So I have this theory that the perfect show length is 7 seasons. Personally, I watch a lot of TV, like potentially too much. It is one of my favorite ways to get a story. Also, it is the easiest way to have something in common with people. That is getting off the point! Seven seasons is the perfect length.
Seven seasons is long enough for each main and side character get an independent character arcs, whether silly or not. It gives time to explore different character relationships. Introduce new scenarios. Allow the show to ebb and flow. It is long enough that the world can grow beyond our little initial conflict or premise of the pilot. Whether that is the main character going to college, going to another planet, or the death of the planet.
Seven seasons gives the writers time to wrap up the story not end on a cliffhanger or midway through. I feel like when a show is seven seasons it feels like a true conclusion. Not time jumped in the last episode, it doesn’t rush but unravels. It’s long and winding. It doesn’t rush through. It is a long fun and immersive viewing experience. However, it doesn’t overwhelm in terms of amount to watch.
Seven Seasons is also the longest length a TV show can do without risking going round the bend. I will admit some shows didn’t need to pass this length to do this (Heroes & Glee). However, shows 8 seasons or longer have full off seasons or story arcs and start the conversation even in fans that the show has gone on too long. I feel that shows that are good after more than seven seasons are not the norm but a rarity.
Often after 7 seasons there are larger changes in writing staff and main cast. It does in fact affect the viewing experience when this happens. For some shows, it does happen before season 7 and it works (West Wing). But for some shows (That 70’s Show) it is detrimental at that season 7 mark. Due to the successes of a long running show there are more likely to harder negotiations between writers/actors and production.
My main point to this theory is that most of my favorite shows are 7 seasons.
- West Wing
- Gilmore Girls
- New Girl
- Parks and Recreation
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- Star Trek: The Next Generation
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
- Rizzoli and Isles
- Sabrina the Teenage Witch
These are just a few of my personal favorite shows of all time and also shows that are 7 seasons. There are of course quite a few more.
What do you think? Is there a more ideal length than 7 seasons, if so what?