Usually a couple of weeks into the new US TV season all we're doing is reporting how disastrously things are going for telefantasy shows. This year, though, ratings are generally looking healthier, with two glaring exceptions – Dollhouse and Heroes.
ABC will be happy with the second week performance of its much-hyped Flashforward , which, although it lost viewers, had the kind of fall which is well within acceptable parameters following first-week curiosity. Episode two drew in 10.73 million viewers, a dip of just 8% from its premiere, and still a very decent figure for drama in the US these days. The Vampire Diaries continued to do well with its third episode, pulling in 3.53 million for CW (kinda like the US version of Channel Five, so you expect lower ratings) seeming to justify the channel’s rapid decision to order more episodes. More importantly, it’s a massive hit with the laydeez (surprise, surprise), with the amount of 12-34 females tuning in only just behind the number tuning into Flashforward.
Ghost Whisperer (7.6 million) and Medium (7.7 million) were both down roughly a million on their season premieres but are still performing respectably in the Friday night graveyard slot (fitting place for them, really), both winning their time slots.
Eastwick , the small-screen version of The Witches Of Eastwick, is perhaps underperforming slightly for ABC with a distinctly average 6.6 million viewers (and down from its 8.5 million debut), while Smallville (2.3 million) and Supernatural (2.6 million) continue with numbers okay for the CW, but nothing special.
Over in cable-land, the latest Stargate spin-off, Stargate Universe, got off to impressive start on SyFy, a channel which seems to be on the up and up at the moment. The new show kicked off with 2.35 million viewers. That’s even more impressive when you realise that it beat Dollhouse which was on at the same time on one of the major networks: the second episode of the second season of the Joss Whedon show pulled in a paltry 2.09 million viewers, its lowest figure so far. Cancellation looms.
Speaking of which – Heroes . Episode three. 5.8 million. Fourth in its time slot. It was nice knowing you.
Meanwhile, in the UK, Merlin managed to buck the trend of other UK telefantasy shows this year and actually grow its ratings. Episode three managed 5.4 million viewers, even though it was shown at an earlier time slot. That could have been because the weather was lousy, but we like to think good word of mouth is the reason. This season has got off to a great start.