The past few days have brought a wealth of news on the fates of various TV shows currently on the air, some good, some promising and some fatal. The cutthroat world of television is designed to identify underperforming shows as quickly as possible so they can be eliminated, and while that axe-happy mentality has softened with the advent of more ways for a show to make money beyond initial broadcast (DVDs, streaming) that’s probably of little comfort to the cast and crew of Dominion right now.
The science fiction drama, which wrapped up it’s thirteen episode second season earlier this month, has been cancelled by Syfy after a sophomore effort that was plagued by unimpressive ratings. Dominion was based on the 2010 film Legion, which followed the Archangel Michael (Paul Bettany; The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Transcendance) as he defects from the forces of Heaven after Judgement Day is initiated. Michael tasks himself with the protection of a pregnant woman who is carrying the saviour of humanity. The film received overwhelmingly negative reviews but if you accepted it for the dumb action horror movie that it was it was fun enough.
Dominion takes place decades later as the remnants of humanity exist scattered in various settlements across an apocalyptic wasteland still controlled by angels. The show, developed by Vaun Wilmott (Sons of Anarchy), followed the now grown unborn child from the film and also featured several returning characters like the Archangel Michael who continues to safeguard the “Chosen One”, as the man has come to be known, as he attempts to save humanity from total extinction. The show was actually quite good and it did a decent job of establishing a thought out world, set largely in the ruins of Las Vegas, one of the few remaining human outposts. It also boasted an extremely talented cast featuring Christopher Egan (Kings, Resident Evil: Extinction), Tom Wisdom (300, The Boat That Rocked), Roxanne McKee (Game of Thrones, Hollyoaks), Luke Allen-Gale (Captain America: The First Avenger, The Secret World of Arrietty), Kim Engelbrecht (Eye in the Sky, Death Race: Inferno), Shivani Ghai (London Has Fallen, EastEnders), Carl Beukes (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, The Girl), Alan Dale (Ugly Betty, The O.C.) and Anthony Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Merlin).
The showrunners had previously talked about the idea of introducing Lucifer as an antagonist for a potential third season, but now the show will instead be left with a huge, unresolved cliffhanger. In a statement following the cancellation, Syfy thanked the creative team and said that “Led by Vaun Wilmott, the talented cast, producers, writers and crew of Dominion have done a tremendous job bringing this ambitious, cinematic series to the screen over the past two seasons.”
Joining the programme in cancellation will be The CW’s Beauty and the Beast, based on the 1987 CBS show of the same name and of course, the classic fairy tale. Developed by Sherri Cooper-Landsman (Unforgettable, Brothers & Sisters) and Jennifer Levin (Felicity, Without a Trace), the show moved the beloved story into a contemporary setting and followed a young woman who is caught up with a thought to be dead soldier who harbors an incredible secret and may be connected to her mother’s murder nine years earlier.
The show received overwhelmingly negative reviews and quickly bled viewers from it’s very first episode, but it surprised many by limping along for years despite it’s terrible ratings. The previously announced fourth season will serve as the show’s last, The CW confirmed, but it remains unclear whether the programme, which is just finishing production, had enough warning for the writers to craft a proper ending.
The show, which stars Kristin Kreuk (Smallville, Chuck), Jay Ryan (Top of the Lake, Neighbours), Austin Basis (Life Unexpected, Supernatural), Nina Lisandrello (The Best and the Brightest, The Bleeding) and Nicole Gale Anderson (Ravenswood, Pretty Little Liars), will air it’s final season sometime in 2016.
In happier news, Disney XD has issued a second season renewal to it’s new animated Guardians of the Galaxy series which premiered last month. The series, which follows the family friendly adventures of Star Lord, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Gamora and Drax, will air a second season of the show in 2017 alongside feature film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. The sophomore season will apparently see the Guardians discover an ancient weapon that draws the attention of countless villains.
Marvel’s President of TV, Publishing and Brand Management Dan Buckley said of the renewal: “We are thrilled at the positive response to Guardians from fans of all ages, and we are looking forward to bringing them more adventures with these dynamic characters. There are so many possibilities with the Guardians franchise, and Season 2 will take viewers even deeper into this rich universe,” while Marc Buhaj, the SVP Programming and General Manager at Disney XD noted that “The team at Marvel Animation continues to deliver great stories that capture the tone and spirit of the feature film and provide entirely new chapters to the Guardians of the Galaxy story”.
The series features the voice talent of Will Friedle (Boy Meets World, Transformers Prime Beast Hunters: Predacons Rising), Trevor Devall (X-Men: Evolution, Stargate Atlantis), Vanessa Marshall (Star Wars: Rebels, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox), Kevin Michael Richardson (Lilo & Stitch, Green Lantern: The Animated Series), David Sobolov (The Flash, Beast Wars: Transformers), Dave Fennoy (Ultimate Avengers 2, Ben 10: Destroy All Aliens), Isaac Singleton Jr. (Avengers Assemble, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl), Cree Summer (Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Clifford the Big Red Dog) and James Arnold Taylor (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Ratchet and Clank).
Finally, three lucky shows have been issued full season orders from their networks. Most new shows are only given an initial thirteen episode order to see if they sink or swim and on occasion there’ll be a returning show whose season is expanded to fill scheduling holes or because it’s seen a ratings bump. These season expansions are known colloquially as the “back nine” referring to the fact that the episode number is usually raised by nine to bring the show to a full 22 episode season. NBC’s smash hit Blindspot, which follows a amnesiac woman found in a suitcase in Times Square covered in tattoos connected to various crimes, has received stellar ratings since it’s debut and has scored a back nine as a result. Over on ABC, the successful new thriller Quantico, following an on the run government agent accused of committing a terrorist attack, quickly followed suit but only with six episodes, expanding the season to a total of nineteen. This unusual number may be due to ABC’s strong midseason line up which includes several shows that seem likely to make an impact.
Also on ABC, Fresh Off the Boat has scored a back nine for it’s second season following a strong and consistent ratings performance. The comedy, which follows a family that recently immigrated to the United States, had only been given a thirteen episode order for it’s second season but it will now be back for the duration of the 2015 – 2016 season. Fox’s Minority Report adaptation, which is basically a more overtly sci fi version of Person of Interest, hasn’t been so lucky however. It’s received horrific ratings and Fox has responded by cutting the episode order from thirteen to ten. This indicates that the show is all but cancelled, though it has been said that the tenth episode will act as a series finale if it has to.