The 2011-12 TV season is drawing to a close and as we say goodbye to our favorite shows (some for good and others till September) we are also getting our first glimpse into next year’s TV season. While I’d like to do some seasonal reviews of my favorite shows of this past season, I thought I’d take a look at the upcoming one and see what it holds come fall-time.
By now all four major networks (and the CW) have announced their fall schedules and one thing is becoming abundantly clear – genre TV is seriously at risk. To be clear, when I say genre TV I refer to shows that have elements of the fantastic or science-fictional to them. So, while shows like Castle or Community like to play with genre stipulations, they are still set in the real world (to an extent) and thus, are not truly genre shows. So, judging by the shows picked up for next year (I’ll get to existing shows in a bit), it seems the networks are staying far away from genre TV. Of the main four networks’ (CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox) new shows, only two can really be counted genre shows – Revolution and 666 Park Avenue. The CW has slightly more offerings, with its new Green Arrow-based Arrow and a modern, Twilight-inspired adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. Other than these, and a select few other genre-friendly (but not, strictly speaking, genre shows) the networks are dedicating themselves to comedies (and a crapload of those), procedurals and singing competitions. As a genre fan, I’m sad.
That is not to say that I don’t understand the reasoning behind the aversion the networks seem to have for genre shows. They almost always seem to have less viewers, and last year there were many new shows that didn’t pan out and were cancelled. Some, like J.J. Abrahms Alcatraz or Spielberg’s Terra Nova were very heavily publicized before tanking. In fact, the only shows to survive the “great 2012 genre massacre” are, strangely, the two “fairy-tale creatures in the real world” shows, Grimm and Once Upon a Time.
So it seems the next year, barring any new surprised from the cable networks, will be a pretty dry year for us genre fans. What really interests me, however, is the following year – the 2013-14 TV season. The two “big” remaining genre shows to return next year, in my opinion”, are Fringe and Supernatural. The former is going to air its last season this year and latter needs to be put out of its misery, so I’m not sure a 9th season in two years is a good idea. I’m interested to see whether this is the beginning of a trend and genre shows will simply disappear from network TV or whether it will create a vacuum that will be filled by new shows come 2013.