Among FOX’s 2018-19 new pickups, the adaptation of Justin Cronin’s The Passage generated the most buzz on social media, according to analysis from The WIT.
The midseason replacement The Passage, from 20th Century Fox Television, counts Ridley Scott among its exec producers and stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar. The trailer for the fantasy thriller logged 19 million views on its official Facebook page and YouTube playlist. Social media interactions, however, were minimal with 11,000 likes on Facebook, under 1,000 Twitter followers as of May 21 and just 1,270 tweets; of note, The Gifted last year scored more than 14,000 tweets in the seven days after the FOX upfront.
“The early feedback in social media shows a divide among the numerous fans of the book trilogy,” observes The WIT’s Caroline Servy. “Some are eager to discover the adaptation, but a majority are not convinced by the trailer and have fears that the TV version will bring too many changes to the book—especially the choice to change the race and gender of some main characters in an attempt to be less white, male-centered. After watching the trailer, those who have not read the books are not sure they understand the premise, with vibes ranging from The Walking Dead to the hit video game The Last of Us. Another concern is the possible disappointment from an early cancelation—or as fans would put it, another ‘betrayal.'” Indeed, FOX viewers were very vocal on social media last week over the cancellation of Lucifer.
The second most-viewed trailer for FOX is The Cool Kids, also from 20th Century Fox and scheduled to air with the revived Last Man Standing as its lead-in on Fridays. The multi-camera sitcom co-created by Charlie Day of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia fame is about a group of seniors in a retirement community. The trailer had 10 million Facebook and YouTube views, with some 7,000 Facebook likes as of May 21. Twitter buzz was significantly lower.
“Surprisingly enough, the reactions to this addition to FOX’s schedule are enthusiastic and largely unanimous,” Servy says. “Sure, a few users were disconcerted by this ‘baby boomers’ move and [are bemoaning the loss of the] more modern and canceled Last Man on Earth and The Mick. But after watching the trailer, a majority of users preferred talking about it being a pleasant surprise, praising the Golden Girls vibe of the show and applauding the cast, with special mentions to Martin Mull (Two and a Half Men) and Vicki Lawrence.”
Another comedy rounds out FOX’s top three most buzzy shows on social media: Rel. Scheduled for Sunday nights after FOX’s adult animation comedy block, the show is inspired by the real life of its star, Lil Rel Howery (The Carmichael Show, Get Out). The trailer had 7 million views on Facebook and YouTube, with 4,000-plus Facebook likes and about 1,200 tweets.
“While the opinions on the character of Rel Howery and that of comedian Sinbad as his father are positive, the multi-camera approach and the laugh tracks do not seem well suited to the audience, most of them declaring they were disappointed by the trailer,” Servy reports. Some will back the comedian and give the show a chance, Servy notes, while others may have already given up on what they say looks like a “poor 1990s comedy.”