Movies & TV / Columns

The Movies/TV 8 Ball: The Top 8 Shows That Need to Be Renewed

March 7, 2017 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas

Top 8 Shows That Need to Be Renewed

Welcome, one and all, to the 8 Ball in the Movie Zone! I’m your host Jeremy Thomas and as always, we will be tackling a topic and providing you the top eight selections of that particular category. Keep in mind that this list is meant to be my personal opinion and not a definitive list. You’re free to disagree; you can even say my list is wrong, but stating that an opinion is “wrong” is just silly. With that in mind, let’s get right in to it!

We’re into March now, and that’s getting into the final stretch of the television season. The network upfront presentations are in May and that’s when the new fall season will be unveiled, meaning that there will be a lot of decisions made in the coming weeks about the fates of our favorite shows. As readers of my new weekly TV Renewal Predictions column will know, there are a lot of shows that may not make it to the fall and some of them are well worth watching. This week I thought it would be a good opportunity to take a look at the broadcast networks’ series that have yet to earn a renewal and see which ones really deserve another season.

Caveat: For simplicity’s sake, I kept my list specifically to broadcast network shows from the 2016 – 2017 season. Cable shows (both basic cable and premium) have different schedules than the regular fall-to-spring season thanks to their shorter episode count, so I left them off the list. I limited my show selection pool to those shows that have not gotten renewed or canceled already. If the show was in the “Likely Cancellation” to “Likely Renewal” range on my TV Renewal Predictions column, it was eligible. I’ve included my current predictions for each show in the list as they stood in this week’s prediction column.

Just Missing the Cut

Emerald City (Likely Cancellation)
Quantico (Likely Cancellation)
The 100 (On the Bubble)
The Blacklist (On the Bubble)
Designated Survivor (Likely Renewal)

#8: The Exorcist
Current Prediction: Likely Cancellation

First up on our list is a show whose prospects may not be strong, but it certainly deserves a chance to shine again. Few had any great expectations when FOX announced that they were developing a television series based on iconic horror film The Exorcist. Not only was it hallowed ground in terms of horror films, but it didn’t seem like a story that you could realistically tell into a compelling episodic format. And yet, somehow creator Jeremy Slater managed to make it work. He did so by allowing the series to unfold not as a direct adaptation of the original film and novel, but instead by creating an intriguing modern take on the tale. With a stellar cast that includes Geena Davis, Alfonso Herrera and Ben Daniels leading the way, the series often functions like a drama about the power of faith as opposed to a horror story and the first season’s ten episodes allowed for more shades of gray than a film format in tackling those themes. There’s still plenty of unnerving moments as well, of course. Buried on Friday nights, The Exorcist never got much of a chance to shine but it would be nice to see it get a second run, perhaps as a summer series where ratings demands are lower.

#7: Scream Queens
Current Prediction: Likely Cancellation

It’s unfortunate that Scream Queens never took off ratings-wise, because it’s one of the more consistently-funny shows on network television. Unlike some of the series on this list there really isn’t much excuse for this; the show is on its second season and FOX had every opportunity to market this one successfully, but they never found the right niche and even getting a second season was a surprise. That gamble paid off fairly well in terms of quality, even if it just sunk ever deeper from a viewership perspective. After the first season found plenty of humor in skewering college slasher flicks, the second season went to a hospital and added some good names to the cast. I didn’t have high expectations for Taylor Lautner but he delivered well as one of the two doctors at Dean Munsch’s hospital for incurable diseases and John Stamos was a blast as a doctor with an evil transplanted hand. Season two was a bit less funny at times than the first, simply due to the law of diminishing returns, but the Chanels kept the humor flowing and the story kept those few viewers remaining watching along. This show has the least chance of survival of any of the series on this list and perhaps that’s for the best, but I would love to see what comes next after how the second run wrapped up.

#6: Powerless
Current Prediction: Likely Cancellation

With the amount of sketchy buzz it had early on, it’s hard to think that Powerless ever had a chance. DC Comic’s first attempt at television comedy had a strong premise: take a look at what the normal people in the DC Universe do in order to survive when there are costumed metahumans levelling cities to fight one another. But the show found itself pushed to midseason amidst a retooling that saw the entire setting — an insurance company dealing with policies that figure in superhero fights — changed out for a new one following a less-than-stellar initial screening. The final result was a much stronger effort creatively, even if the cancellation specter loomed high by the time it began in February. The cast is incredibly game in this workplace comedy, with Vanessa Hudgens doing fine work ahead a great supporting cast that includes Alan Tudyk, Danny Pudi and Ron Funches, and the show has a lot of fun combining superhero and sitcom tropes with a bit of meta-commentary laced in as well. This series has quickly gotten its feet underneath itself and while it may be too late to save it, that’ll be a shame because more often than not it’s genuinely funny.

#5: Gotham
Current Prediction: Likely Renewal

Unlike the other shows on FOX to make this list, Gotham’s renewal chances are bright. The Batman-prequel series has been a solid ratings performer for the network and while it never became the breakout hit that the network hoped, it has managed to help bring stability to FOX Mondays along with the already-renewed Lucifer. Ratings aside, if you had asked me whether I particularly hoped for its renewal after the first season I would have shrugged. The first run was an incredibly uneven affair that tried to be too many things at once and suffered for it. It wasn’t until midway through the second season that the show really found its groove, and since then it’s been a shockingly enjoyable series. Season three has been its best yet, bringing back Jerome for an inspired arc that has made several sly references to the comics (including the hallowed “Death of the Family” New 52 arc) and brought in the Court of Owls on a slow, solid burn. David Mazour and Camren Bicondova have really grown into their own as Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle, while Erin Richards’ Barbara Gordon — one of the worst parts of season one — has become a highlight of the show alongside Robin Lord Taylor and Cory Michael Smith’s Penguin and Riddler. It’s very likely to come back for a fourth season due to being close to the magic syndication number of 88 episodes if nothing else, and I’m looking forward to seeing the show finish out season three when it comes back in April.

