TV SEASONS: THEN & NOW...
IF YOU'VE READ MY STORY about the "Golden Age" of TV, how it began, and, how "The Art Of Magic" & TV Magicians' helped to contribute to those truly "magical" early years and the growth of TV itself, then follow-along, and I'll explain how "GOLDEN AGE RADIO" helped the Major Radio Networks when they transitioned into that new world, and new ownership, of Network TV Stations. JK
IN THE EARLY DAYS OF "Golden Age Radio", on all of the Major Radio Networks, every Series that they carried had a minimum of 39 Shows that were aired out of the 52 weeks in a year. The new Seasons for all shows generally began in September, right after Labor Day, and continued into the middle of June in the next year.
The remaining 13 weeks were used to air, NOT RERUNS, but a "short run", or, "try out" Series...many times these were a completely different type of show than the one they were replacing, and some of these actually spun-off into a full-blown Series on their own merits.
In keeping with that policy, when those same companies created TV Networks to combine with their Radio Networks, and began broadcasting TV Programs & Series nationwide, they, and their producers, adhered to that same format...requiring the various TV shows & series that they carried to crank-out close-to 39 programs during the course of the Season. That's why you'll find that in the first two years of its airing ('64-'65/'65-'66) "Bewitched" one of the longest-running, and best loved comedy Series of all-time, for example, presented 74 Episodes (36 in Season 1; 38 in Season 2).
Granted, in the subsequent Seasons, the times changed and "Bewitched" recorded a slightly-lesser amount of shows per Season, as did all the other Series that were produced by the various Networks, BUT, the "Bewitched" 8 Year Total of 254 Episodes, still comes out to an average of OVER 31 EPISODES PER SEASON !
ACCORDINGLY, I have to smile when some of the both-new-and-existing Series on current Network TV sometimes "top out" at 22-26 Episodes, AND, Cable & Internet Series routinely air as few as 10 Episodes and call it a "Season" ! And, if some reach 13 to 16 Episodes, they think they've done very well.
In fact, there are so few Episodes of each show produced in ALL Series, that, in order to separate one-show-from-another, when they ACTUALLY have a fresh Episode for you to watch (instead of another of their multiple-reruns they usually bombard you with) they started adding "Coming Up Next Week...A New Episode of fill-in-the-blank !" to make you think it's a major event that you should welcome & be thankful for ! Sad indeed.
EXAMPLES: I personally like "Bosch" as shown on Amazon Prime. Titus Welliver, as "Bosch", is a pro whose work I've enjoyed for years, and, two good actresses from St. Louis, Sarah Clarke, and, Annie Wersching, are also in the cast. But, each so-called "Season" of this show only produces 10 Episodes. Period. What a waste of a great cast, and, a good show.
In addition, there's an intense, well-produced detective/drama Series from Ireland, aired on the BBC, that I really enjoy called "Line Of Duty". It is excellent in all respects...except the 1st Season only had 5 Episodes, and, Season 2 & 3 just 6 Episodes each. Truly a shame.
AND DON'T FORGET, there's that rancorous "Split Season" where some Episodes run from, maybe, after a late-start in October, to sometime in December, and then you're "teased' into waiting for their "return" in February, March, or, even April !
Accordingly, to make that l-o-n-g wait sound important, so that you'll seemingly forget you're getting "short changed" on the number of Episodes being aired, some Programming, or, Marketing "genius" created the terms "Fall Finale", AND then, the "Spring Finale", or, "Season Finale". Really ?! Can you say: "Ridiculous" ?!
FINALLY, there's the infamous "Mid Season Debut" ! That's a Series that: 1. Wasn't on the Fall list because it was set to replace a Fall show that didn't make it and was cancelled; 2. A Series that wasn't fully developed, filmed, and, produced so that it could be added to the Fall Season; 3. It's a Series that the Network hasn't fully committed to, so they're giving it a "trail run" to see if it generates any ratings, viewers or viewer support.
( BTW: Even with the small amount of shows produced during one of the current, abbreviated "Seasons", most Episodes get "shelved" at certain times during the year anyway due to Holidays, Award Shows, Sporting Events, National/International Emergencies, etc. Therefore viewing your favorites is already side-tracked for, sometimes, weeks at a time...before, or, during any of the so-called "Finale's" ! )
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS:
THE NEXT TIME you watch your favorite Network, Cable, or, Internet Series, remember what I've said here about what a "Season" once was...and what it is today.
Forget about "the ease of setting your DVR" , or, the "I can watch it anytime, anywhere, in any room, or, on my smart phone, on my tablet, on my ipod" syndrome ! Think about how much more you'd enjoy ALL of your shows (with the lack of constant re-runs of the same Episodes you just saw a few weeks ago) if the number of Episodes produced every season went at least slightly-higher & back to the output of those earlier days.
WITH FRESH IDEAS, fresh scripts, and, more content, that would lead to fresh shows, AND, lots more Episodes of those shows that would be able to be added to every Series. It would combine to make your total viewing experience, today, even better !
SPECIAL NOTE: To read about the beginnings of the Televison Industry, the early years of TV's "Golden Age", and how "The Art Of Magic" & TV Magicians helped the growth of Television in its earliest days, just Click-On-Right-Here and you will be transported "magically" to that Section !