I guess what I'm getting at is, it seems like the viewers have short attention spans, canwe really pay attention to a show and follow it up to or past a certain number if years? Let's say a show has all of the good qualities, what is the magic number. I believe it takes at least two seasons to really develope characters. So we get TNG that lasted 7 seasons, but I felt it could have gone another season or two. Then there's BSG which the story was contained within 4 seasons. Then you have Smallville and CSI which lasted a long run, but felt like should have ended somewhere around season 4,5 or 6. So I guess the shows that have ongoing story arcs can only last somewhere between 4-6 seasons before the writers, actors and audience starts to get tired of it.
Also, shows like Mash, X-Files, Cheers, ect. all existed in a world with less channels, less reality shows and longer attention spans. In the past 10 years we have seen these factors increase more and more. So, like I said, I just don't think Americans can really take long running shows anymore. I also don't think it's fair to cancel a show after only two seasons because like I said , I think it take that long to develope and become noticed. So I think studios should take a risk and give certain shows a 4 year contract. Give that show time to develope and grow, then based on ratings, they go year to year contracts. It just seems like this would work better. I think 4-6 years could be the magic number and then we wouldn't have writers dragging things on and on like in Smallville, plus you'd give writers a chance to explore their ideas. So if they want ongoing story arcs they could do that very well and if they want stand alones , they can explore those very well also. The only problem I have with ongoing story arcs is if you miss a couple of episodes or you don't start watching until later, you miss a lot of shit.