What is your preferred length for a t.v. series?

Cicada 5

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When it comes to length of a t.v. series, what is your ideal length? Four to six seasons? Longer than that? Also, how many episodes should those seasons have? Do you prefer short seasons of eight to ten episodes? Or do you like the 22 to 24 episode length? Or is it a case by case basis?
 

Gordon_4

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24 seems like a sweet spot for most kinds of television, serial or otherwise. Enough to do an overarching plot and also a few fluff episodes to flesh out the characters and setting.
 

Dirty Hipsters

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3 seasons 12 episodes each seems like a sweet spot before writers start running out of ideas.
 

Agema

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A TV series should last as long as the writers can keep it fresh. Normally, I'd say that's about three or four seasons. I think for more lightweight stuff, the US full season model of 20-24 episodes a year is fine: you accept there will be duff episodes. For higher quality, this is likely to require fewer episodes, so 6-13.

There are always things to watch out for in terms of collapsing creativity. For instance, dream (time travel / holodeck) sequences set in the 1920s or something.
 
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laggyteabag

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Less than 10 seasons. I think the absolute limit would be about 8 - hell, maybe even 6.

I admire the restraint of a TV show that tells its story, and then stops.

My girlfriend is a big fan of Grey's Anatomy, and that is currently airing its seventeenth season. Seventeen!

With a show like Grey's, or something like The Walking Dead, where characters are constantly joining/leaving the show, when all of the main cast of characters from the first couple of seasons have left, that is probably when it is time to stop. Same goes for shows where the main villain has been stopped, or the main goal has been reached. Once that has been accomplished - end it. I don't want to see The Fire Lord get defeated, only to end up with the Flame King take his place, and have the show go on for another 3 seasons. It's done. Finish it.

I absolutely refuse to watch any of the longer-running anime, where they have hundreds of episodes, because I will find it hard to get invested in a conflict that is established in episode 1, knowing it will be completely irrelevant by episode 100 - let alone by episode 200, or 300 and beyond.
 

Kyrian007

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As long as it keeps being good, but not longer.
Yeah. A variable answer is the correct answer. Each show TV should end about a season before it actually did. In many cases a better show actually has a longer "should have ended" period, but just generally a season before they did pull the trigger. Of course I (and a lot of us) are real hypocrites about originality. We all complain about "jumping the shark" and shows going on too long... but if it is a show we like we just scream, "MORE please." Even if it is a reboot of a show I liked that didn't end well (X-Files, Quantum Leap) I'll follow and even eventually watch a reboot... even while I'm loudly complaining about how "hollywood is out of ideas" and "good god they'll reboot anything these days."
 
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gorfias

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I love "black box" kind of shows but to have been worth watching, the reveal and conclusion better be satisfying. For example, I very much enjoyed many of the episodes of LOST but cannot recommend it to anyone due to its unsatisfactory wrap up. I know me and I could only stand so many episodes a year for a limited number of years before I get tired, thinking the show's creators didn't really have a roadmap and are just making things up as they go.

But if they could keep it fresh everyday forever? They cannot. Logically we know that. But if they could? I'd watch something daily for an hour a day, everyday, forever if they could keep it fresh. Think like a daily one hour episode of "Black Mirror". But at only about 25 episodes, even that show is getting rough around the edges.
 

Agema

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But if they could keep it fresh everyday forever? They cannot.
Over sixty years, several episodes a week? Over 10,000 episodes total.

But perhaps the appeal here is that as a soap opera that aims to more closely represent people's lived experience, it is supposed to mimic reality more closely than a drama that is larger than life. Thus "fresh" has a slightly different aspect - it just needs to tell everyday tales of joy and pain in a neverending stream, much like the real life people observe in the friends and neighbours around them, as if the show's characters were real people who lived in the area who could be gossiped about. Who needs to know the backstory? There's no overriding plot, so you can just start and slot right in, like you've moved into a new city and have to get to know everyone around you.

It could last as long as there is anyone able to make it. Why not?

And to be fair, it's where a lot of really top scriptwriters have worked at some point, often early career.
 
