Ahead of ABC’s upfronts we have some news about Inhumans and when it will air. The show will be on Friday evenings at 9PM, following after long-running Once Upon a Time. Moreover, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will not be part of the initial fall schedule but instead will air at some point later in the season. It appears that it will replace Inhumans in that 9PM Friday slot, after the citizens of Attilan finish up their eight episode run.
The initial response to this is generally that of dread. Friday night is a graveyard for TV shows. With movie business brisk and people enjoying dinner out or dates or whatever, not many folks stay home on a Friday night to watch TV. Often Friday schedules are filled with shows that largely failed the network on other evenings and are shunted to the end of the week to scoop up a decent portion of the few folks left watching the tube on a Friday evening. Shows on Friday also tend to appeal more to older viewers, though that doesn’t appear ABC’s take here. To debut a new show on Fridays is not a good look. Some on the internet are connecting Inhumans at this point with a recent rumor about a network show so terrible the network wanted to sell it to anyone for “pennies on the dollar.”
The more positive spin, which ABC is obviously taking, is that they are attempting something new on Fridays. What if sci-fi and fantasy fans stayed home on Friday evenings for a night tailored to their interests?
We’ve turned Friday into more of a destination for our fantasy and science fiction fans,” ABC Chief Channing Dungey told reporters Tuesday morning. “Once Upon a Time and S.H.I.E.L.D. are airing on the same night for the first time, which is giving many fans of both shows what they’ve been asking for for a long time.”
This strategy seems similar to the way family comedies banded together in the 90’s for the infamous “TGIF” line-up with classic shows like Boy Meets World, Family Matters, Dinosaurs, and Step by Step. The Friday night time slot also was a decent home for similar genre shows like Grimm and Fringe. Given that more than half of the people who watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. do so on DVR or Hulu, it makes some sense that they would run up the white flag on ratings and move it to a night where ratings don’t really matter.
Frankly, I’m struggling to see this is as good news. This is undoubtedly a sign that ABC doesn’t really believe in Inhumans already. Moving S.H.I.E.L.D. to this time slot is a logical decision for a show in its fifth season that has been sagging in the ratings. But putting an entirely new property here means you never even hope it’ll be the kind of show that gets tens of millions of live viewers. Already it is a fringe genre show in the minds of the executives and it will make little impact in the live ratings. If those things weren’t true, it would be sitting on a Tuesday night like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. did when ABC believed it would be the next big ratings juggernaut.
What do you all think? Does the day of the week matter to you? Do you care that you have to wait for the return of Coulson and company until mid-season? Do you think you’ll watch these shows on Friday nights or catch it later on DVR? Share your thoughts in the comments below.