#4: Riverdale
Current Prediction: Likely Renewal

The CW’s Riverdale is currently sitting at likely to be renewed, although it’s less of a sure thing than Gotham. The smallest of the broadcast networks may not hit the ratings heights of the “Big Four,” but for fans of genre television it’s generally been firing on about every cylinder over the last few years (Frequency and No Tomorrow not included). Still, I have to admit to coming into Riverdale with a certain amount of skepticism. As much as Archie Comics has been doing great things with the property in unique ways over the last few years, I wasn’t sure if it would translate into an episodic series very well. As it turned out, my concerns were unjustified and it has quickly turned into another must-see series on the network. Riverdale doesn’t go completely crazy like the Afterlife with Archie did via supernatural elements; instead it has made the series with an “Archie meets Twin Peaks” tone that just works. The young cast are quickly growing into their roles and the more veteran adult cast members are holding up there end nicely, while the central mystery — which surrounds comic book character’s Jason Blossom’s death — has stayed interesting. Riverdale is a moderate performer and it could end up a surprise cancellation, but if that happens it would be a damned shame.

#3: iZombie
Current Prediction: Too Early to Call

I debated whether putting iZombie on the list, as the show hasn’t actually debuted its third season yet. But the series hasn’t been renewed and is part of the 2016 – 2017 schedule, so it certainly fits. What’s more, the Rob Thomas-created show may find itself in its toughest renewal fight to date as it competes against the likes of Riverdale, The 100 and The Originals for the network’s last renewal slots. The network has already renewed most of its other shows and with new shows almost certainly on the way — and only two likely cancellations in Frequency and No Tomorrow — it seems unlikely that all four shows survive. iZombie is one of the most consistently entertaining genre shows on television and definitely deserves to get one of the remaining renewals. Thomas is an expert at subverting tropes and twisting expectations and with the great cast of Rose McIver, Malcolm Goodwin, Rahul Kohli, Robert Buckley, David Anders and Aly Michalka having constant chemistry between them, even episodes where the plot slips are fun. Season two ended on an interesting note as Liv found out that there is a zombie army about to make Seattle their kind’s international headquarters. There’s a lot of great places for that to go and I’m looking forward to seeing how it develops, and hopefully what will go down in season four as well.

#2: Blindspot
Current Prediction: Likely Cancellation

Blindspot has had a rough time in its second season, making a quick transition from being NBC’s new hit series into the network’s new sophomore slumper. It’s a common problem for the network; Revolution was the most notable recent example but there have been many other shows that started off strong (usually thanks to a Voice-boosted fall) and then drop off once they’re moved away. The Jamie Alexander and Sullivan Stapleton-led serial action-drama was the latest victim of the network’s scheduling, being bumped to 8 PM on Thursdays and having trouble finding traction with audiences who lost track of the show and its somewhat convoluted storyline. But after a slight slip in momentum early on, Martin Gero’s series has been back on point in terms of the storyline. Alexander and Stapleton are great, but they’re just two good actors in a show full of them and the twists and turns took a big risk by veering into an unexpected direction for the second run, but it’s paid off. Sadly, the series’ prospects seem dim right now unless Taken tanks in its second and successive weeks followed by other shows falling apart, but this is one low performer I would love to continue watching. Or at least a spin-off featuring Patterson (hopefully with a first name at last).

#1: Agents of SHIELD
Current Prediction: On the Bubble

Some sites are predicting that Agents of SHIELD is a long-shot to get a fifth season, and I would acknowledge that there’s a certain merit in that argument if you just look at the numbers without context (as those sites do). The sole Marvel series currently on the air is performing at numbers that would be embarrassing at any other timeslot, the show is past the magic number of eighty-eight episodes for stripped syndication and the fact that Marvel has Inhumans coming in the fall means that there isn’t necessarily a need to keep this show around for that Marvel/ABC corporate synergy. But there are a lot of factors in SHIELD’s favor, including how poorly ABC is doing as a whole this season not to mention the fact that Inhumans is only eight episodes, leaving the network with quite the potential hole. It also doesn’t hurt that Agents of SHIELD is in the middle of its best season yet from a quality level, transitioning nicely from the much-hyped Ghost Rider arc into the tightly-plotted LMD “pod” and setting up the upcoming “Agents of Hydra” final arc. SHIELD may not be the best ratings performer ABC has (although not much is doing great on that network), but it has stayed stable in its ratings for much of this season and at the very least a shortened fifth season would seem to make sense. I certainly hope that’s the case, as with the improvement from season to season and the ever-impressive work of the cast this has come from behind over the last four years to become perhaps the best comic book series on broadcast television and I’d be very sad to see it go.

And that will do it for us this week! Join me next week for another edition of the 8-Ball! Until then, have a good week and don’t forget to read the many other great columns, news articles and more here at! JT out.