Friday, June 30, 2017

When Did 10 Episodes Become a "Season?"

A couple months ago I finished watching the second "season" of Crackle's SuperMansion.  It was only 10 episodes whereas the first season was 13.  It reminded me that a number of shows I watch only have 10 episodes as a "season" anymore:  Game of Thrones, Archer, and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  It's something that would have been unheard of back in the 50s or 60s.  Back then a season could be 40-50 episodes long!  And I guess this year GoT is only like 7 episodes.  It's pretty lame when you consider the year is 52 weeks.  That's only 13% of the year!  That means 87% of the year you have no new Game of Thrones.  For 10 episode seasons it's a whopping 19% of the year with new episodes.  That's 81% of the year with nothing.  That really sucks.  Standard network shows with like 22 episodes have new episodes 42% of the year, which is fairly close to half the year.  That's a lot better than 13%, wouldn't you say?


This Comic Book Resources article argues that shorter seasons are good because you can have more narrative focus and spend more per episode.  I suppose in some ways that's true, but shows like Always Sunny and Archer don't really need "narrative focus."  it's pretty annoying when a show's on for two months and then it's gone for 10.  Or like how you can binge all of a season of House of Cards or Daredevil or Stranger Things in a day or two and then you have to wait a year for it to come back around.  In that lengthy absence sometimes the heart does not grow fonder as the Bard said; sometimes even a short hiatus for a show prompts me to lose interest.

3 comments:

  1. Maybe it's because the viewers these days demand a higher quality that takes longer. They didn't have much time to write in the 50s and 60s and a lot of those shows could get pretty cheesy. Plus the sets were cheap and fake looking. Maybe in the end it's better quality for them to have a long break. Although, I get the frustration. We want more!

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  2. An eight episode season over here is pushing it.

    Have a good weekend, Pat.

    Gary

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  3. I agree. It's really getting out of hand. Like people talk about the first "season" of CW's online series Vixen, but there were only six episodes and each episode was only a few minutes long. The entire "season" came out to two hours, making it a movie. The reality is that shortening a "season" is good for the studio because they have to pay for fewer episodes, good for the production because they have to make fewer episodes, and good for binge-watchers who want to brag about watching the first "season" in a day or two. Bad for people who actually want more content and not have to wait ten months for two months' worth of episodes.

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