NBC Renews ‘Aquarius’ For Season Two, Just Days After Canceling ‘Hannibal’

Well, this is a strange one.

If you’d told me that, of the two Thursday night dramas propping up NBC’s primetime lineup, Aquarius would get another season while Hannibal would wind up being canceled, I’d have called you crazy. But that appears to be exactly what happened.

When faced with the choice between the two low-rated series, NBC has decided to renew Aquarius for Season 2. Of course, there’s actually a fairly good reason NBC has decided to save Aquarius over Hannibal despite the iffy ratings. For one, Hannibal had catastrophic ratings for much of its run, and while the numbers for Aquarius weren’t that much better, the show had one valuable thing going for it: online distribution.

In a first for network television, NBC released the ENTIRE first season of Aquarius online after the airing of its premiere episode. As a result, more people took the opportunity to sample the show than through the traditional means of distribution. I suppose getting to binge-watch was a huge contributing factor to the overall enthusiasm people ended up having for the show, which features David Duchovny as a police detective investigating the rising cult of Charles Manson.

NBC Renews 'Aquarius' For Season Two, Just Days After Canceling 'Hannibal'

Credit: NBC

“With its riveting drama and innovative release strategy, Aquarius has excited the critics, hooked millions of viewers and energized our summer,” NBC entertainment president Jennifer Salke said in a statement. “It’s no secret that the way people watch television is evolving, so we took a unique approach to how we delivered ‘Aquarius’ and it’s driven some record numbers for NBC Digital and helped us reach viewers who might have otherwise overlooked a great summer drama.”

Ultimately, it’s probably wrong of me to categorize this as NBC choosing one show over another, but it’s hard to read it any other way when one show gets saved over another. Could a similar digital distribution approach have saved Hannibal? I guess we’ll never know now. That said, it might not be over for Hannibal just yet, as petitions are circulating online for NBC, Hulu, Netflix or somebody (Hell, anybody) to save this series. It should be interesting to see if the vocal fan community will be able to rescue the show like so many other fan communities have done for their shows (Community, Beauty and the Beast, Degrassi, just to name a few).

What do you think of the decision to save Aquarius? Sound off in the comments!

And for more on the axing of Hannibal, check out our report on the unfortunate cancellation.

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