Ain't No Cure for the Sunday Night Television Blues
Let’s talk about television scheduling, shall we? Is it really impossible to put on great dramas other than Sunday nights? While they’ve long felt overcrowded, if I’m not crazy, the rampant jamming in of nearly every standout series has gotten completely out of hand. During last night’s Walking Dead, a fun combined “Stick It” promo for that series and Into the Badlands (YEAH!) reminded me that as of next week, yet another series will be added to Sundays’ overloaded roster. At least in olden tymes (if you remember watching Friends live — congratulations — you’re officially OLDE!), there was at least something called “must see TV” on Thursdays. Now, it seems as if almost every “serious,” non-Netflix/binge-able television series — excepting Fargo — airs Sunday nights. Nearly. There are certainly a few fun shows on other nights (The Flash, Arrow, iZombie) but for example, here’s what my own DVR schedule looks like (regardless of whether I watch live, I record, in case I want to rewatch or look back to a particular moment):
Fargo, 10:00 pm
Zip, zero, nada
AHS: Hotel, 10:00
Hello? Is anyone out there?
Doctor Who 9:00 pm
The Last Kingdom 10:00 pm
*Newly added: Ash vs Evil Dead, 9:00 (though it hardly qualifies as serious or drama)
The Walking Dead, 9:00
Talking Dead, approximately 10:00 (depending upon TWD length)
The Leftovers, 9:00
The Affair, 10:00
* Newly added, beginning this week Into the Badlands, 10:00
I can practically guarantee, when Preacher shows up, it’ll be on AMC’s Sunday schedule.
What does this mean for most of the world who get up early Monday mornings? It means picking and choosing which two shows you can actually watch Sunday nights, and then parsing out the heavyweights during the nights you have free. Most weeks, that means TWD (and possibly Talking Dead, depending on the week), plus one other show. Last week it meant I didn’t see The Leftovers until Thursday night, and that was just a crying shame because Christopher Eccleston gave an an all out Emmy-rocking performance that took away my breath. When one favorite drama goes on hiatus, another is ready to take its place — Sunday nights. And not for nothing, but that’s a whole lot of darkness for one solitary evening of television; every single one of those series carries a heavy emotional load.
The story has always been that Sunday is the most watched night of television, but is the difference in numbers that extreme? If HBO moved Game of Thrones to Mondays or Wednesdays, would we really stop watching live? In the Neilson numbers game, later viewings (DVR, On Demand) now being added in, and Mondays look golden for sports programming; seems like cable networks could easily spread the love to at the very least, the 9:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday slots. Then, most folks who work a regular day schedule could still get to bed by 10:00(ish).
Kudos to FX for airing Fargo (especially with its acclaim) and American Horror Story on other nights. But, I really wish some of the other broadcasters would help us mete out our own misery. No wonder we feel so depressed Monday mornings.