A killer virus being barely contained in the Arctic was the launch point for Syfy’s new thriller series Friday. While that’s the premise of the series, Helix wasn’t exactly bubonic with viewers for its premiere. Despite a strong visual and panel Comic-Con presence last summer plus some hefty promotion, the 90-minute Jeffrey Reiner-directed debut episode garnered just 1.8 million viewers at 10 PM. With a 0.6 rating, Helix pulled in 734,000 viewers in among adults 18-49 and 893,000 in the 25-54 demo. That’s a far cry from the 2.7 million total viewers the channel drew for Defiance when that debuted on April 15, 2013. That two-hour Monday opener had 1.3 million among the 18-49 and 1.4 million among adults 25-54, Syfy’s top total viewers and 25-54 performances since 2009’s Warehouse 13. To give some further context of where Helix stands in the Syfy universe right now, Warehouse 13 had 3.5 million viewers with a 2.5 household rating, 1.7 million adults 25-54 and 1.3 million adults 18-49 for the third best viewership debut for any Syfy series behind 2004’s Stargate Atlantis (4.2 million) and 2006’s Eureka (4.1 million).
Helix, which features ex-The Killing star Billy Campbell as its emotionally troubled CDC pathologist lead, was picked up for a 13-episode straight-to-series order last March. In his return to Syfy, Battlestar Galactica developer/EP Ronald D. Moore is producing Helix with showrunner Steven Maeda and Lynda Obst. Writer Cameron Porsandeh is co-exec producing the series.