Major telefantasy Announcements from NBC

US TV network NBC is going SF and fantasy crazy, it seems, with major announcements about new, returning and acquired telefantasy shows:

* Medium has been renewed for a fifth season. (Hurrah! This is one seriously under-appreciated show.)

* Heroes will return on 15 September for a third series, kicking off with a two-hour season premier, but the proposed spin-off, Heroes Origins, has been officially scrapped.

* The channel has bought the BBC/Shine produced Merlin, starring Anthony Head and Richard Wilson, to air sometime in 2009.

* Another 2009 debutante will be Kings, a modern-day spin on the King David story. It's officially described as a soap, so it may not even have a fantasy element, but with I Am Legend’s Francis Lawrence directing the pilot, it certainly doesn’t sound like it's going to be Coronation Street. Let’s wait and see...

* Fear Itself, a horror anthology series from the makers of Masters of Horror will debut on 29 May.

* The Last Templar, a four-hour mini-series for 2009, sounds like the Da Vinci Code with a bit more mysticism.

* Debuting on NBC in the summer of 2009 will be The Listener, about a telepathic paramedic.

* And, just to remind you about a couple of things we knew already, Chuck season two will be back in the autumn, airing on Mondays at 9pm, while the new Knight Rider series will occupy the Wednesday 8pm slot.