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Tv show episode numbers


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#1    Paranoid Android

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 02:19 PM

I'm a fan of sci-fi and fantasy, and love my sci-fi and fantasy tv shows.  Something I've noticed recently is that for some reason, seasons of tv shows run a lot shorter than they used to.  Take for example:

~ Star Trek (TNG, DS9, Voyager, Enterprise) - of 25 seasons, 23 of them were 26 episodes long
~ Babylon 5 - 5 seasons, 22 episodes long
~ Stargate (SG:1, Atlantis) - 18 seasons, eight of them 20 episodes, the rest 22 seasons
~ Farscape - 4 seasons, 22 episodes
~ Buffy and Angel - 12 seasons, 11 of them 22 episodes long
~ Xena and Hercules - 12 seasons, 11 of them 22 episodes or more (one season, 25 episodes)
~ X Files - 9 seasons, 21 episodes minimum
~ First Wave - 3 seasons, 22 episodes each

I cannot help but compare this to current season run times of contemporary shows:

~ Game of Thrones - 2 seasons, 10 episodes in season 1, 11 in season 2 (10 episodes slated for season 3)
~ Eureka - 5 seasons (at present), 3 seasons 13 episodes or less
~ Warehouse 13 - 4 seasons, the longest of them running 13 episodes
~ The Walking Dead - three seasons (at present), running 6 episodes, 13 episodes and 16 episodes
~ Robin Hood (BBC) - 3 seasons, each 13 episodes
~ Sanctuary - 4 seasons, three of which run for 14 episodes or less

Fringe, Heroes, and Lost seem to be exceptions to the rule, but even some of these have singular seasons running very short.  Maybe it's just a sci-fi/fantasy thing (as I said, I'm a fan of this genre), but has anyone else noticed that season run-times seem to be getting shorter?  Any theories on why?

Edited by Paranoid Android, 09 March 2013 - 02:44 PM.

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#2    Valdemar the Great

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 02:40 PM

I suppose the reason is the dreadful cut-throat competitiveness of the TV business these days, and the way that Execs ruthlessly cancel shows after the first season if they don't meet their absurdly over-optimistic audience estimates, so the producers will make short series so that they can at least get the plot line cleared up and not leave it hanging. Although Lost did go on far too long.

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#3    third_eye

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 04:11 PM

audiences are more knowledgeable these days, hardly a trick anyone can up with these days that is not used reused in some ways prior

there is just so much added spin you can put on the old stories

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#4    Bonecrusher

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 05:11 PM

View PostLord Vetinari, on 09 March 2013 - 02:40 PM, said:

I suppose the reason is the dreadful cut-throat competitiveness of the TV business these days, and the way that Execs ruthlessly cancel shows after the first season if they don't meet their absurdly over-optimistic audience estimates, so the producers will make short series so that they can at least get the plot line cleared up and not leave it hanging. Although Lost did go on far too long.
I think the same thing is happening to the revamp of Prisoner Cell Block H.
They are starting off with eight episodes to merit going with it.
It's a risky risk with just an Australian following so let's hope the viewing figures are good.
I can imagine them cancelling it not realising there's a cult following.
It's a shame because they have even brought back the infamous steam press.
We even get a younger Bea Smith.
I don't know how cutthroat the Aussie TV execs are but you wouldn't think they would leave it hanging.
It isn't Hollywood where things run to a deadline.
I don't even know why they cancelled Total Wipeout.
Their planning permission must have expired in Argentina.

Edited by Medium Brown, 09 March 2013 - 05:12 PM.

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#5    FunkyPoacher

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 07:31 PM

Shows are just more expensive to make now. They're like mini-movies to make and it's incredibly costly.

Although some of the shows you mentioned belong to networks who went through some changes in management, and those who are running things now seem bent on screwing over their shows. Syfy (Eureka, Warehouse 13) and AMC (Walking Dead) to be specific. Why is a mystery. Althought both networks have some obviously expensive shows. Still, SyFy cancelled some great programming (Eureka!) so they could put their money behind Warehouse 13 and despite that apparently the scripts have still been lacking this year (according to my fiance, haven't watched it myself although generally I agree with him on stuff like this).

Also you mentioned BBC. That's just how they make their shows. Their series (our seasons) are generally a lot shorter. They do TV different.

Edited by FunkyPoacher, 09 March 2013 - 07:32 PM.


