Always a fan of stability, ABC have managed to make 2013/14 a year of both the expected and the unexpected. With shows like Once Upon a Time, Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, Modern Family and Resurrection proving ratings hits this past year (though Resurrection seemed to travel down a slippery slope down into cancellation and could’ve gone either way with its renewal chances), it was shows like The Goldbergs, Trophy Wife, Suburgatory, and Castle, whose ratings not only concerned myself, but I’m sure a whole lot of avid fans of these shows as well. While ABC is known for its constant fan base, its sense of moving shows around the schedule, especially when you want to boost ratings, has been shown to either be one of the biggest payoffs of the season (omitting the Dancing With the Stars Results Show to put in its spot Agents of Shield), but also one that could fall flat if the competition was stiff (debuting Once Upon a Time in Wonderland in September when it could’ve served as a bridge between the split seasons of OUAT). While I’m still puzzled at why Suburgatory was cancelled in the first place, considering that The Goldbergs had lower ratings overall compared to Suburgatory, and was renewed subsequently; I’m equally as bemused at why Castle ratings have plummeted this season to demo lows of 1.7, considering that I myself found season 6 to be one of my favourite seasons yet. Nevertheless, with the unveil of ABC’s 2014 TV schedule came very little changes, and an analysis of this shows some good scheduling decisions, some bad ones, some smart decisions and some which don’t even make any sense.
The Good: One of my favourite shows within the decade of the 2010s, Once Upon a Time (OUAT), is also one of ABC’s current hits, as well as being the highest rated drama program each week on Sundays throughout the 2013/14 season. Coupled with the recent success of Resurrection and the ever reliable nature of Revenge (even though the ratings are low for a show on Sundays), the combination of those three dramas start off Sundays in predictable fashion come September 2014. While in my fantasy I may have placed OUAT on another night and introduced Forever as pairing with Resurrection (because they both deal with supernatural themes), the saying of not fixing something if it isn’t broken is certainly true of the Sunday ABC lineup. Comedies like Modern Family, The Middle and Last Man Standing all thrived in their previous time slots of Wednesdays 9:00, Wednesdays 8:00 and Fridays 8:00 respectively and therefore it’s no surprise they these three shows occupy the same spots in this new schedule. While I have not seen either of these three comedies, I have much respect for these shows, and the enjoyment it gives the fans. Agents of Shield, a fan favourite drama that premiered big and plateaued at around 6-8 million viewers a week, earned its renewal for a second season, this time at 9/8c instead of 8/7c which the show was airing at during its first season run. While I may find it odd to see two comedies (Selfie, Manhattan Love Story) start Tuesday nights (another paragraph discussing these comedies below); Agents of Shield has its own core group of fans, and I’m sure that this bold decision to place the superhero drama in a spot that it was previously in last season for one week during the beginning of 2014 (and the ratings for that episode were decent), will pay off for the drama.
The Indifferent: Nashville, a drama about the happenings of country music, debuted in October 2012 to critical and commercial success. I myself started to watch the show with much intrigue as I managed to pace through the first 8 episodes before the midseason break. Nevertheless, with newer shows like Orphan Black, Defiance and Continuum; Nashville unfortunately wasn’t much of a priority to watch, and now 2 seasons later, I’ve become pretty much indifferent to the show- with only 8 episodes, and the possibility that I may watch the remainder later (who knows!), the decision for Nashville to be scheduled right where it has been for the last two seasons didn’t really stir up anything in me. And while Nashville may have gained a better time slot in terms of viewers if the show was relegated to Sundays and Revenge moved back to Wednesdays, I haven’t really been up to date with the episodes enough to even care anymore.
Dancing With the Stars, a precursor to Monday’s Castle, didn’t really have much of a highly rated season compared to previous ones, but if they move the show off Monday, then where are they going to move it to? Dancing is possibly the only show they can’t really afford to move. Lastly, Black-ish debuts in the coveted spot after Modern Family, ABC’s best comedy and possibly the best comedy (in terms of ratings), aside from The Big Bang Theory, on TV right now. A story about the happenings of an African American family, it does fit quite well with the theme of family night (with The Middle, The Goldbergs and Modern Family all preceding this comedy). Yet with the trailer making me feel neither excited nor detesting the show afterward, only time will tell about whether Black-ish deserves the Wednesday 9:30pm spot or not, with Mixology and Super Fun Night both failing in the time slots during the 2013/14 season.
