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TV Talk Talk about Shows on TV

View Poll Results: How Many Episodes per season?
Around 10 (Like Curb Your Enthusiasm) 0 0%
Around 12 (True Blood) 22 35.48%
Around 22 (majority shows) 30 48.39%
Other 10 16.13%
Voters: 62. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-20-10, 06:19 PM   #1
PHMustang2000
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How Many Episodes Should A TV Season Have?

I like the average 22 episodes if the episodes are solid. Some fillers are ok for me as a break from the current drama on TV like a Christmas Episode or something like that. Some shows just work out better with shorter seasons. What Do you think?
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Old 02-20-10, 06:26 PM   #2
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Re: How Many Episodes Should A TV Season Have?

More is always better if you ask me.

Of course, that doesn't refer to watching seasons play out on TV. I watch most of my TV via DVD so I like to get my money's worth.
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Old 02-20-10, 06:28 PM   #3
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Re: How Many Episodes Should A TV Season Have?

Well for the major networks like CBS, NBC or ABC, most shows need to have a 22-24 episode seasons. The major networks can afford longer seasons because the ad revenue is much higher. Plus, there is 36 weeks in a full network TV season and it would get too expensive to greenlight multiple 13 episode shows just to fill out the gaps that normally have repeats.

Cable only has 10-16 episode seasons with the rare exception of 20 once in a while because networks like TNT or FX don't make as much ad revenue and also rely on subscription fees to pay for these shows.
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Old 02-20-10, 06:31 PM   #4
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Re: How Many Episodes Should A TV Season Have?

obviously the right answer is 13 b/c the quality for a show seems to be consistent (see Dexter, The Shield). but, if everything went to that, they'd have to put a bunch more stuff on tv. I like the normal broadcast TV season only for the fact that it occupies most of my time duuring the year.
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Old 02-20-10, 06:37 PM   #5
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Re: How Many Episodes Should A TV Season Have?

From a creative standpoint it works perfectly for those shows on cable. However, I would assume shows like Dexter or Big Love don't make their money back until they hit DVD.

But, for the broadcast networks, it would be too costly. Imagine if CBS greenlit a 13 episode season of CSI and it premiered in September. It would be over by late November, the you would need another 13 episode show, which would run until late January or February. Then you would still need another 13 episode show to run from February to May. That would be way too expensive to cover 36 weeks. However, this scenario would only apply if they didn't take any breaks. I like having a show like CSI having a 22-24 episode season and taking breaks during slow periods like the Holidays or early in the new year. It works perfectly for my viewing habits.

I also like short seasons on cable shows like Leverage, Burn Notice or In Plain Sight, but they don't operate on a traditional TV season.

Last edited by DJariya; 02-20-10 at 06:44 PM.
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Old 02-20-10, 06:48 PM   #6
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Re: How Many Episodes Should A TV Season Have?

A shorter season can also have drawbacks. For a show like Sons of Anarchy, it premiered in September and finished it's season in December (13 episodes). Your talking about almost 10 months in between seasons since it won't return until September of this year.

For a network show that ends it's run in May, the wait is usually only 4 months until another season starts again in September or October.
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Old 02-20-10, 07:32 PM   #7
Shannon Nutt
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Re: How Many Episodes Should A TV Season Have?

To paraphrase what Gene Siskel said about movies, I'll say this: No good TV series' season is ever too long; no bad TV series' season is ever too short.
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Old 02-20-10, 08:03 PM   #8
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Re: How Many Episodes Should A TV Season Have?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shannon Nutt View Post
To paraphrase what Gene Siskel said about movies, I'll say this: No good TV series' season is ever too long; no bad TV series' season is ever too short.
You're paraphrasing Roger Ebert, not Siskel:
http://thinkexist.com/quotation/no_g...is/255287.html
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Who_said_N...s_short_enough
http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Film

Quote:
Originally Posted by DJariya View Post
But, for the broadcast networks, it would be too costly. Imagine if CBS greenlit a 13 episode season of CSI and it premiered in September. It would be over by late November, the you would need another 13 episode show, which would run until late January or February. Then you would still need another 13 episode show to run from February to May. That would be way too expensive to cover 36 weeks. However, this scenario would only apply if they didn't take any breaks.
I think if the networks aired shorter seasons, they would still have breaks. So the overall cost for the season would be around the same, or only a little more (26 episodes split over two shows, instead of 20-24 episodes of one show).

