5 Great Shows That Deserve Better Timeslots

After initially sliding new comedy The Neighbors into the cushy* post-Modern Family timeslot during the Upfronts in May, ABC smartly realized that A) The Neighbors is going to fail and B) the timeslot would be better spent on a better show. Thankfully, this led to Suburgatory shifting into that 9:30pm on Wednesday slot, a move that should theoretically help the always-improving comedy in its sophomore season.

* You’d think that the timeslot right after one of the most popular shows on television would be beneficial and help other shows grow, but you’d be kind of wrong. Cougar Town, Happy Endings and Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 all did fine behind Modern Family, but none of them lit the world on fire, ratings-wise. Apparently people are so jazzed up by the casual racism and sexism of Modern Family that they can’t bear to watch something on ABC right after.

Although timeslots and traditional flow between programs means less in the DVR age, it’s still nice when good shows are given a chance to shine in important spaces of the schedule. Unfortunately, not every good show gets this opportunity. Here are five that deserve better.

1. Parenthood (NBC)

Current timeslot: Tuesdays at 10pm

NBC has done a lot of stupid things in the past five years, but perhaps the most misguided call it's made is clinging tightly to the prestige of the 10pm drama series. It’s a timeslot that NBC made waves with in the 1980s and 1990s but the realities of contemporary viewing habits—the 10–11pm hour is where a lot of DVR viewing happens—mean that the cultural clout isn’t there anymore. NBC hasn’t been able to make a 10pm show work on Thursday forever and for now four seasons, it’s relegated one of the best shows on all of TV, Parenthood, to the same time on Tuesdays.

NBC’s ratings woes and silly planning aside, Parenthood isn’t “a 10pm show.” It doesn’t feature explicit language, violence, or sex. It’s a family drama with great characters and an appealing storytelling engine. Tuesday at 10pm is typically an ultra-competitive timeslot anyway: CBS always has a solid performer there—this season we'll see if Vegas can make it work—and cable nets like USA and FX typically air big shows there as well, which doesn’t help the Bravermans either.

Where should it be instead?
So many of NBC's early timeslots at the beginning of the week are dedicated to The Voice that it's tough to find a spot for Parenthood elsewhere. However, I think it could do well on Wednesdays at 8pm, or even early in the night on Sundays once football ends.

2. Nikita (The CW)

Current timeslot: Fridays at 9pm

I assume most people expected this list to include the likes of Fringe and Community, shows with diehard fan-bases that happen to be stuck on Friday nights. Frankly, those shows belong there. They’ve had four and three seasons respectively to become bigger performers and they haven’t, so it makes sense to me that Fox and NBC would keep and/or put them on Fridays. The rabid audience follows well enough.

Nikita, however, is a show that hasn’t been given as much of a chance. Yes, it aired on Thursdays behind The Vampire Diaries in its first season, but 9pm on Thursday isn’t kind to new shows—especially new shows on The CW (see: The Secret Circle). Nikita did okay on Fridays last season and performs really well internationally (that’s why it’s still around).

Where should it be instead?
I think it could do well paired with a similarly themed show, like the upcoming superhero drama Arrow, on Wednesdays. Supernatural, which is moving from Fridays back to Wednesdays this fall, would do fine in returning to its old Friday slot.

3. & 4. Happy Endings & Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 (ABC)

Current timeslots: Tuesdays at 9pm and 9:30pm

ABC has an embarrassment of riches in its comedy slate at the moment and with a three-hour Wednesday comedy block out of the question, two sitcoms had to go somewhere else. The net has been trying to build a Tuesday comedy hour for a while (with shows like Last Man Standing, Man Up, and Work It, for example), so it’s no surprise that Happy Endings and Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 are now an island there. While I think the two comedies fit together well stylistically and tonally, they are suddenly up against bigger, flashier comedy blocks from Fox (New Girl and The Mindy Project) and NBC (Go On and The New Normal).

Clearly the networks thought that the real estate at Tuesdays at 9pm was up for grabs, but at some point (probably pretty early on), these comedies are going to hurt one another. NBC’s block includes Matthew Perry, a seemingly strong-at-the-start Go On and a The Voice lead-in. Fox’s block features the sole hit of the bunch in New Girl (though its ratings dropped pretty far by the end of last season) and one of the best new comedies of the season in The Mindy Project. That leaves Happy Endings and Don’t Trust the B----, which are sandwiched between the Dancing With the Stars results show and the always almost-dead Private Practice, on the outs, probably relegated to DVR or Hulu duty by most people.

Where should it be instead?
This one is tough too (revealing that deserving a timeslot often rubs up against the fact that there simply isn't room). If I had it my way, I'd just immediately cancel The Neighbors and let both Happy Endings and Don't Trust the B---- rotate in that 8:30pm Wednesday timeslot. They might have shorter seasons in that theoretical scheduling move, but they'd be tucked into a stable comedy block, away from the new comedy war on Tuesday (and other danger spots on Monday or Thursday) and be able to run straight through.

5. Last Resort (ABC)

Current timeslot: Thursdays at 8pm

The Last Resort pilot is really, really good. Like a lot of folks, I’m not sure exactly how Shawn Ryan and company will sustain the narrative as a series, but I cannot wait to watch them try. ABC has done a fine job of marketing the show on ESPN and during sporting events on ABC in hopes of courting some men back to the network.

However, the 8pm Thursday timeslot is just as big of a wasteland is NBC’s 10pm Thursday. Every season, ABC tries to launch an interesting series there, only to have it take almost immediately. Charlie’s Angels BOMBED and Missing tanked there last season. My Generation died there the season before. It was FlashForward the year before that. And so on. Even if Last Resort becomes a great show, the chances it survives are slim, almost solely because of this poisoned timeslot.

Where should it be instead?
See, in theory I love the 8pm timeslot for Last Resort. But it's just that 8pm Thursday slot on ABC that is basically poison. Gun to my head, I'd probably try it out at 10pm on Monday after Dancing With the Stars. Castle is a veteran show that should be able to hold its own somewhere else. In fact, if there's any show that could probably withstand that toxic timeslot on Thursdays at 8pm, it'd probably be Castle. I thought ABC would try to put it there during the Upfronts in May, but the network seems terrified to move anything.

What shows do you think deserve a better place in the schedule? Vote on our picks here and list your own in the comments!

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