American genre TV is flourishing at the moment and fantasy fans are spoilt for choice with a huge range of shows encompassing superheroes, dark horror, teen adventure, high concept action thrillers, and virtually everything in between. But there are always winners and losers and the fate of at least three ‘new’ genre series has been revealed this week and for two of them, at least, things are looking rosy.
It may not have found favour on (Channel) 5 in the UK (or at least not with its schedulers, who tore it out of its Monday night 10pm timeslot citing poor ratings) but Syfy’s original series Helix, created by Battlestar Galactica’s Ronald D Moore and starring Billy (Rocketeer) Campbell has been renewed for a second season after posting decent ratings Stateside. The series is set in Antarctica where a group of scientists from the Centers for Disease Control arrive to investigate a mysterious and fatal viral outbreak. The second thirteen-episode season is expected to air early in 2015. Incidentally, UK screenings have now been shunted off to 5’s sister channel 5*, where it now screens on Saturday evenings, rerunning from the very beginning.
Meanwhile Robert Rodriguez’s ten-episode series From Dusk Till Dawn, based on his 1996 feature film and airing on Rodriguez’s own El Ray cable network in the States, has already been renewed for a second season after just three episodes of its first run have been screened. The series retools and adds to the story of the original feature film and stars DJ Cotrono as Seth Gecko and Zane Holtz as Richie Gecko. From Dusk Till Dawn is available to UK viewers as an ‘exclusive’ on the Netflix streaming service with episodes being available the day after their US debut.
Finally, ABC’s Once Upon A Time in Wonderland, a spin-off from the successful fantasy drama Once Upon a Time, has been cancelled. The series, based on Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was written and created by the creators of the parent series and originally intended to run as a limited ‘mini-series’ when Once Upon a Time was itself off the air but with the potential for further episodes. The show, which starred Sophie Lowe, Michael (Being Human UK) Socca, Iggy Pop and Whoopi Goldberg, eventually aired in the US from October in a notoriously-difficult Thursday night slot (opposite the phenomenally-popular comedy The Big Bang Theory on the CBS network) and failed to find a substantial audience. The final episode will air in the US on April 3rd.
News is expected soon on the fate of other ‘new’ US genre shows including Agents of SHIELD and The Tomorrow People. With the CW Network having already renewed most of their line-up of teen-friendly fantasy dramas, rumours abound that The Tomorrow People, yet to be renewed and constantly posting weak ratings Stateside, will not be back for a second season.
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