Programming for Summer TV 2014 slightly upped its ante. The season, which is generally a downtime for television shows as many go on a hiatus, is usually associated with reruns and unscripted programming or reality TV series. But this year, a horde of new original scripted series aired; some were hits and some were misses. Read on to learn more about Summer TV 2014’s highlights and low points as we look back.
The fantasy historical drama based on a book by Diana Gabaldon was one of summer’s surprises. The show, which runs of Starz, is proving to be a hit for the cable network, which has already ordered additional episodes for the first season, while confirming a second season pick-up. “Outlander” averages 5 million viewers weekly with repeat viewing, according to Zap2it, and the reviews from critics have mostly been favorable.
CBS was banking on Halle Berry’s star power for this summer sci-fi drama. But the show received tepid feedback. Its ratings also dwindled after the pilot episode, so much so that the network pushed back “Extant” at a later time slot. It still struggled against competition “Taxi Brooklyn” on NBC, which didn’t even have an Oscar-winner in its cast. With CBS airing double episodes of “Extant” in the last few weeks, this signals the network’s intention to get rid of the show. As The Hollywood Reporter (THR) aptly puts it: big stars don’t guarantee big hits.
HIT: “Sharknado 2: The Second One”
After an astounding social media buzz for “Sharknado” last year, the sequel drew over 4 million viewers when it aired last June. “Sharknado” is one of those bad, bad TV movies viewers can’t help but watch; and it looks like the show has spawned a franchise. A third installment is being cooked up for next summer. The show airs on SyFy.
MISS: Imports – “Working the Engels,” “Seed” and “Backpackers”
The CW’s experiment bombed when its imported comedy series “Seed” and “Backpackers” barely received viewership. The shows were instantly canceled after the first episode. “Seed” is a Canadian original show, while “Backpackers” is a web-series.
Meanwhile, NBC’s “Working the Engels,” which also comes from Canada, was pulled out after a few episodes for the same reasons: ratings and viewership. The network’s other import, the Swedish/American series “Welcome to Sweden” is at least faring better.
HIT: “The Last Ship”
Genre shows, or those that draw a niche audience, was the order of business for Summer TV 2014, with series like “Outlander” (fantasy period drama), “Extant” (sci-fi drama), “The Knick” (period medical drama), “The Strain” (sci-fi drama), “Halt & Catch Fire” (period drama), “Tyrant” (political drama) and “Manhattan” (period drama) filling the programming. But none was bigger than “The Last Ship” (sci-fi action drama), which drew 14.4 million viewers when it premiered last June, according to THR. Shows don’t usually get high ratings like this during summer season; “The Last Ship” has been the exception. As expected, the series returns in summer 2015.
HIT/MISS: “The Leftovers”
HBO’s rapture-based series had so much buzz weeks before its June premiere. There were high expectations, considering the people behind the show are some of TV’s most sought after creators and writers. Overall early reviews have also been positive. But week after week, the show has turned off viewers for its very depressing premise. Nobody will argue that it’s a well-written series, but why is “The Leftovers” so bleak, dark and sad? HBO, however, has confidence in the show. It has been renewed for a second season, so it’s both a hit and a miss.
So, there you go, our assessment of Summer TV 2014’s programming hits and misses. Which TV show did you follow over the summer? We’re heading for Fall TV 2014 next, so keep following Movie News Guide (MNG) for regular updates.
Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons/Folkhack Studios