I think the reason why networks air long seasons is to minimize risk. Every new show a network launches is a risk, and if they land a success, they want to milk it for as much as they can. If they only aired "half seasons" of all of their shows, they'd need twice as much programing, which means twice as much risk that those shows could fail, which means twice as many replacement shows, etc.

It's much safer to just air as many episodes of a successful show per year as possible. I think the limiting factor for many shows is not how many the network wants, but how many the production company thinks they can reasonably produce in a given year.

Networks used to air a lot more episodes per season of a show. For example, the first 3 seasons of "I Love Lucy" were 30-35 episodes. Leave it To Beaver's seasons were all 39 episodes. Seasons of Beverly Hills, 90210 went as high as 32 episodes. The original Melrose Place has as many as 35 episodes a season.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...sodes#Season_1
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...sodes#Overview
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...sodes#Overview
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...eries_overview

As for how many episodes I think a TV show should have, I picked "Other," because I think a show should have as many episodes as the production team can produce without sacrificing quality. If that's 6 episodes a season, fine. If it's 13 episodes a season, even better. And ultimately, when re/viewing a complete series on DVD, what do I care if it was 3 seasons of 22 episodes, or 11 seasons of 6 episodes?
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Old 02-20-10, 08:22 PM   #9
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Re: How Many Episodes Should A TV Season Have?

The answer is the number of quality stories that can be written, cast, and produced within the time frame of the working schedule of the show. Sometimes, production will be the constraint. Sometimes, it will be the writing.

My belief is that for most shows budgeted at a broadcast network level, the answer is 16 to 18 episodes. Virtually no show with a 22 episode season goes a season without 4-6 clunkers.
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Old 02-20-10, 10:34 PM   #10
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Re: How Many Episodes Should A TV Season Have?

All of my favorite dramas that are coming back later (Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Dexter, etc.) are 12-13 episodes, so I voted for that. I like 22-episode comedies (30 Rock, The Office, etc.) but the only 22-episode drama that I love right now is Supernatural.
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Old 02-21-10, 12:31 AM   #11
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Re: How Many Episodes Should A TV Season Have?

I prefer the 12-16 episode stretch. Not too long, and not too short. There always seems to be a few "filler" episodes for most "around 22 episode" shows each season anyway. The less episodes per show, the more shows I will potentially be able to enjoy each year. Of course the networks don't want to do that, but in the long run it could work out better because certain shows wouldn't run out of ideas as quickly as some of them do now.
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Old 02-21-10, 01:45 AM   #12
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Re: How Many Episodes Should A TV Season Have?

It depends on the show. For serial dramas and single camera style comedies 13 seems to work well. If it's tightly written I could even be OK with 8, even then your approaching a miniseries.

For more episodic fair (procedurals, sitcoms, etc) then the more the merrier.

I think the difference is that serialized shows really need a small, well integrated group of writers and/or creator who can give each episode, each scene, each line, the attention it needs, including how it fits with the overall story/themes/characters of the show.

Episodic shows on the other hand can be divided among a large pool of semi-autonomous writers working with a story editor who makes sure they get the characters' names right, etc.
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Old 02-21-10, 04:11 AM   #13
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Re: How Many Episodes Should A TV Season Have?

Somewhere around 12 is best IMO.
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Old 02-21-10, 04:27 AM   #14
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Re: How Many Episodes Should A TV Season Have?

If I listed my favorite shows of the last decade (the time cable got seriously in the TV show biz), cable shows would dominate. Some of that has to be due the shorter seasons and more compact storytelling. Thirteen episodes seems to be the magic number.

Back when I watched 24, by the end of the season I'd almost be sick of the show. One season is about 17 hours - it's just too much. Thirteen episodes is about nine hours, which works great for shows like The Shield, Mad Men and Breaking Bad (the best of the best IMO).
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Old 02-21-10, 08:27 AM   #15
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Re: How Many Episodes Should A TV Season Have?

