Why only 13 episode season?

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by todd s, Aug 15, 2006.

  1. todd s

    todd s Lead Actor

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    We are seeing so many shows only get 13 episode seasons. Now, I can understand if a show is new or on a pay channel. But, when shows are on a commercial network and do well in the ratings. Why can't they produce more?

    For example "The 4400".
     
  2. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    But The 4400 is on a cable channel network, and their original programming budget still isn't as high as the conventional broadcast networks. Plus most of their new programming is in the summer, away from the original new episodes of shows from the broadcast networks.
     
  3. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    I'd rather have 13 good episodes than 13 good plus 13 filler -- Smallville, I'm talking about you!
     
  4. LarryDavenport

    LarryDavenport Cinematographer

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    It sucks that we get so few episodes then have to wait a year for shows we love.

    Life On Mars - 8 episodes
    Eureka - 11 episodes
    Psych - 11 episodes
    Saved - 11 episodes
    Doctor Who - 13 episodes
    The Closer - 15 episodes
     
  5. MatthewLouwrens

    MatthewLouwrens Producer

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    To be fair, in these two cases, the shows are actually from the UK, which typically have much shorter runs for each season - between 6 and 13 episodes per season is quite normal.
     
  6. RyanAn

    RyanAn Screenwriter

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    I'd rather have 13 episodes than 6 episodes... [​IMG]

    Wanted - Cancelled. I still can't get over that one... gosh.

    Some shows are so expensive to make that they can only make so many episodes, and on the other hand, shows are so expensive, that they have to make several.

    ry
     
  7. Marty M

    Marty M Cinematographer

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    The strategy, I believe, for series on some of the cable channels is to complete the season of shows before the four commercial networks start their season. I am watching Saved and the Closer because there is no show on any of the networks that I am interested in watching right now. Once the new season starts, I will begin watching my usual Monday night shows.
     
  8. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Lead Actor

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    More doesn't necessarily equal better. I'd much rather see 13 well crafted episodes than 22 or 26 where the quality lacks. It's also easier to keep up with a series when the season is only 13 weeks long (or 13 hours on DVD).
     
  9. Robert Ringwald

    Robert Ringwald Cinematographer

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    I agree, at the tail end of my 2nd time through Season 7 of BUFFY.

    If there's any season of any show that should have been 13-15 episodes... it's this one. *sigh*
     
  10. joshEH

    joshEH Producer

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    Another case in point:

    Battlestar Galactica. The fans kvetched when it was announced that the first season would only be 13 episodes long (initial network skittishness)...but then, when the show fucking hit it big, Sci-Fi of course couldn't bump that episode-order up to 20 fast enough.

    Then, Ron Moore and company complained that there were now TOO MANY hours (and not enough prep-time) to do the show justice...that they were now getting stretched too thin, creatively. And many folks tend to regard the second season as having much more "filler" than the tight-as-a-drum first year did.

    So it's a double-edged sword, and although the 20-episode order is still in effect for Season Three, Sci-Fi at least doubled the number of prep-months between seasons for the producers to bring their scripts up to their proper fighting weight.
     
  11. JediFonger

    JediFonger Producer

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    re: BSG i don't get why can't move s3 material they're planning now in s2. it'd be awesome to have that jump forward thing mid season. just because the # of episodes are MORE doesn't mean they can be LESS creative. case in point: X-Files. 22-24 depending on season and it is very consistently good even better than the tween episodes we're dealt with.

    think about it, whichever the seasons, you're going to have to deal with the stories no matter what. if you decide to take an approach to have fillers... that's the creator's perogative... but either way it shouldn't be all that different from season to season if they want to keep it consistent.

    besides, some of the best creative episodes are made from time pressures.
     
  12. Qui-Gon John

    Qui-Gon John Producer

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    What bugs me is the cutting down.

    Sopranos, first 5 seasons were 13 episodes, then they trim it to 12. Next up only 8.

    Six Feet Under, 3 seasons of 13, then 2 seasons of 12.

    Stargate SG-1, 7 years of 22, last few years only 20.
     
  13. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    Strictly speaking, Sopranos was a 20-episode order for season 6, which is being shown in two tranches: first 12, then 8. Although given the length of time between the two, the final 8 is practically a truncated season 7. They did the same thing with Sex And The City.

    We've had a similar argument with Battlestar Galactica: were the two 10-part halves of season 2 really seasons 2 and 3 of 10 eps each? All a matter of packaging and perspective, I suppose (leaving aside the contracts).

    Wasn't Grey's Anatomy season 1 only 9 episodes? Although I vaguely recall it was a mid-season replacement. Yet season 2 appears to be 27 eps (per epguides.com) -- was there some sort of holdover of S1 eps into S2, like in Boston Legal?
     
  14. Qui-Gon John

    Qui-Gon John Producer

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    Well in the case of BSG, since it basically ran concurrently with SG1 & SGA and each of those were 20 episodes, I consider it one season.
     
  15. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    For Grey's Anatomy, the 9th episode featured a really good cliffhanger in May 2005 to end their short run as a mid-season replacement, so ABC decided to stockpile the other 4 episodes (I'm guessing they ordered 13 episodes at the start of production to see how people would take to the new show), when the show became a hit, ABC was sitting pretty with extra episodes to keep the momentum of the show going in 2005-2006 season with 27 total episodes.
     
  16. JediFonger

    JediFonger Producer

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    either way they should take as many episodes or as few to tell good stories.
     
  17. joshEH

    joshEH Producer

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    It's the same exact damn thing that happened to Star Trek: Voyager in 1995/early 1996:

    UPN held back the last four or five episodes shot for Season One (ending it on the acceptable-but-somewhat-less-than-climactic "Learning Curve" installment), with "The 37's" -- the intended finale -- slotted in as the Season Two premiere instead. Numerous continuity errors abounded, including Kes's hairstyle switching from episode to episode, et cetera.

    Then, when the DVD season sets were finally released, Season One boasted a measly 15 episodes, compared to Season Two's (comparatively) overloaded 26 eps (though not compared to DS9 and Enterprise's per-season episode counts). Essentially, the Grey's Anatomy situation is an exact repeat of this scenario, though it's becoming more and more commonplace in the industry as a whole, now.

    ...And don't even get me started on Paramount's "NBC airdate" DVD re-ordering of the Star Trek: TOS episodes from their intended 1970s syndicated chronological order.
     

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