Television networks have always used Sunday nights for their “quality” programs – movies-of-the-week, mini-series, The Wonderful World of Disney, Hallmark specials, 60 Minutes, etc. So, it’s unsurprising that Sunday is the preferred night for cable channels to premiere their prestige shows.
The Sopranos, The Wire, Rome, Six Feet Under, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Lost, Dexter, Weeds, Party Down, etc…. many of the best shows of the past decade were aired (mostly on cable) on Sunday nights. And as more and more cable networks have followed HBO into original programming, Sunday has turned into a night rich with high quality shows.
Right now, the best Sunday night shows are AMC’s Mad Men and Breaking Bad (although I would argue that both, after four seasons, have passed their peak). Nipping at their heels is HBO’s Game of Thrones, which really is “a crossover hit. It’s not just for fantasy enthusiasts. They’re telling human stories in a fantasy world” (I Heart You, Adam Scott.)
Of course, none of those shows are on right now. Part of the fun of Sunday nights is that the cable shows follow a modified British schedule (12ish-and-done), so the lineup is forever changing. Right now, four fairly new shows represent their channels’ hopes for the future. Are any of them built to last?