Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Now comics fans can plan their TV viewing virtually every night of the week

Network "up-fronts", industry jargon for announcing fall schedules, began Monday with Fox, and continued today with ABC. CBS, NBC, & CW will weigh in before the week is out, but for comic book fans, the news is a little mixed.

At Fox, they're breaking up the DC/Vertigo block on Mondays, with Gotham moving to Thursday nights, opposite Grey's Anatomy, among other things. This scheduling decision may be sending the series to jump-the-shark territory for season 4. Lucifer moves up an hour to 8 (ET) for season 3,  clearing room for Fox's latest Marvel Comics entry, The Gifted, which is just a way of getting around the fact that it is at least inspired by the X-Men line of books. After 2 seasons of vying with Supergirl for viewers' attention, Gotham, which has increasingly ignored DC Comics canon as it's gone on, may be fighting a losing battle, given that Anatomy has a loyal following.

We'll find out by the end of the week if CW will move Legends of Tomorrow back to Thursdays for season 3, or leave it on Tuesdays, or if Riverdale, the illegitimate love child of Peyton Place and Saved by the Bell, if ya will, moves up an hour, since it has more soap opera content. Personally, I'd rather have Legends back on Thursdays, allowing a full season of iZombie, but that's just me.

Over at ABC, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will start season 5 on the bench, while Inhumans, technically a spin-off, will air on Fridays at 9 (ET). Inhumans, however, is a short-season series by design, just 8 episodes, same as was for Agent Carter for its 2 seasons (2014-15). Folks are already groaning that ABC/Disney may have decided to cut their losses, opting to make Tuesdays more of a comedy night, as it was in the past. So was Friday, but Friday ain't optimum viewing for most folks anymore, and as NBC has found out over the last few seasons, genre shows don't really do very well, although Grimm, which just concluded, lasted six seasons, going against the grain.

Fox will couple Gotham with a hour-long sci-fi comedy from Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane, who will top-line The Orville, which, based on the publicity photo already available, looks like a parody of a certain 50-something sci-fi franchise, that being, of course, Star Trek. Meanwhile, ABC is moving their fairy tale hit, Once Upon a Time, to Fridays as a lead-in to Inhumans. As MacFarlane has become a very important player at Fox, Anthony Anderson is in a similar position at ABC, as he'll also have two series on the schedule in the fall. Black-ish shifts to Tuesdays, while the revived To Tell The Truth will once again air on Sundays.

Digression over. For comics fans, only Saturday remains empty for primetime viewing, although locally, the CW affiliate has run repeats of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., while that series has also had repeats run on MyNetworkTV this season. For now, it looks like this:

Sundays: The Walking Dead/Fear The Walking Dead (AMC)
Mondays: Lucifer & The Gifted (Fox), Supergirl (CW)
Tuesdays: The Flash & either Legends of Tomorrow or iZombie (CW)
Wednesdays: Arrow (CW), Legion (FX)
Thursdays: Riverdale (CW), Gotham (Fox)
Fridays: Inhumans (ABC)

Yet to be scheduled: Black Lightning (CW), Krypton (SyFy).

The list doesn't include premium cable shows like Outcast, which, like Walking Dead, is based on an Image comic created by Robert Kirkman, and likely has a floating broadcast schedule.

We'll have more by the end of the week.

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