The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Short Shows, Long Time: Why the Magic is in the Waiting

Fans of popular television shows are done waiting for new seasons, but they shouldn’t be.
Torch Illustration / Megan Chapman

Television fans around the globe are not happy about long wait times in between their favorite shows. From “Game of Thrones” to “Better Call Saul,” audiences have to wait over a year for a season to release with shorter and fewer episodes each time. It can be annoying to spend months and years waiting for updates on my favorite shows, just to feel like I’m being played by the producers. But in some cases, less actually is more.

Take “Stranger Things” for example. The show’s third season released on July 4, 2019, while the fourth season released in May 2022. While the COVID-19 pandemic played a part in the delay, why is the production of shows getting longer and longer as technology improves? 

There is actually a reasonable explanation. 

A Vox article reported that shows that have shorter episode counts have more room for gaps in production, particularly if the show and its actors have skyrocketed in popularity. Directors and actors are constantly being asked to make appearances in other films. 

For example, in between filming for “Mr. Robot,” Rami Malek also starred in the critically-acclaimed movie “Bohemian Rhapsody” which came out in 2018. The numerous actors of  “Game of Thrones” have been offered roles that would have otherwise been impossible to attain had it not been for their performances in the show. This, coupled with production and budgeting, accounts for the long waits and fewer episodes.

The article also notes how television has been getting bigger and better in recent years. There are shows that require trips around the world just to be able to film a single episode. A show like “Better Call Saul” has to be meticulously written and examined so that it leaves no plot holes in the “Breaking Bad” cinematic universe. Worldbuilding and an emphasis on great writing skills has created stalls that have otherwise been nonexistent in the television industry. In other words, go big or go home. 

I have been a huge fan of shows like these for the past few years. I have tuned in to every episode of “Better Call Saul” just because it stars one of my favorite “Breaking Bad” characters. Waiting up to a year for a new season to come out felt ridiculous, and I was just as annoyed as the next person about it.

However, when I began to understand the need for longer wait times to ensure quality material, I realized that if I wanted to have a satisfying end to the show, I would have to suck it up with the rest of the fans. Sure enough, “Better Call Saul” ended brilliantly thanks to great writers, actors and patient audiences. 

This is not the end of waiting around for a new season of your favorite show to appear on streaming. The Writers Guild of America Strike has added more wait time between seasons of shows in order to give actors and writers fair wages. From the looks of it, waiting over 400 days for the new season of your favorite show to come back onto the air or streaming services is not going away anytime soon. All audiences can do is watch and wait.

From what Vox reports, long wait times make sense for certain shows. Along with everything going on with the writer’s strike, creating an ethical and thought-out series is a win for audiences.  There comes a time when people have to choose between quality over quality. To me, the answer is clear.

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