I had this discussion once with a visual effects guy from Galactica after the first SciFi season of the show. My argument was that a shorter season tends to result in a greater cohesion between the episodes, a more consistent vision, and generally tighter and better scripting. I've felt that's a strength of most British shows, the fact that they have shorter seasons and, in the case of many of their sitcoms, a single writer can write the entire season, resulting in consistent characterization and tone. Longer season of 22-24 episode often result in occasional duds and the dreaded clip show.
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Old 02-21-10, 08:50 AM   #16
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Re: How Many Episodes Should A TV Season Have?

The correct answer is the Ebert thing.

But realistically, it seems to me that the shows somewhere around 12 per season are of higher quality more consistentally than the standard network 20+.
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Old 02-21-10, 12:45 PM   #17
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Re: How Many Episodes Should A TV Season Have?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wmansir View Post
It depends on the show. For serial dramas and single camera style comedies 13 seems to work well. If it's tightly written I could even be OK with 8, even then your approaching a miniseries.

For more episodic fair (procedurals, sitcoms, etc) then the more the merrier.

I think the difference is that serialized shows really need a small, well integrated group of writers and/or creator who can give each episode, each scene, each line, the attention it needs, including how it fits with the overall story/themes/characters of the show.

Episodic shows on the other hand can be divided among a large pool of semi-autonomous writers working with a story editor who makes sure they get the characters' names right, etc.
Pretty much.


Mentioning things like filler episodes suggests we're looking at this with the premise that all shows are, or should be, in the soap opera style.

Give me 25+ episodes of a good sitcom. Give me 30+ like in the old days.
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Old 02-21-10, 01:28 PM   #18
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Re: How Many Episodes Should A TV Season Have?

I like the format that TNT, USA, & ABC FAMILY uses. Split the seasons into half & give us between 16 - 20 a yr.
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Old 02-21-10, 01:37 PM   #19
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Re: How Many Episodes Should A TV Season Have?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigjim25 View Post
I like the format that TNT, USA, & ABC FAMILY uses. Split the seasons into half & give us between 16 - 20 a yr.
I actually do like how ABC Family has handled shows like Greek or Make it or Break it. At least there isn't a large 10 month+ gap in between seasons and we still get almost a full season.

Lifetime has done a good job with Army Wives producing 18-19 episodes since season 2. But, as someone mentioned earlier it just depends on what the showrunner and writing staff believe they can reasonably produce in the time frame they have available.

One example of an unintentional short season that killed the show was Pushing Daisies. It only had 9 episodes in it's 1st season due to the writer's strike and when it got renewed and came back 9 1/2 months later, the ratings were awful and we all know what happened.

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Old 02-21-10, 01:42 PM   #20
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Re: How Many Episodes Should A TV Season Have?

It depends. With shows like Psych, Castle, Monk, The Mentalist, House and any show that has independent episodes that don't always follow one story line, 22 is appropriate. But with shows like Dexter, which is pretty much a 12 hour movie cut up, 22 would be way to many. It would get boring. But in general, I like 22 episode seasons.
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Old 02-21-10, 02:15 PM   #21
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Re: How Many Episodes Should A TV Season Have?

I always liked the 12 episode run for several reasons. I hate that a show on ABC is shown in the fall, goes off for about 6 weeks for Christmas, and then you have to wait for the season finale during sweeps in May, too long for me.

I love the HBO model, that it is 12-13 episodes straight through. You look forward to that show each year, you know it is either coming in the spring, summer or fall. Except for the Sopranos when you would have to wait 2 frickin years between seasons!
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Old 02-21-10, 02:21 PM   #22
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Re: How Many Episodes Should A TV Season Have?

the more the better. I'm even a fan of filler episodes
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Old 02-21-10, 02:26 PM   #23
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Re: How Many Episodes Should A TV Season Have?

Depends on the show and its structure, imo. For example, stand-alone and procedurals wouldn't necessary suffer creatively due to episode restrictions. Shows with creative arcs, I like 12-16 per season.
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Old 02-21-10, 03:00 PM   #24
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Re: How Many Episodes Should A TV Season Have?

I like the British Model where they have short seasons and they don't run the series into the ground with season after season. They know when to end it.
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Old 02-21-10, 03:34 PM   #25
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Re: How Many Episodes Should A TV Season Have?

I like 20+ episodes for the half-hour comedies and 13 episodes for hour long dramas. So both?
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