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Every year, the various TV networks roll the dice with brand new programming. As we’ve seen with Manhattan Love Story, A to Z and more, a lot of these shows never even get their sea legs before a network gives up on them. But a lucky few shows each year not only pull in massive numbers but accomplish critical acclaim and/or niche fandom that should propel them forward for many seasons to come.
Each year, we pull together a list of the shows we feel will have enough longevity to move forward, not just for a second season, but over the long haul. Predicting a show's trajectory is not an exact science, of course, as sometimes shows will lose a showrunner or take a tumble in the ratings after trying out a plotline that fans just don’t dig. Regardless, thus far this season, there have been six shows that have shown signs of sticking around for a long time to come. Without further ado, here are the six programs we feel will still be on the air 5 years from now. Let us know if you agree or think we missed any in the comments, below.
The FlashOf all of the shows to come out of the fall season, The Flash is sitting prettiest. Not only are superheroes an extremely hot property right now, but the CW’s TV series had a built in audience with Arrow before it even premiered. Then, once The Flash actually hit the schedule, it became the network’s highest premiere in five years—a feat, considering network ratings are down across the board. The Flash has already earned a full season order, and with plenty of powers and villains to tease out in the future, The Flash shows no signs of slowing down.
Plus, now that the CW has the ability to cross-pollinate with Arrow, the network is no doubt wanting to keep both superhero shows in the fold. In fact, five seasons might be chump change for a show like The Flash.
Black-ishComedies have had a tough time over the last several TV seasons. However, if you look at the numbers, if a comedy manages to land a second season on one of the big four networks, viewership often grows. Just look at the numbers The Big Bang Theory earned early on compared to the numbers the show pulls in now. Starring Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross and Laurence Fishburne , Black-ish’s ratings have stayed steady and high over at ABC, helping the show to already land a full season order. Plus Black-ish is a family comedy and is a good match-up with Modern Family. What could go wrong?
Couple all of the above positives with the fact that there is a dearth of multi-ethnic and minority families on network television, Black-ish has a good chance of sticking around for 5 years or more.
ScorpionCBS never has any problem pulling in strong overall numbers. However, the network does often have to deal with the problem of low-rated shows in the advertising demo. CBS shows like Blue Bloods, The Good Wife and more skew to an older demographic, which is why the network’s show Scorpion is such a breath of fresh air. The show’s young-ish skewing show routinely pulls in over a 2.0 rating, crushing a lot of the procedurals that CBS currently has in the lineup. Scorpion’s premise is also fresher than the average procedural, following a bunch of super geniuses who solve technologically complex cases.
CBS signed on for 22 episodes of Scorpion in November, and while the show has dropped a little bit of its viewership in recent weeks, it’s still doing quite well. Plus, since CBS often is a network with longevity, we expect to see more from the ragtag crew of geniuses in the coming years.
GothamThere was a lot riding on Gotham when it premiered this fall. The Television Critics Association called the show “The Most Promising New Fall Series” before it even hit the network and the show was well-reviewed, but Fox really needed the DC Comics-oriented series to be a hit. And it has been. The pre-batman series doesn’t have the highest viewership of all of the shows that have made this list, but a lot of young people watch Gotham lending it to do well in the advertising demographic.
While Gotham has a major task ahead of it, introducing prominent Batman villains without introducing Batman himself, this origin story is truly an experiment in exploring beyond the confines of available information and retelling comic stories in a way that brings them to life on their own. And people like it, too.
OutlanderIt’s a lot easier to predict what a network channel is going to do than a cable or subscription cable station, thanks to non-network choices often being made based on creative decisions, talent availability and a slew of other factors outside of ratings. However, with Outlander, there seem to be tons of signs pointing at numerous seasons. First, the series is based on a set of eight novels written by Diana Gabaldon, meaning there is plenty of material to pull from for seasons and seasons to come. The Starz drama also doesn't rely as much on ratings, but despite this has shown an increase in live viewership as it has gone on.
Of all of the shows on this list, Outlander is the only one to be renewed for Season 2 already, but we expect the show to stick around for quite a bit longer. If you haven’t caught up on the show, yet, the second half of Season 2 will hit the schedule on April 4, 2015.
NCIS: New OrleansThis one’s a no-brainer. The NCIS franchise has been a strong performer on CBS for over a decade. However, the franchise is beginning to age, and it’s no wonder the network would be looking to bring in new blood. Enter NCIS: New Orleans, a new Tuesday night series led by veteran TV actor Scott Bakula. Clearly the new series doesn’t skew as young as new show Scorpion, but with an average of 18.16 million viewers, the show’s sheer volume of viewers is impressive, and brings in a more than fair rating. As the two other shows in the franchise continue to age, look for this one to continue to impress as time wears on.
Are there any other Season 1 shows you feel should have made this list? Let us know in the comments, below.