As NBC’s premiere of “Revolution” approaches lets a take a look back at past mystery/scifi series and break down why they failed or weren’t long term rating successes.
First off any series in the category or even just the drama category can’t last forever. Theses shows need to come to a conclusion before the creative runs out along with the viewers. I would say shows that last 4-5 seasons as had a solid run. As is proven theses types of show depend on you seeing all the episodes and with that said from premiere to end date they experience continually ratings declines and seldom grow over their run.
This is why networks won’t chance renewing a new series in this category with mediocre rating as the past has proven they will continue to decline.
Heroes 2006-2010 (Monday’s 9/8c)
Airing on the very competitive Monday night the show performed strong for 3 of its 4 years. Its a show that would I would deem successful though most won’t as the story lost its edge over the course of the series.
ABC’s FlashForward 2009-2010 (Thursday’s 8/7c)
Compelling premise which lead to a very strong start on very competitive time slot while other networks focused on comedy’s for their Thursday lineup. The show struggled to find its footing as it went about having episodes focusing on a certain character and the audience didn’t have the patience for it. Those that suck around found all the little details were adding to the larger plot, but by then it was too late.
FOX’s Terra Nova
Airing in the competitive Monday slot the very expensive show didn’t fall drastically but well lower then what FOX needed for them to make it worth renewing. Mediocre means canceled for these types of shows which was unfortunately the case for Terra Nova.
NBC’s The Event 2010-2011 (Monday’s 9/8c)
Strong right out of the gate but by episode three rating had fallen drastically. The show used a series of flashbacks spanning 66 years to tell the story which led the viewers to need to pay close attention to understand what was going on. After a mid season hiatus and attempts to relaunch the show it premiered without the all the flashbacks but it was too late as nearly half the viewers had abandoned the show.
ABC’s Missing (Thursday’s 8/7c)
ABC’s second try on a series that would only get ten episodes a season instead of the regular twenty two in an effort to keep creative high (No filler episodes). Cable networks have done this well but not broadcast networks. The series already facing the dreaded time slot left critic’s and viewers wondering how long a show about a mom trying to find her son could last. The show never found its footing.
AMC’s The Killing 2011-2012 (Sunday’s at 9/8c)
The prime example of having a strong show but having the network mismanage viewer expectations. The show was always intended to be a two season murder investigation but AMC’s promotions hinted it would be solved by the end of season one. The show never recovered its ratings drop in season two and was canceled.