#6    Oppono Astos

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 08:59 PM

Guess I'm showing my age, but at one time in/for the UK most adult and children's drama series from both BBC and ITV were usually 13 episode/week seasons (ie 1/4 of the year, literally a season); that said I can think of several favourite shows produced by ITC Entertainment that went against this norm.  Lesser series - often the Sunday teatime dramas - and comedies tended to be 6 episode/week seasons.  In recent times the BBC has tended to maintain this 13-episode season practice recently with Dr Who (OK now with a 6/7 split), Robin Hood, Merlin etc.

Not sure why the longer seasons were common to US productions - notwithstanding the possibility of the show being cut mid-season anyway depending on ratings; guess there may be some element of filming/production efficiency and costs - not unlike the modern practice of filming multi-part films back to back regardless of ultimate release dates.

Are shows really more expensive pro-rata to make these days?  I suspect there is more an issue of set budget and hopefully maintaining some quality over quantity while trying to hit audience figures.  Ultimately there aren't infinite resources to write/create/film/produce quality content to supply/fill all the (mainly dross) digital channels.

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#7    Valdemar the Great

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 07:48 AM

View PostOppono Astos, on 09 March 2013 - 08:59 PM, said:


Are shows really more expensive pro-rata to make these days?
Oh, almost certainly, I should think, considering the budgets there were even for classics like Star Trek and the original Who.

Life is a hideous business, and from the background behind what we know of it peer daemoniacal hints of truth which make it sometimes a thousandfold more hideous.

H. P. Lovecraft.


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#8    ExpandMyMind

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 12:51 PM

View PostParanoid Android, on 09 March 2013 - 02:19 PM, said:

I'm a fan of sci-fi and fantasy, and love my sci-fi and fantasy tv shows.  Something I've noticed recently is that for some reason, seasons of tv shows run a lot shorter than they used to.  Take for example:

~ Star Trek (TNG, DS9, Voyager, Enterprise) - of 25 seasons, 23 of them were 26 episodes long
~ Babylon 5 - 5 seasons, 22 episodes long
~ Stargate (SG:1, Atlantis) - 18 seasons, eight of them 20 episodes, the rest 22 seasons
~ Farscape - 4 seasons, 22 episodes
~ Buffy and Angel - 12 seasons, 11 of them 22 episodes long
~ Xena and Hercules - 12 seasons, 11 of them 22 episodes or more (one season, 25 episodes)
~ X Files - 9 seasons, 21 episodes minimum
~ First Wave - 3 seasons, 22 episodes each

I cannot help but compare this to current season run times of contemporary shows:

~ Game of Thrones - 2 seasons, 10 episodes in season 1, 11 in season 2 (10 episodes slated for season 3)
~ Eureka - 5 seasons (at present), 3 seasons 13 episodes or less
~ Warehouse 13 - 4 seasons, the longest of them running 13 episodes
~ The Walking Dead - three seasons (at present), running 6 episodes, 13 episodes and 16 episodes
~ Robin Hood (BBC) - 3 seasons, each 13 episodes
~ Sanctuary - 4 seasons, three of which run for 14 episodes or less

Fringe, Heroes, and Lost seem to be exceptions to the rule, but even some of these have singular seasons running very short.  Maybe it's just a sci-fi/fantasy thing (as I said, I'm a fan of this genre), but has anyone else noticed that season run-times seem to be getting shorter?  Any theories on why?

Well GoT and TWD are both on cable channels, and cable shows always have fewer episodes (generally around 10-16, though TWD and other AMC shows have been known to start with 8). Robin hood is on BBC? BBC usually only does 6-8 episodes, so 13 is actually pretty high (probably because it was marketed for America). Eureka, Sanctuary and Warehouse 13 are all made my Syfy as far as I'm aware, and Syfy has also recently adopted the approach (or readopted it as it may be) of less is more.

The reason that there are often 22-26 episodes of a series in the first place is due to the networks need to milk every last ounce of advertising that they can from a project. It's basically about making as much money as possible. The reason Lost had 16 episodes for the last 3 seasons is because the fans were tired of all the 'filler' episodes, and wanted story. So the writers and producers decided to consolidate the storyline which led to far more happening in every episode, and an excellent last 3 seasons. When you look at the quality of cable shows in comparison to network, it is really quite easy to deduce that cable episodes generally have more substance to them due to this fact (and sometimes their episodes also last longer than network shows). When your episodes have more substance, the quality of show is higher and it is easier for the writers to tell their story.