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Satinavian

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Either 24 or 36 i would say. The 12 episode shows are too short for me, they barely introduce the characters and it is half over.

If it is good, i don't mind longer shows.
 

happyninja42

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I don't really care how long it is, I care that the quality is good, and that they aren't just dragging out a concept beyond it's freshness date. I'd rather the show have a clearly defined beginning/middle/end, like Babylon 5. And while nothing survives exposure to the TV industry without alterations, the overall story he was trying to tell, was told.

I'd much rather a show lasted only a few seasons, but that it was planned that way.
 

Phoenixmgs

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Probably like 3 to 5 seasons with probably at most 16 episodes a season. There's only a handful of shows that I've ever seen that are good past that threshold and I think they're all comedies that can comment on just about anything and don't have to worry about an ongoing plot like say The Simpsons (something like 8-12 good seasons), Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm (Larry David!!!), South Park (they do have a decent amount of misses though). Plus, it's nice to be able to rewatch a show where it doesn't take 100s of hours to rewatch. Just doing some quick math for a show with 10 seasons and 20 episodes per (@ 40mins a pop) comes out to 133 hours for example.
 
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Dirty Hipsters

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With a show like Grey's, or something like The Walking Dead, where characters are constantly joining/leaving the show, when all of the main cast of characters from the first couple of seasons have left, that is probably when it is time to stop.
There is one exception to this, and it's the show Being Human (the UK version).
 

laggyteabag

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There is one exception to this, and it's the show Being Human (the UK version).
I remember that one!

Jesus, all 5 seasons are 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. That was one of those shows where I remember liking it, but I cannot actually remember if it was actually good, or if it was just my dumb dumb teenage brain.

I can't remember the exact circumstances surrounding the entire original cast being replaced, but surely at that point it basically becomes a spin-off? Same premise, different characters. Is it really the same show, anymore?

I'll have to give it another watch.
 

Agema

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I can't remember the exact circumstances surrounding the entire original cast being replaced, but surely at that point it basically becomes a spin-off? Same premise, different characters. Is it really the same show, anymore?
It's usually because the writer has a plan for a limited series and stops, but the studio then decides to continue it anyway for $$$. Alternatively the studio axes the show and so the creators conclude it, and then the studio belatedly relents after the conclusion is already done and dusted. What usually has happened is characters have been killed off in the conclusion, or the actors have new contracts on other shows so can't be brought back even if the producers desired.

And yes, they are often effectively different shows. Even keeping most of the cast, the last season of Fringe could pretty much be a different show, and the last season of Babylon 5 was completely aimless.
 

Gordon_4

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It's usually because the writer has a plan for a limited series and stops, but the studio then decides to continue it anyway for $$$. Alternatively the studio axes the show and so the creators conclude it, and then the studio belatedly relents after the conclusion is already done and dusted. What usually has happened is characters have been killed off in the conclusion, or the actors have new contracts on other shows so can't be brought back even if the producers desired.

And yes, they are often effectively different shows. Even keeping most of the cast, the last season of Fringe could pretty much be a different show, and the last season of Babylon 5 was completely aimless.
According to JMS, a maid threw out his notes at a hotel and what we got out of season 5 was all he could remember. Like I could see the grains of ideas there, but the loss of those notes was almost a death blow to the show.
 

hanselthecaretaker

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Probably like 3 to 5 seasons with probably at most 16 episodes a season. There's only a handful of shows that I've ever seen that are good past that threshold and I think they're all comedies that can comment on just about anything and don't have to worry about an ongoing plot like say The Simpsons (something like 8-12 good seasons), Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm (Larry David!!!), South Park (they do have a decent amount of misses though). Plus, it's nice to be able to rewatch a show where it doesn't take 100s of hours to rewatch. Just doing some quick math for a show with 10 seasons and 20 episodes per (@ 40mins a pop) comes out to 133 hours for example.

I’m always down for some new Curb, because beyond a simple outline the cast makes the show. Sure, some seasons are of course better than others, but they’ve proven that it could revolve around practically anything and they just make it work.
 
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