The concept of network TV “seasons” has become nothing more than an artifact these days, a reminder of a time when the three networks programmed themselves the summer season off.  With the mutliple channels (and multiple points of access to them) that we have today, one can probably view brand-new programming year-round, as long as you’re cool with some of it being ‘American Ninja Warrior’ (which is basically ‘American Gladiators’ with a much higher learning curve.)  This has also led to production seasons being split up, as with Doctor Who, making the infuriating decision to give us a few shows in the spring, a few more in the fall, with a big Christmas episode for traditional purposes.  Given my own tardy viewing habits, I’m not sure how I feel about split seasons, which leads us to today’s 13-episode-ordered query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) has always found that time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so, but I am always prepared when lunchtime comes around, asking: Do you like or dislike a “split season” format, with a large mid-season hiatus?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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4 Comments

  1. May 3, 2015 at 11:46 am — Reply

    I dont have preference either way, mainly because I tend to watch in binges. Sometimes I forget show exist or Im more interested in some other things for a while, then I suddenly decide that I’ll watch like half dozen episodes in one weekend.

    I cant help but feel like this whole “season” term to be little silly, back when internet didnt exist I didnt even know they were called seasons. Now its “season this and season that” everywhere. I try to avoid using that word, find it somewhat uncomfortable to me, probably because whole thing feels so arbitrary and artificial and I always have it in my mind while talking about TV shows. Its kinda same as gaming term “faming”. it was always called just “getting more stuff” and I still dont want to use that word for getting more stuff.

  2. Don Kelly
    May 3, 2015 at 5:13 pm — Reply

    I, like you Matthew, remember the days of TV seasons. Then the days of mid season replacements. I do dislike the split season (series) approach which has come to be popular. Doctor Who, Breaking Bad and two that come to mind. Short breaks during a regular season ( 2-3 weeks) don’t bother me so much. It’s more the 3 or 4 month or longer breaks that bug me. Personally I would rather see shorter arcs of story with a break but more arcs per year.

  3. Dan Langsdale
    May 3, 2015 at 5:47 pm — Reply

    It depends on how many episodes are in the “season.”

    With traditional American network series of 20-26 episodes in a season, sure, take a break.

    But if your “season” is only 10-13 episodes (or less for some BBC “series”), then save ’em up to show without a huge break in the middle, please.

    Also, in this era of season-long arcs (even for some sit-coms) it really kills story momentum to have the season drop off for three months in the middle.

  4. Oldcomicfan
    May 3, 2015 at 6:48 pm — Reply

    I agree with Dan. I remember when a television season ran from fall to summer with no breaks. The first major series I can recall to go with the midseason break – and it was only 1 month – was Star Trek The Next Generation, and they did that go give them a chance to get ahead of the curve with special effects. Now it’s gotten out of hand, with “seasons” containing as few as ten episodes (or less – Sherlock, I am looking at YOU with two or three episode seasons) and “breaks” in the middle as long as three month to a year. I only find Game of Thrones short seasons acceptable because each episode is an hour long, or more – but it’s still painful to have to wait a whole year for the next season after so few episodes. The thing that annoys me most of all is that the programs I hate most – reality TV shows, stupid sitcoms, and “pro” wrestling NEVER seem to take a break. I think the networks like the short seasons with breaks because they can make a smaller commitment up front – it’s kind of ridiculous to read about this network or that ordering another “season” of 13 episodes midway through the first season since, in the old days, they’d invest in a whole season up front and seasons consisted of as many as 30 episodes if not more and the only “breaks” they took was in the summer. I much prefer the old days though I can see in these days of over-the-internet TV and short attention span viewers how the shorter seasons would appeal to the producers and broadcasters. That doesn’t mean I have to like it.

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