Some networks have recently adopted this approach with some shows, but I don't think Eureka and Warehouse really fit into this description. I think the reason they have less episodes is basically because Syfy have sooo many failures over the years, they literally can't afford to put all their eggs in a 24-episode-per-season basket (especially when we consider that it is the ever-failing NBC that own Syfy). None of the Syfy shows you mentioned are actually particularly popular, and each has actually been cancelled at some point to be brought back (I actually think they all might be on their last season now). BSG was the last popular project on Syfy, along with Stargate, and they probably won't have another popular one until Ron Moore's new series takes off. Don't worry though because there are actually quite a few promising Sci-fi pilots planned for this year (being filmed now) from other networks. You can check out a few here and you could check out Continuum which is really good, and look at the 4400 if you haven't seen it. That was great sci-fi.

It has nothing to do with Sci-fi shows, and more to do with cable standards, network standards and general finances.

Edited by ExpandMyMind, 10 March 2013 - 01:02 PM.


#9    Bonecrusher

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 08:58 PM

View PostFunkyPoacher, on 09 March 2013 - 07:31 PM, said:


Also you mentioned BBC. That's just how they make their shows. Their series (our seasons) are generally a lot shorter. They do TV different.
The BBC certaintly know how to make shows alright.
Even when their not in Camelot it feels like fantasy land.
The prime example is Eastenders with their self- repairing pubs.
While on Strictly Come Dancing they do the waltz to Poker Face.
And don't even get me started about their shoddy treatment of Swindon Town.
You would thought with the accoumated TV licences they could afford a football pundit other than Steve Claridge.
They axed Survivors when on a cliff- hanger.
So they just do things on the cheap thinking the sheep won't even notice.
But the creme le creme in naftness has to be Doctor Who.
Even that's been taking knock- backs.
And the ITV is supposed to free but that's actually bogus.
Because it's compulsory to own a TV license you can't watch ITV anyway if you don't.
So they are just as ludicrous as the BBC!

Edited by Medium Brown, 10 March 2013 - 09:02 PM.

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#10    ExpandMyMind

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 10:01 PM

Medium, why do you hit 'enter' after every sentence? I'm not trying to offend you but your posts are incredibly difficult for me to read. In fact, most of your posts I don't even read because they have so little structre. Is there a reason you do this?


#11    Bonecrusher

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 11:26 PM

View PostExpandMyMind, on 10 March 2013 - 10:01 PM, said:

Medium, why do you hit 'enter' after every sentence? I'm not trying to offend you but your posts are incredibly difficult for me to read. In fact, most of your posts I don't even read because they have so little structre. Is there a reason you do this?
It's took me approaching 1,000 posts for somebody to just realise this.Actually this won't be the first time somebody's asked this question and it won't be the last.What with me being an Aspie I tend to despise the concept of paragraphs. In my eyes they don't seem right despite reading thousands of books.

This could explain why Lilly didn't have a clue about Ty and Kayla despite repeated mentions.I imagine she's having the same difficulty deciphering them as you are. Which is a shame because you are missing out on a bit of witticism and surprising wisdom.Actually in the " Dust Mites" thread Lilly replied because I actually started it with paragraphs for once.An other time I wrote a letter from my IT publishing project in paragraphs but somehow for once it felt aesthetic to the eyes. But if I'm writing multiple paragraphs I will use gaps between then. I'm going to make more of an effort now.But don't be surprised if I do it again without noticing.

Now I've got that off my chest I was actually criticising the BBC's poor choice of programming...

Edited by Medium Brown, 10 March 2013 - 11:37 PM.

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#12    Valdemar the Great

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 09:16 AM

View PostMedium Brown, on 10 March 2013 - 08:58 PM, said:

The BBC certaintly know how to make shows alright.
Even when their not in Camelot it feels like fantasy land.
The prime example is Eastenders with their self- repairing pubs.
While on Strictly Come Dancing they do the waltz to Poker Face.
And don't even get me started about their shoddy treatment of Swindon Town.
You would thought with the accoumated TV licences they could afford a football pundit other than Steve Claridge.
They axed Survivors when on a cliff- hanger.
So they just do things on the cheap thinking the sheep won't even notice.
But the creme le creme in naftness has to be Doctor Who.
Even that's been taking knock- backs.
And the ITV is supposed to free but that's actually bogus.
Because it's compulsory to own a TV license you can't watch ITV anyway if you don't.
So they are just as ludicrous as the BBC!
What I like is how they always say [I may be wandering slightly off course now, but it doesn't really matter, does it] that EastEndErs, in particular, are so True to life and so Grittily realistic. Come one, if it was True to life there'd be weeks and weeks where nothing happened at all, except perhaps someone came home late from the pub or they found a mcDonalds carton that sonmeone had chucked over the wall. That's the trouble with EasTendErs in particular, they always have to have something happening. Corrie, in the old days, was rather more realistic, as nothing very much happened there a lot of the time. Or Last of the Summer Wine.

