Well, they confused us all, because season 1 of Gunsmoke was a single set. 39 episodes on 6 discs. So starting out like that, everyone automatically figured it would continue on that way. Then with season 2 onward, we got the exact split you mentioned.I'd like to ask you this about all the various DVD sets. Wasn't the industry standard for DVDs per set established this way?
How I look at it, for the sake of preserving picture quality w/o compression:
32 half-hour episodes per single release (8 episodes per disc)
24 one-hour episodes per single release (4 episodes per disc)
12 90-minute episodes per single release (3 episodes per disc)
6 two-hour episodes per single release (2 episodes per disc)
When studying this, this would mean that, in the terms of Gunsmoke's half-hour run from 1955-61 (also known as Marshal Dillon) on DVD, they would be broken up in two as each of the six seasons making up this third of the run all exceeded 32 half-hours:
Volume 1: 19 or 20 episodes on 3 discs
Volume 2: 19 episodes on 3 discs
Starting with the first hour-long season in the fall of '61, at 34 episodes, it necessitated another split set:
Volume 1: 17 episodes on 4 discs
Volume 2: 17 episodes on 4 discs
Edit... and to drag it back somewhere near the topic, I keep waffling on buying Gunsmoke seasons 13-17. 17 seems to be quite popular, since it's out of stock at the big river.