August 18, 2015 at 9:37 pm #358623
I read this really interesting article at Vulture about how so many shows air seasons of such different lengths. What’s the ideal length.
For me, as the sheer number of scripted shows explodes, I want fewer and fewer episodes just so I can commit to more of it. A show with 6-10 great episodes makes me soooo happy. More than a dozen feels a little like work these days, even for shows I love.August 18, 2015 at 9:51 pm #358625
8-10 sounds about right to me. I’m generally pretty happy to binge a 12-13 episode season, but I’ll generally find at least one or two episodes that will feel inessential.
I do think it depends on the showrunner, though. I remember thinking that Torchwood’s five-part third series, Children of the Earth, was incredible, and showed that Davies had finally gotten a proper handle on things so it didn’t just feel like some juvenile “Doctor Who after hours” spin-off. It was tight and precise in what it wanted to do. But, then, with Series 4’s Miracle Day, it was back up to a 10 episode run, and you could feel the padding. It was just such a mess.August 18, 2015 at 10:24 pm #358626
Although I love when shows are 18-25 episodes long because I’m so obsessed with television (especially when I’m binging it), I think 10-13 is best for quality reasons. That way, all of their energy can be put into a more managable workload of 10-13 episodes rather than having to complete the writing, editing, costume design, directing, memorizing lines, and so much more for so many episodes. Less is usually more in that respect because it allows the story lines to be more concise without dragging on and there are little to no filler episodes that are very common in the longer seasons of television. For me, less than 10 feels way too short, but can still be done well. Even though Season 2 of The Comeback is a flawless season of television with just 8 episodes, I would have liked a few more because I can’t get enough of Valerie Cherish!August 18, 2015 at 11:08 pm #358627
It is no coincidence that 90% of the best TV shows have shortened seasons.August 19, 2015 at 8:20 am #358628
^ Funny cause The Good Wife is still holding strong at 24.
I think 8 episodes is ridiculous to even consider a “Season” especially for 30 min shows. 13 episodes at the least. 15 works well for me too like How to Get Away With Murder did. I agree 24 is a bit much especially in this age of binging but that’s what a season of TV is!August 19, 2015 at 8:28 am #358629
I agree – shows with around 10-12 episodes are perfect. I’m specifically thinking of shows like Mr. Robot (currently binging)
Less (especially with 20-30 minute comedies) seems like we’re getting jipped.August 19, 2015 at 8:58 am #358630
The Good Wife would really be improved if it shortened its episode length, particularly last season.August 19, 2015 at 9:02 am #358631
^ Funny cause The Good Wife is still holding strong at 24.
And its best seasons (two and particularly five) still feel a bit diluted and have a decent amount of throwaway episodes.
Comedy is different. So much depends on its format, tone, how deeply serealized it is. When it comes to drama 10-16 episodes seem ideal no matter the type. But even less will do depending on how norrow the focus and arc is. 22-24 episode dramas, particularly ones that mix serealized and procedural drama or are almost entirely character driven, can manage a couple of really good seasons, but later seasons tend to suffer from such length. So, yeah, 10-16 is the should-be target for most.August 19, 2015 at 9:47 am #358632
A great drama would be ideal for 10-12 episodes, unless they can sum it up in 6, like most British Drama Series do. Comedy, I prefer longer runs, mainly if they’re 20 minutes each. But if they are half an hour then 12 is good because I’d rather have 12 high quality episodes than a mix and match of good and meh episodes for 24. The Good Wife suits a longer run because of the different stories it can run across the series, while also allowing for the story of the week.August 19, 2015 at 9:52 am #358633
It depends on what shows you’re talking about.
I think Transparent was ok at 10 episodes since not much happened anyway. Girls too. But a show like Kimmy Schmidt could’ve done more than 13 since it’s more comedic and they have the time to waste on nonsense asuming it’s going to be funny. I think true comedies, 30 minute comedies, can go further than 13 episodes.
I don’t recall a single drama series that had 24 perfect or completely necessary episodes. The Good Wife being a show about lawyers, courts, cases can put out episodes that focus on single cases that take up most of the running time plus character stuff, but I can’t imagine 24 episodes a season of The Sopranos or Breaking Bad. Much less a slow moving show like Mad Men.
24 is an interesting case because they needed it for the gimmick or premise of the show, depending on how you want to call it, but I think that way too many things happened in “one day” for every single season and made it all even less believeable, so they could’ve worked around it like they did with Live Another Day.August 19, 2015 at 10:03 am #358634
13-15 for comedies
10-13 for dramas
Although, at the same time, I am grateful that shows like 30 Rock and The Office had more. Otherwise, there are many shows (Scandal comes to mind) that would benefit from shortenend seasons.August 19, 2015 at 10:05 am #358635
If it was uniformly 13 for dramas, that would be fine with me. Though comedies can vary much more. I would generally prefer at least thirteen for a half hour show, and 20-24 is always fine.August 19, 2015 at 10:36 am #358636
Dramas – 13 or less unless it’s a show that splits into two parts and is basically framed as two seasons OR it could just be The Good Wife and be great most episodes.
Comedy – I don’t think an episode limit should be placed on comedy. Some of the best comedy series have 22 episodes each season. But, some “comedies” like Transparent which are really just “comedy-dramas” should stay at about 10.August 19, 2015 at 11:18 am #358637
I prefer Drama series to have 10-13 episodes. It is no surprise that some of the most acclaimed modern series (GoT, BB, MM, Sopranos, Homeland, SFU, Dexter, Hannibal, HoC, TD etc.) have shorter episode runs, whilst longer series tend to have more complaints about being overbloated.
Comedy series, however, have no strict episode limit in my eye. A series of 22-24 episodes, such as Friends, Modern Family or 30 Rock etc., can be just as effective as a series of 10 episodes, such as Veep, Silicon Valley, Girls etc.August 19, 2015 at 11:26 am #358638
10-13 for drama. Those that have less seem to end way too soon, especially if it’s a really good show… then you have to wait a year for the next season. Six episodes for Rectify went by way too fast That felt too short. I’m also not a fan of shows splitting a “season” into two parts.