The Bad: To premiere any show against NCIS on Tuesday’s at 8pm is a tough gig, and I guess one of the only reasons why Agents of Shield did reasonably well last season was because of the fanbase, and how people loved to see the mythology of the Marvel Universe come to life on the small screen. While the audience eroded from above ten million to around 5-6 each week, Agents of Shield did well to warrant season 2, this time at 9/8c on Tuesday nights. Premiering at 8 instead are comedies Selfie and Manhattan Love Story. And while I’m sure the premise of each of these shows are great in and of themselves, the trailers of both these shows seemingly pale in comparison to the scripted competition (NCIS and the Arrow spinoff, The Flash). While I would want the shows to do well for their own sakes, it probably would’ve been better to place an established show during that time slot (maybe Castle or Once Upon a Time) and move either Selfie or Manhattan Love Story to midseason (or both of these shows). As it stands at the moment, I cannot see Selfie or Manhattan surviving til Christmas 2014, sadly. Castle, while still boosting numbers of 8-9 million and having an avid fan base, feels wrong to still be at 10pm on Mondays- especially rivalling The Blacklist til Novembertime, State of Affairs from November onward and NCIS L.A. With competition like this, Castle will most certainly lose the night in terms of demo viewers, and maybe even relegate the show towards cancellation. Maybe a move of timeslot in the midseason to another day? Forever, a new show starring Ioan Grufford, about an immortal man solving murder mystery crimes, moves into the Tuesday 10pm time slot after the failings of Killer Women, Lucky 7 and Mind Games that have gone before. With this show similar in theme to the short lived FOX cancelled drama New Amsterdam as well as Elementary and Body of Proof (cue the British accent and his job as a medical examiner), I can’t really see this show being in the schedule for the long term (even if I personally want the show to survive).
The Smart: Thursdays at 8pm has always been a minefield for ABC ever since the move of Ugly Betty from Thursdays to Fridays in 2009. With shows like Charlies Angels, Last Resort, Zero Hour, Flash Forward and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland all failing in that spot, it would’ve taken someone who was blind not to notice that ABC was going to move an established drama into the timeslot. To see the channel create a Shondaland night with Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder in the lineup respectively is something quite smart and genius. Though I don’t watch either Grey’s Anatomy or Scandal, I do respect that they are both popular shows, and thus, I reckon Thursday nights will belong to ABC because of this bold decision. Moving The Goldergs to Wednesdays was probably something ABC should’ve done in the beginning if it wanted some crossover audience from other family orientated comedies (namely, The Middle and Modern Family). This coming season, The Goldbergs is sandwiched between these aforementioned shows, and if everything goes well, the show may see an uptick in ratings as the season progresses.
The Puzzling: Once Upon a Time succeeded in 2013/14 because of the split season, and therefore, it was only a formality to assume the show would also have a split season again. To fill its spot however is not a drama like I would’ve suggested, but fantasy/musical comedy Galavant, a show that quite frankly, after viewing the trailer, will be put in the grave after a season- while the premise is ok, the acting and the singing make the show disconnected at points. Sure, Galavant’s themes about princes, princesses, true love and hope parallels with OUAT, the timeslot of that show seems to be odd, especially when they are airing re-runs of Galavant at 8:30pm instead of new episodes (how will that impact the ratings of Resurrection, or American Crime, which airs in the same spot after Resurrection finishes?). Secrets and Lies, based on the Australian version, and airing after How to Get Away with Murder finishes its 18 episodes, is yet another puzzling decision, and while I reckon it’ll do ok in the Thursday 10pm slot, I probably would’ve placed it as a bridge between the two mini seasons of OUAT. Nevertheless, with the show being similar in style to Gracepoint and American Crime, the jury’s still out about which show will soar in ratings and which will plummet. Fresh off the Boat, a midseason show, would’ve fit perfectly on family Wednesday’s (especially since this was the trailer that I enjoyed the most). A puzzling decision to hold the comedy til 2015, I would expect to see this comedy sooner, if/when one of Selfie, Manhattan Love Story, or Black-ish fails in its timeslot.
The Midseason Shows: With only 2 dramas (out of 8) debuting in the fall, midseason can become a little crowded, with the introduction of shows like Secrets and Lies, American Crime, Agent Carter, Members Only, The Whispers and The Astronaut’s Wives Club. With only two of these 6 formally scheduled (Secrets and Lies after How to Get Away with Murder, American Crime after Resurrection), it is a mystery of when the other 4 drama shows are going to air. Expect maybe a few to debut in place of Forever (because frankly, as much I love murder mysteries, I can’t see it surviving against Person of Interest and Chicago Fire), sooner or later. The Bachelor will also take over from Dancing With the Stars come midseason as well.
So now the analysis is finished, here below is the TV schedule. Be sure to comment below on your own thoughts about it.
7: America’s Funniest Home Videos
8: Once Upon A Time (Fall and Spring)
8: Galavant (Midseason)
9: American Crime (Midseason)
8: Dancing With the Stars
8:30: Manhattan Love Story
9: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Fall and Spring)
9: Agent Carter (Midseason)
8: The Middle
8:30: The Goldbergs
9: Modern Family
8: Grey’s Anatomy
10: How To Get Away With Murder (Fall)
10: Secrets And Lies (Midseason/Spring)
8: Last Man Standing
9: Shark Tank
8: Saturday Night Football
Fresh Off The Boat
The Astronauts Wives Club