Life is a hideous business, and from the background behind what we know of it peer daemoniacal hints of truth which make it sometimes a thousandfold more hideous.

H. P. Lovecraft.


:cat:


#13    Bonecrusher

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 03:34 PM

View PostLord Vetinari, on 11 March 2013 - 09:16 AM, said:


What I like is how they always say [I may be wandering slightly off course now, but it doesn't really matter, does it] that EastEndErs, in particular, are so True to life and so Grittily realistic. Come one, if it was True to life there'd be weeks and weeks where nothing happened at all, except perhaps someone came home late from the pub or they found a mcDonalds carton that sonmeone had chucked over the wall. That's the trouble with EasTendErs in particular, they always have to have something happening. Corrie, in the old days, was rather more realistic, as nothing very much happened there a lot of the time. Or Last of the Summer Wine.
They call soap operas a slice of life.More like a slice of strife...

I've never seen a more grimmer cast of characters ever assembled in one street.They keep harping on about the best villain at the soap awards.Well everybody is so vile on Albert Square they might as well cop the lot for it.I wouldn't trust any of them with a roll of quarters.I certainly won't be inviting of them to a dinner party because no doubt they will nick all the silverware.

This rogue's gallery hang about in a Twilight Zone of perpetual bafflement.Why is there is a nightclub in an allegedly quiet back alley?Why does the Queen Vic after repeated arson attempts manage to magically re- build itself a week later under new management?Even the bust of Queen Victoria hasn't got a scratch.Why has Dirty Den's corpse not been discovered under the floorboards?Why do the residents have unlimited credit?Why do the residents work in or near Albert Square?Why is everybody on first name terms?Though that one's easy to explain because they all related to each other.Why can't  anybody use a washing machine and why hasn't the Greek owner not appeared on his own premises?Why did Peggy Butcher leave Albert Square in broad daylight without anybody present in the Square?Why does an allegedly Muslim woman not wear a habib?

I'm sorry but none of this is a part of your average day in any average inner- city area.I can absolutely guarantee you that  somebody will snuff it next Christmas.It must be all that free booze that leads to all that aggro.The Beeb are relentless when it comes to winning the hearts and minds of sheep.But why can't they dare to be different?Have Corrie and Eastenders on at the same time.But they won't do that because ITV and BBC are one entity.Why do you think the presenters keep swapping between the two channels?The TV license is just one big con! Don't give me that about the advertisements  because the two channels are partners in crime.

There's your Monday mid- afternoon rant...

Edited by Medium Brown, 11 March 2013 - 03:36 PM.

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#14    Valdemar the Great

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 09:01 PM

* As a case in point, this just today.. http://www.huffingto..._n_2853393.html

They never used to have to do this. In the days of Bet Lynch and Hilda and Stan Ogden and so on it was all character driven, they didn't need to bother with Dramatic storylines. Like that ludicruous Tram disaster. Maybe they hired some scriptwriters and/or producers from Enders?

Edited by Lord Vetinari, 11 March 2013 - 09:02 PM.

Life is a hideous business, and from the background behind what we know of it peer daemoniacal hints of truth which make it sometimes a thousandfold more hideous.

H. P. Lovecraft.


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#15    Bonecrusher

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 09:48 PM

View PostLord Vetinari, on 11 March 2013 - 09:01 PM, said:

* As a case in point, this just today.. http://www.huffingto..._n_2853393.html

They never used to have to do this. In the days of Bet Lynch and Hilda and Stan Ogden and so on it was all character driven, they didn't need to bother with Dramatic storylines. Like that ludicruous Tram disaster. Maybe they hired some scriptwriters and/or producers from Enders?
I wonder how long it'll take to repair the Rovers Return after that conflagration.I'll give it two weeks at most.Still they've got that replica in Blackpool.But it'll be invalid if they don't try to rebuild the Rovers Return.Unless they blacken the walls.In a real world despite the insurance they would let it rot until it get's converted into an off- license.However I'm not going to make a habit out of calling my local soap so I'll leave it be.

Going back to Albert Square my sister would collapse in a dead faint if she saw my previous post.If you want my honest opinion you don't need to be a woman to enjoy Eastenders.More like a masochist!Btw the only characters with a shred of decency at Albert Square are Wellard and Rolly!Besides the in- breeding and criminality none of the characters honour their vows.They are a right rabble!



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