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Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Geek/Countergeek: The Shortened Season Debate

Sometimes, less is more. Or is it? Well, Vito hasn't really decided either, but damned if that's gonna stop him from writing this week's Geek/CounterGeek.

Geek: The Short Season Trend Sucks

It used to be that you could count on a solid 22 to 24 episodes of your favorite show per season. There were few exceptions to this rule. Famously, after four straight short-seasons, the fifth season of '80s hit Moonlighting opened with the cast performing a musical number pledging to fulfill their 22 episode order (they made only 13). Now that number has become the norm for many shows. It’s bad enough that cable networks typically run just about 12 to 14 new episodes per season, but now even that is shrinking. The first season of HBO’s Entourage was a paltry 8 episodes! It was over just when it started to get good. Having a three month break is manageable, but when there are nine months or, in the case of the Sopranos, 18 months between seasons, who can remember what’s going on?

CounterGeek: Short Seasons Rule

A long, long time ago, when the vinyl LP was still king, most albums were under 45 minutes long. Records were limited to about 23 minutes per side. The wide acceptance of the 80 minute CD brought about the 60 – 75 minute album that had only 40 good minutes of music. The same holds true for TV shows. Most shows are stretched thin over the course of a season. Shows that have on-going stories are forced to have horrendous stand-alone episodes or just introduce totally lame plotlines. If 24 were 12, we wouldn’t have to deal with mountain lions, schizophrenic kids, or on-the-job babysitting. It’s also easier for a network to gamble on an unconventional or innovative show when they only have to pay for a handful of episodes. Shorter seasons allow for more creativity, taut storylines and a minimum of nonsense.

Where do you stand? Post a comment now!

2 other geekspeak:

  • I favor the short season, assuming that the quality of shows is worthwhile. For example, "Curb Your Enthusiasm" could do 5 episodes a year and i'd be thrilled. "24" is a notable exception here, but even over 24 episodes, the show drags at times (keep Kim and the mountain lions away...)

    By Blogger joevideo, at 12:26 AM  

  • The Slammer:

    I say quality over quanity. That said....I miss Eliza Dushku's cans terribly.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:46 AM  

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