three episodes this month, getting pulled from the schedule (and essentially canceled) a little over a week ago, making it the second new drama to be gone before it even really got started. This is sad because the show did have promise and a great deal of appeal thanks to lead star Blair Underwood.
8. Hostages – Despite a big publicity push and the fact the show is on the normally unstoppable CBS, this Dylan McDermott-Toni Collette-led series is tanking, losing viewers, sadly, in droves week after week. It is barely pulling in 5 million viewers and it’s only a little over a month old. Not a good sign at all
9. Betrayal – This ABC show about, basically, cheating spouses, started out of the gate with a disadvantage or two. It’s got the Sunday night at 10 PM timeslot on the network, has received a lot of bad press (regardless of the “praise” the trailers for the show have lavished on viewers in a poor attempt to draw in more viewers) and an even worse premise. The show has been earning 3 million viewers or less since its third airing at the beginning of the month so I don’t see it lasting much longer.
10. Once Upon a Time in Wonderland – The ABC spin-off series was one of the most-anticipated new shows of the fall, but when it debuted on October 10, the ratings were less than stellar. Only 5.7 million viewers tuned in to the premiere episode and in its subsequent two airings has seen its numbers fall more. The show has a full season order (for an undisclosed number of episodes) and with these low ratings, I cannot see it continuing beyond its debut season.
As for the returning shows on all of the major networks, here is how things are panning out for them:
1. Revenge – Coming back for a third year on ABC after a lackluster sophomore season, the once hot-to-trot soap opera found itself earning disappointing ratings despite a resurgence in storylines reminiscent of its freshman year – thanks in great part to new showrunner Sunil Nayal. The show has gradually dropped in ratings every week and will, more likely than not, have a hard time getting a season renewal.
2. Nashville – Another ABC series that was much anticipated last season but that praise ended up coming back to bite the show in the ass; and unfortunately, the series is having a repeat performance of less than favorable ratings since its season premiere at the end of September. The decline in ratings has been very slight, but it will probably be enough to bring the show to a close at the end of this season if not sooner.
3. Once Upon a Time – ABC is really not having a banner year so far this fall, with the return of the once beyond-belief, magical series that captivated viewers during its debut year which, remarkably, was just two seasons ago. Last season it faltered and this season seems to be continuing the decline; sadly, when the show is somewhat making a comeback from last year at least in terms of a better storyline.
4. Beauty And the Beast – Despite a very rabid and devoted fan base that is extremely social-media savvy, The CW remake of the classic 1980’s series is having a tough time on its new night thanks to competition from reality programming and this fall’s new hit series Sleepy Hollow. The change of pace in story-telling; namely, the change in lead character Vincent – he has no memory of now girlfriend Catherine, best friend J.T. or much of anything for that matter – may also have had a major effect on the ratings as the series is well off its average from last year, which had the series on the near-cancellation block all season long. This time it may actually stick.
5. Castle – The one shining light for ABC is the consistency of its long-running cop drama that is now in its fifth season. The Nathan Fillion-Stana Katic-led series is maintaining nearly the same ratings as it earned at the end of last season. The fact that the show has escaped the legendary “Moonlighting” curse – when the lead characters fall in love with an impending marriage in the somewhat, possible near future – and has held onto its great mix of action, comedy and drama speaks volumes for the talents both on and behind the screen as well as the fans’ devotion to the show.
6. Parenthood – While the NBC family drama has a certain level of success with fringe viewers, so far this season the show has dropped from its average from last year by nearly 2 points. In fact, it had an all-time low of only 3 million viewers just a few weeks ago but has risen back up to a steady 4 million viewers so it might be safe for now.
7. NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles – Both CBS dramas are the most-watched shows on network TV overall and while both shows have seen a slight drop in their respective ratings so far this season, they are still holding strong in overall viewers. Pretty impressive when you think about how long NCIS has been on the air – it is now in its 10th season – and its progeny just celebrated its 100th episode a few weeks ago. The recent departure of NCIS series lead Cote de Pablo also helped the show reach high ratings as the two-part opener scored high numbers.
8. Revolution – This NBC post-apocalyptic series had a tough run last season; and that seems to be the case again this year. The drop in ratings can be attributed to several factors: 1) the show is now on at 8 PM on Wednesday nights and 2) a great number of viewers just gave up on it in the first season and chose not to return for its sophomore attempt. The fact that the storylines have not, sadly, been much better than the show’s off-kilter (for the most part) freshman season, I would say this year will be the last we see of the series. Not even fan favorite Aaron can save the series.
9. Supernatural – Unlike Beauty And the Beast, this long-running sci-fi series over on The CW has not been hurt by yet another programming change: this time to Tuesday nights at 9 PM. The fans of this Jensen Ackles-Jared Padalecki-led series are a loyal bunch, following the show no matter where it is on the prime time line-up. In fact, the show’s 9th season opener earned higher ratings than the show’s finale this past May and has held a solid 2.3 million viewers over the last two weeks. A 10th season just might be in the cards for this fan favorite.
10. Scandal – Gladiators rock! The fans of this much-buzzed-about Washington-set soap opera from ABC have been busy watching this show to see what next out-of-this-world storyline develops. So much so that the series saw a nearly 2 point increase in its overall ratings, jumping from an average of 8.2 for the latter part of its previous season to almost 10 million viewers weekly this season. I would say that despite the ape-shit crazy antics of all the members of the White House and Olivia Pope & Associates, Scandal is here to stay for quite awhile.
As always, if you are looking for details on comedies (new or returning); sadly, I don’t focus on that form of TV entertainment; but I certainly hope you will comment below on what new and returning dramas you are most enjoying so far this fall.