It is a show that has defied the odds. In a spate of TV show adaptations of feature films – which included Limitless on CBS – 12 Monkeys has managed to survive and thrive, despite early scepticism of its viability. That scepticism has been surely silenced now, as Syfy has handed the show a third season order, comprising of 10 episodes.
The series is based upon the 1995 movie of the same name – directed by Terry Gilliam – and centres on Cole (Aaron Stanford). He is a time traveller from a future decimated by disease, and he has been sent back in time to prevent it happening. In the show, he is helped by Dr. Railly (Amanda Schull), and together, they find themselves needing to uncover and defeat the shadowy, ancient organization known as the Army Of The 12 Monkeys. As they fight to save the future, they come to realize that their actions have consequences for all of history, and for the rest of time.
In announcing the third season order, President of Entertainment Networks at NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, Chris McCumber, explained what makes 12 Monkeys so successful, in the eyes of the parent company.
“In two short seasons, 12 Monkeys has become a cult favorite series. Terry [Matalas, showrunner] and the cast and crew have brought to life a rich world not confined by boundaries of time, with multi-dimensional characters whose motivations for saving the world are deeply personal and intensely relatable. It’s exactly the type of smart, on-the-edge-of-your-seat entertainment we want to bring to Syfy viewers.”
While the renewal is being greeted with celebration among fans, it is notable that the third season order is for 10 episodes, as opposed to the 13 that comprised both seasons one and two. Whether this reflects a narrative plan on the part of showrunner Terry Matalas and team, or whether this represents a compromise on the part of Syfy remains to be seen. Whatever the future holds, the drama will continue for 12 Monkeys – for the time being, at least.