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Chuck Star: Shorter Seasons Mean Less Crap

Sick of television shows padding their seasons with unnecessary filler just to make it to 22 episodes a year? Wish that American television would take a leaf out of British television’s book? Perhaps you and Chuck‘s Zachary Levi could form a club.

Talking to Britain’s SFX Magazine, Levi loosened his lips on the subject of American television formatting:

I’m quite a big fan of you do guys do things in the UK. I like shorter seasons. I think you should keep an audience wanting more… I think that, you know, when you stretch out seasons and you do any more than 13 episodes, I think it becomes… well, you don’t necessarily have entire episodes that are crap, but you might have pieces of episodes that are crap, certainly. And I don’t want to do that. I want to make a lean, mean season of television where every episode counts, where every episode for the entire episode, means something.

Firstly, now I want to know what parts of which Chuck episodes he thinks are crap. And secondly… He’s right, isn’t he? Perhaps next year’s 13-episode season of Chuck will end up being the best yet, if only because it doesn’t have time to suck…


  • Fanboy Supreme

    I whole-heartedly agree! NBC/Universal's already doing this via their cable outlet USA Network. Their original shows (Burn Notice, Psych, Royal Pains, Blue Collar, In Plain Sight, Covert Affairs, the now completed Monk) all have shorter episode counts [usually between 13-16 per season]. {I think the only show that may exceed that count is Law & Order: Criminal Intent}

    By keep the episode count lower, not only does that prevent the creative teams from burning out (which is what killed the classic 80's Bruce Willia/Cybill Sheppard TV series Moonlighting), but it also (usually) keeps the prices of the DVD box sets lower as well.

    The higher episode counts, which is around 22 today, used to be 26 or more years ago. This was because the networks could run a complete season at least twice to generate revenue.

    Nowadays, however, a majority of the networks just do 1st run episodes, then release the series onto DVD or post them on-line. This means that the networks are generating their revenue in other ways, such as airing new scripted shows with fresh episodes or producing the less-expensive “reality shows” that pervade the TV landscape today.

  • E.D.

    There was some fat in the middle of the second season that could've been trimmed. The third season was actually pretty tight, thanks to the uncertainty of the full-season pickup. The first thirteen episodes worked as a complete season, and the last six were like a second mini-season.

  • Biff Fearless

    Isn't the real reason for shorter seasons cheapness? Why make 22 episodes when everyone else is making 13? I have watched a few British shows and they just have LESS filler episodes.