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Old September 14 2011, 07:47 AM   #1
Nowhere Man
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Is Four Seasons all We Can Handle?

I've noticed in recent years that good well written tv. shows only last roughly four seasons. BSG comes to mind first as well as Enterprise, which one could argue was poorly written. Now we have Breaking Bad and a few other good shows are ending after their fourth seasons. Obviously a few factors come into play these days, production cost, actually paying writers, reality shows, too many chanels, and many other problems. So it seems like all of these factors plus the attention span of Americans continues to dwindle. So we end up with most channels having one or two(if we are lucky) good, well written dramadies/ regular drama. Then the rest is reality shows and other crap. It seems to me that four, maybe five seasons is the magic number. With BSG, we see that full story can be told within four seasons. I would have lked to have seen a fifth season of BSG and Enterprise. So maybe somewhere around four or five seasons is all we can handle anymore. Three seasons or less seems too short and once you get into seasons six and seven things seem worn out. Now I wouldnt apply that to animated shows and most comedies.
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Old September 14 2011, 08:01 AM   #2
IndyJones
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Re: Is Four Seasons all We Can Handle?

Hilbilly Rage wrote: View Post
Now we have Breaking Bad and a few other good shows are ending after their fourth seasons.
Breaking Bad is getting a fifth season.
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Old September 14 2011, 01:03 PM   #3
Joe Washington
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Re: Is Four Seasons all We Can Handle?

I understand what you mean. Certain shows just drag on after the fourth season until something happens to energize it.
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Old September 14 2011, 02:26 PM   #4
bigdaddy
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Re: Is Four Seasons all We Can Handle?

Breaking Bad is ending with their fifth season next year.

BSG had no plan so they ended it after a fourth so they wouldn't get canceled without an ending.

Enterprise got canceled because... Well let's not start that fight again.

MASH went 11 years right? I enjoyed most of the show. Just depends on writing, and if they know how to write and take chances.
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Old September 14 2011, 02:44 PM   #5
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Re: Is Four Seasons all We Can Handle?

Being Erica is starting its fourth and final season. Based on an interview with the show runner, I get the impression that this show was also cut short so that it wouldn't get cancelled without an ending. It gets renewed from year to year and the rating started faltering in season 3.
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Old September 14 2011, 03:00 PM   #6
Greg Cox
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Re: Is Four Seasons all We Can Handle?

DEXTER is just starting its sixth season . . . .
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Old September 14 2011, 03:23 PM   #7
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Re: Is Four Seasons all We Can Handle?

NCIS' 9th season begins next Tuesday.
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Old September 14 2011, 03:41 PM   #8
Scout101
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Re: Is Four Seasons all We Can Handle?

It's a variety of factors.

-Novelty of the concept wears off

-Writers often have a certain idea for the show, but after 4 years, they've gone as far as they can without reinventing things, which often involves a change of direction

-Flip side of that is just continuing to go with the formula, which may be fine for some, but others drop out as the show becomes too predictible.

-Around the point where actors' contracts may start to run out, leading to cast changes, main characters leaving/dying/recast. Or if the show got big, actor may be a big deal now and want out to go after a movie career.

-Really think it's mostly just concept. You start with a great idea for a show, and unless you very carefully plan it out for a long duration run (and hard to know that in advance, so you often give a lot early in case it's shorter than you wanted), but after 3-4 years, you've usually exhausted most of what you set out for originally, and start stalling for time (see LOST, which is an easy example, and didn't pick back up until they had a firm end date, and could plan the rest out, or at least as much as they did, anyway ) Show may still have good storylines in it, or characters may be popular, but it's not usually as good as it was when the writers still had big plans for the show. Becomes a game of running out the clock, seeing how long you can keep the money flowing without having to start over...
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Old September 14 2011, 04:47 PM   #9
LitmusDragon
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Re: Is Four Seasons all We Can Handle?

I thought this thread was going to be about adding more seasons like Finter or Spummer.



Anyway, I think it depends on the show, I think stuff like the Trek series were justified in going to 7 seasons.

House I think could probably have ended after the 4th season.

Farscape needed more than 4 seasons.
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Old September 14 2011, 04:52 PM   #10
23skidoo
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Re: Is Four Seasons all We Can Handle?

It really depends on the show. If a show is arc-heavy like nuBSG it's very hard for a show to sustain momentum, especially of the writers don't have a long-term strategy, which of course is hard for writers to do when we live in a world where most shows are voted off the island after 13 episodes (run the stats and you'll find the number of shows that actually survive to a second season is actually in the minority; drop the percentage even further if it's a genre show on mainstream network TV - Fringe and Chuck have both defied the odds and X-Files' 9-year and Smallville's 10-year runs were remarkable, though you'll find many saying those shows should have ended after 4-5 years). Shows that do tend to last are those that don't have ongoing arcs and rely on standalones for the most part - the Star Treks qualify for this, and of course Law & Order, the CSIs, and of course Doctor Who. That doesn't mean there can't be "internal arcs" lasting a few stories or even a whole season, but compare to nuBSG or Lost which attempted to tell a single story have multiple years.

On the other hand, soap operas run with their arcs for years, sometimes decades. So I think it really depends on the audience, and how the show is handled, and if they have a game plan. Babylon 5 had a game plan, but even it ran into trouble because it lost its lead actor after the first year, and got cancelled with one year to go, so they had to change the plan. Farscape got screwed royally.

The thing that annoys me is when a show is compared with another in a franchise and declared a failure because it didn't last as long. Forget any subjective quality issues, Enterprise was in no way a failure - it lasted 4 full seasons. Those who call it a failure based on length criteria must therefore declare Farscape, Firefly, etc failures as well. Most SF producers would kill to get 4 seasons.

Alex
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Old September 14 2011, 06:58 PM   #11
Mr. Laser Beam
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Re: Is Four Seasons all We Can Handle?

Depends on the show.
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Old September 14 2011, 07:02 PM   #12
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Re: Is Four Seasons all We Can Handle?

It can also be entirely for business reasons (i.e. Battlestar). Some shows are just plain at the mercy of the budget, despite having a more creative longevity.
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Old September 14 2011, 07:22 PM   #13
bigdaddy
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Re: Is Four Seasons all We Can Handle?

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
DEXTER is just starting its sixth season . . . .
But the fourth is the best.
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Old September 14 2011, 08:16 PM   #14
Greg Cox
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Re: Is Four Seasons all We Can Handle?

bigdaddy wrote: View Post
Greg Cox wrote: View Post
DEXTER is just starting its sixth season . . . .
But the fourth is the best.
Nah, I gotta go with the second or third. Trinity was a little too-over-the-top for my tastes. With all due respect to Lithgow, he felt more like a collection of serial-killer tics and gimmicks than a real person, as opposed to, say, Miguel Prado who was believable enough to be really scary.

But I digress.
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Old September 14 2011, 09:12 PM   #15
Temis the Vorta
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Re: Is Four Seasons all We Can Handle?

Lost lasted 6 seasons and I enjoyed them all. DS9 lasted 7 seasons and I enjoyed them all. Conversely, I bail on most shows after checking out one episode.

The only moral to the story is that there's no moral to story. Some shows are worth watching; most aren't. Some shows have one good season in them (Prison Break) and others, managed correctly, could go on indefinitely (Heroes or a Star Trek series that returned to the TOS approach).

The length of time a show should run is determined by the premise.
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