As I've written in the past, I'm generally in favor of TV seasons being shorter rather than longer. To me, it's better to watch a great 13-episode season rather than a 22-episode season in which the writers are clearly stretched to come up with good ideas.
To me, the BBC has always done it correctly with its traditional 6- and 13-episode seasons (or series, as they refer to them).
As you can see with many cable series on AMC, FX, HBO, USA, Showtime, etc., they follow the short-season model, which I think is one of the reasons why cable shows are so much better than most of the network fare.
One of my friends argued once that with 22, you get more. But often, with series like "24" (which was 24 episodes long each year), you could see the series drag at some points and the writers coming up with harebrained ideas to try to make it through the season (such as the annual who-is-the-CTU mole subplots).
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I'm writing this mostly because BBC America last week ended the second series of "The In-Betweeners," which had a six-episode run (as most Britcoms do). As one of the funniest shows on TV, it's frustrating to see it end so quickly after it began.
That's the downside to my philosophy -- I'm certain the producers could have doubled the amount of episodes without losing any quality.
Ditto for the "Zen" mysteries (PBS, Sunday, 9 p.m.) on "Masterpiece: Mystery," which has been one of the better miniseries, but ends Sunday night after three parts.
Still, as Jerry Seinfeld always says, it's better to leave the audience wanting more by leaving too early than too late.
WEEKEND'S BEST BETS: I've been enjoying "Torchwood: Miracle Day" (STARZ, 10 p.m.), though with its 10-episode miniseries format, it does feel a tad stretched out. When "Torchwood: Children of Earth" aired last year, it was five episodes and fit perfectly.
Also new tonight is "Flashpoint" (CBS, 8 p.m.)
On Saturday, "Outcasts" (BBC America, 9 p.m.) is new, though I gave up on it before last week's episode. However, the network is debuting two new Britcoms that have gotten some positive buzz, "Outnumbered" and "Friday Night Dinner" from 11 p.m.-midnight.
On Sunday, I have no idea how Larry David will top himself after last week's "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (HBO, 10 p.m.) As my brother said, in the hands of pretty much anyone else in the world, the "conflict" between the Jewish and Palestinian characters would have come off as offensive. David made it one of the funniest episodes of one of TV's funniest ever series. It's preceded by a new "True Blood" and followed by "Entourage."
The networks host a variety of pseudo-reality series, while TNT has new episodes of "Leverage" and "Falling Skies" from 9-11 p.m. The latter, one of TV's best new series, is a pivotal episode that potentially reveals a key mystery and sets up the remainder of the season.
USA has the next to last "In Plain Sight" at 10 p.m., while AMC counters with one of TV's best series, "Breaking Bad."