It has come to my attention that as of the last few years, streaming platforms are making highly-rated, hit TV shows and yet something about streaming means fewer seasons. You might not have realized it because the shows are just that amazing. However, I don’t see a new show today ever making it to the double digits in terms of seasons. It might seem hard to believe, but I have gathered evidence to back this up and prove that shows aren’t what they used to be when it comes to streaming.
Why Are Shows Shorter?
I remember when shows used to be twelve or more seasons with episodes that went up to twenty-two per season. For example, Supernatural has fifteen seasons with more than sixteen episodes in each season. Criminal Minds is another example as it has sixteen seasons with more than fifteen episodes in each season.
This article by Studio Jake Media further sparked my interest in the topic. It states that we get shorter seasons because of “fan fatigue.” It means that fans will stop watching the show because they will lose interest and feel fatigue around the plot, characters, etc. I can understand that so many episodes in a show can become boring, especially if you are only watching that one show. This article also says that shorter seasons allow a bigger budgets for the streaming platforms and producers. This often leads to a better quality episode than they could produce long term, but then how do you explain these successful shows of our past?
When most streaming platforms have a new original show, it just uploads the entire season. However, a new trend that platforms like Prime Video are introducing is a weekly drop for each new episode. Netflix has done that in the past, but mainly with reality shows like The Great British Baking Show, The Circle, or Love is Blind. When there is a new season, they only release two episodes at a time, and schedule out the remaining episodes to be released each week.
Cable TV shows like 9-1-1 show us a different format that also leads to more seasons and episodes. 9-1-1 only has six seasons, but they are increasing their number of shows per episode by breaking it up into fall and spring releases. This makes me wonder if they can do this format on streaming sites because I don’t think fans would mind a break in the show. Creators could then keep the same amount of drama per season without rushing a major plot point to be released after a couple of weeks of fans anxiously awaiting the answers. I think most fans would love more episodes or more seasons of their favorite show.
I have realized Netflix doesn’t have an original show that has made it to the double digits in seasons. This article by PRIMETIMER lists only a handful of shows that Netflix has created that have made it past four seasons total. I never realized until I was scrolling through Netflix that I had seen many of their shows, but only a few had seven or six seasons at the most. Some of their shows don’t even make it past the first season.
While we still like Netflix, especially their original content, it’s interesting to think about what this could mean for the actors. I can only assume it is rough for them because if you are working with Netflix on an original series, there is never a guarantee that you will be back for another season. No matter how good the show might be and how many fans watch it, you don’t want to get your hopes up since Netflix could pull the rug under you and cancel the show.
The New York Times wrote an article about these controversial streaming topics and they believe that the streaming golden age is dimming. Mainly, this is because there aren’t many shows that have a bunch of successful seasons on the streaming platforms out there. So many shows are canceled that it makes everyone wonder how the TV and movie industry can continue on at this pace. It also keeps fans wondering what happened in their favorite shows because they can be inadvertently left on a cliff hanger or with questions unanswered.
There used to be many shows to stream with a few seasons and hundreds of episodes, ensuring the fans were satisfied with the plot line and characters. Now, it seems more difficult to find a show no matter the streaming service because shows are so fleeting whether they get canceled or moved to another platform.
It is sad to see that the streaming services are not keeping up with the TV shows we love because we miss the continued connection to the characters and the story. Plus, it doesn’t really seem like there is a reason other than budgeting and company direction. Now that streaming means fewer seasons, try not to get attached too quickly because you don’t know if they will get renewed for another season. Unfortunately, it’s more likely that they do not.