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Why Superheroes and Horror Shows are Taking Over TV

Why Superheroes and Horror Shows are Taking Over TV

TV is as Close to a DC Universe As Fans Will Get

Comic book fans are split into two camps: DC Comics and Marvel Comics. Despite kicking off the superhero movie concept with “Superman” (in 1978) and “Batman” (1989), DC Comics has struggled to produce franchises outside those two American icons since. Marvel, meanwhile, with “Iron Man,” “Thor,” “Captain America” and, of course, “The Avengers,” has not only established a universe all its own, where characters can jump in and out of each other’s stories, but has also taken over a genre. There are no more action movies (of note) — just superhero films.

So even though any old fool can see the DC characters are deeper with richer stories to tell, fans have been forced to watch “Captain America” imitate “Iron Man” (seriously — a black fighter pilot sidekick in both?) while waiting for Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment to get their collective shit together (don’t bet on it happening any time soon — not with Zach Snyder at the helm). Luckily, The CW is creating a superhero haven all its own on the small screen. “The Flash” premiered to the best numbers the fifth major network has seen in five years (4.8 million viewers) and even managed to boost the totals of its predecessor, “Arrow,” when it arrived a night later (up from 2.7 million to 2.8). In its timeslot, “The Flash” had the best ratings since “Gilmore Girls” aired its series finale seven years ago. 

We’ll wait to see how well the numbers hold for Episode 2, but DC fans should consider looking to TV for their storytelling fix. 

READ MORE: Indiewire’s 2014 Fall TV Bible: Reviews, Interviews, and Everything You Need to Watch Right Now

American Horror Story” May Never End

Apparently people are very interested in seeing a Freak Show as long as Ryan Murphy is behind it. The fourth season of the horror anthology series again topped the premiere numbers of its last year, luring in more than 6.1 million viewers to its twisted circus tent. The number nearly doubles the total viewers who tuned in for the second season premiere of “AHS” in 2011 (3.18 million), and topped last year’s “Coven” premiere by almost 600,000.

Its 3.11 rating in adults 18-49 also topped the major networks’ drama offerings on Wednesday night, with the critically-reviled CBS series “Stalker” coming closest with a 1.7 rating. For comparison, the ratings behemoth “Modern Family” nabbed a 3.6 rating, and that’s with all the advantages the Emmy-winning ABC comedy has already.

These ratings not only bode well for “AHS” fans — and clearly, there are plenty of you — but for the horror genre in general. TV has become a very welcome host for horror. With critical hits like “Penny Dreadful” and “Hannibal” as well as commercial juggernauts like “The Walking Dead” (which earned a Season 6 renewal before Season 5 even began), the Golden Age of TV has found plenty of room for cinema’s artistically ignored genre. The Emmys have already given more Emmy to “AHS” than the Oscars to every horror movie ever made. Expect that gap to keep growing as more and more fans flock to the small screen.

READ MORE: Before ‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ There Was Tod Browning’s ‘Freaks’

“Survivor’s Remorse” Gets a Season 2 Pick Up Despite Low Ratings?

Consider this a half-court miracle shot that somehow found its way to the hole. Though Lebron James can hit those with eery consistency, odds were much lower that Starz would give the go ahead to more of the EP’s new show, “Survivor’s Remorse,” after ratings came in well-below par (sorry — mixing my sports metaphors). Despite garnering just 203,000 viewers for its 9pm Saturday night premiere — a favored timeslot for Starz — the half-hour comedy is riding a wave of critical praise (albeit mild) to a new season. 

Including the free online preview numbers as well as many airings on Starz, the numbers for “Survivor’s Remorse” did jump to 1.3 million in its opening week — but that’s almost beside the point. Starz seems to be in the market of attracting new demographics. After all, they’re not as reliant on ratings as broadcast networks because they’re not selling ad space — they’re aiming at new subscribers. “Survivor’s Remorse” is the only original comedy airing on Starz, and it also attracts sports fans who may not be interested in watching “Outlander” or even “Black Sails.” The pickup makes sense given the low-risk, high-reward potential of a comedy in need of time to grow.

Of course, having Lebron James’ name attached probably didn’t hurt. 

READ MORE: Review: ‘Survivor’s Remorse’ is ‘Entourage’ with Sports, But It’s No LeBron James

Weekly Round-Up:

Homeland” might be on its way out. Despite debuting back-to-back episodes in its two-hour premiere, the Emmy-winning drama saw ratings drop compared to the Season 3 bow. Showtime attracted 1.61 million Sunday, but that’s over 200,000 less than tuned in a year earlier. The show is going through a big change after a climactic resolution to its central story last season, so the network will be monitoring its awards-contender closely to see if the audience will follow Carrie on a solo outing.

“Gracepoint” isn’t as good as “Broadchurch,” and it won’t run as long either. Even though the original ITV series was sold as a miniseries, it proved so popular the network renewed it for a second run. Fox followed the same formula with its remake, calling it an event series, but things aren’t looking as rosy for the critically-ravaged drama. “Gracepoint” premiered to a respectable 4.76 million last week (and a 1.2 rating in 18-49 year olds), but it dipped drastically in Week 2, losing nearly a million viewers and seeing its rating fall below 1.0 to 0.9. Don’t expect a return trip to the small coastal town.

“Transparent” was picked up for Season 2! We went over the exciting news in detail when it was announced earlier this week, but double-dipping reportage that the Emmy-hopeful earned its second season thanks to high binge-viewing totals justifies itself. While we’re very happy to get 10 more episodes of Jeffrey Tambor’s transgender dramedy, clearly not enough of you read Indiewire’s reviews

READ MORE: Review: ‘Kingdom’ is More Than Nick Jonas & MMA — It’s You’re New Favorite Drama

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