13 Episodes or Less


So I’m in my favorite T.V. show supermarket picking up a fresh batch of new seasons of my favorite hour-long shows. The Walking Dead in the deli section, True Blood at the bakery and Pretty Little Liars (Haters gonna hate) in seafood. I browse through the aisles and decide to try some new series I think I might (and do) enjoy like American Horror Story, Revenge and Once Upon A Time (Your hate is showing). I get to the checkout lane and I see that the 13 episodes or less lane is open and there are only a few people in it. Meanwhile the other lanes go from the front of the store to the back. What should I do?

Obviously put some of the shows back. No one could choose between all these lovely choices you say? Noooooope. You most certainly can.

In the past couple of years that I’ve been watching television drama series there’s one thing that (I think) makes the ones that are well made linked in some way is that most of them have seasons with 13 episodes or less.

My favorite example for this season is American Horror Story. There are a few people that I have heard from who do not like the show for various reasons and I can completely understand their stances. The one thing I will never agree with is the fact that the show is incredibly well written. For those of you who disagree I will respectfully take your criticisms, but from here on out I will think “why?”

I won’t spoil this season of American Horror Story for anyone, but I will tell that for the most part SOMETHING HAPPENS in every episode. Compared to the show LOST, American Horror Story did more in their first season than LOST did in 6 seasons. And I know what you’re thinking: LOST will go down as one of the greatest television shows in history. I agree. I’ve seen every episode of the series and I thought the first two seasons were phenomenal. There’s only one problem…it took 3 to 4 episodes for anything interesting to happen

There’s a lot of hearsay about whether the LOST writers had a complete map out of the show’s entire run. Some people say “yes” and others say “no.” To me it doesn’t matter. They did a SHITTY job of storytelling after the second season…sorry. If I were the writers I would tell people that I didn’t have any outline just so I could save face because honestly if they did have an outline of the entire series run and it turned out the way LOST did, I’d be embarrassed.

So why is there such a difference between these two show? As I’ve said before it’s because shows with 13 or less episodes like American Horror Story just don’t have the time to BULLSHIT the audience because they don’t have enough episodes to do anything otherwise. You have such a small timeframe for exposition and seasons of (hopefully) compelling storytelling that you don’t even need to have filler. You either get your shit together or you lose.

LOST was a television phenomenon but the show had too long to figure out what the hell was going on and we all know it. Can you imagine if every season of the series was cut down to 13 episodes? We’d be on the edge of our seats.

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2 thoughts on “13 Episodes or Less

  1. […] ALSOOOOO this season is slated to only have 13 episodes or less this season so if you’ve read my previous post you’ll realize why it gets a big f***cking gold star for the time […]

  2. […] they want to stretch it out long enough, I think they have to follow the British mode of a 13-episode arc. (Check out Chris’s post on why this type of series development for TV works better.) Otherwise, […]

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