TV hell week is over: 15 sci-fi shows that survived the culling, 8 that did not

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Apr 29, 2019, 6:26 AM EDT (Updated)

The bloody, terrible culling -- aka the week before network TV up-fronts -- has come to an end. Gather ‘round, sci-fi fans, we have some good news and some bad news.

Some of the higher-profile shows survived largely on their potential (we’re looking at you, S.H.I.E.L.D.), though quite a few ratings-challenged fan favorites were not so lucky. The TV networks spent the past week making hard decisions about next season, and the landscape this week is awash with blood and desperate fan petitions.

So, what were the sci-fi shows that debuted this past season on the major networks and actually survived? Sleepy Hollow, The 100, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Resurrection. That’s really about it. Everything else? From Almost Human to Once Upon a Time: Wonderland (which was actually canned months ago) bit the proverbial dust. 

Looking solely at freshman series that premiered the past season on network TV, approximately seven were canceled and approximately four were renewed. Numbers-wise, the successes are batting around a 36 percent renewal rate, which is right on par with the general success-failure average across all genres. Admittedly, those aren’t the greatest of odds. Taking that into account, you can go ahead and bet that at least 60 percent of those buzzy new shows we’re dying to see this fall won’t make it too far into the new year.

What can we learn from that? The same thing network execs figured out a long time ago, which is that TV viewers are a fickle bunch and you can never predict what might hit and what might miss. So just cast as wide a net as possible and hope you beat everyone else to the “Next Big Thing.” Perfect example: Sleepy Hollow was a Hail Mary of insane proportions — and now it’s one of Fox’s biggest shows. As for J.J. Abrams and Alfonso Cuaron’s highly touted Believe over at NBC? I believe it’s long gone.

We’re wrapped up all the network sci-fi pickups and renewals below for your perusal, so we all know what familiar shows we will (and won’t) be seeing around this fall. Note: Cable networks also tried to hone in a bit on this week of chaos, so we’ve thrown in the handful of cable shows that were renewed this week as a heads-up.