Winter Hiatuses and Other TV Gripes

HDTV Winter hiatuses suck.  I’m not quite sure what made TV execs think that having lengthy breaks between halves of seasons is a good idea, but whoever came up with the concept should be, in the immortal words of Garfield the cat, drug out into the street and shot.

I mean, I understand breaking for the holidays. I really do.  No one watches any kind of regular programming when dealing with juggling all the stuff we have to during Christmastime.  But once that’s over, why are our shows not back?

This year, the excuse was the Winter Olympics.  Millions of people care about them more than they do new episodes of House or Stargate Universe.  I get that.  But the Olympics are long over, and my favorite shows are still on hiatus.

What gives?

Marketing, that’s what.  Profit margins.  DVD sales.

As much as I adore being able to get seasons of  TV on DVD, I abhor having to buy installments of a season.  Take Stargate Universe for example.  The series started in October, just before I got married.  It hit its stride and had its “fall finale” as it was called.  It’s supposed to be back on the air April 2nd to finish the first season.

Stargate Universe 1.0 Sounds all good, right?  I’m excited, I’ll admit.  But I’m frustrated, too, because the reason that it has taken so long for it to get back on the air is to make room for the two (yes, two!) DVD sets that have been released for the series before the first season has even ended.  There is Stargate Universe 1.0 which collects the first 10 episodes of the season and Stargate Universe: Air, an extended release of the three-part premiere.

That’s just a bunch of crap, if you ask me.

I don’t want to have to shell out money for halves of seasons.  When I want to own a series I love on DVD, I want to be able to go out and buy it without having to worry about which point-release it’s on.

SGU is not the first series to pull this kind of shenanigan.  They did it with Glee (which I have still not seen despite my wife’s urging) and Battlestar Galactica. I know there are others, too, but they’re slipping my mind at the moment.

My point is that I want more TV now.  Summer is long enough a wait with its mere handful of fun shows (thank God for Eureka, Warehouse 13, and Big Brother).  Now, not only is there an extended wait during summer, but the big-guns of fall programming are being split in two.  Where it seems like there is more time being spent anticipating the TV shows I love rather than watching them.

And, really, that’s poor business.  Even if it artificially bumps fiscal reports and somehow inflates the way seasons look like they sell, it’s just being a jerk on the part of the DVD companies.

TV Sucks Out Your Brain There’s not even an argument to be made for making the programming more widely available more quickly.  With every single network offering full episodes of recent shows online, the majority of people who miss out on a show and care enough to catch up on it early have done so already.

So in short: stop it with the point-release seasons of my favorite shows and making me wait an additional 2-4 months for my favorite programming to start after an arbitrary hiatus. Get back to doing what makes me watch you in the first place: entertaining me.

By B.J. Keeton

B.J. KEETON is a writer, teacher, and runner. When he isn't trying to think of a way to trick Fox into putting Firefly back on the air, he is either writing science fiction, watching an obscene amount of genre television, or looking for new ways to integrate fitness into his geektastic lifestyle. He is also the author of BIRTHRIGHT and co-author of NIMBUS. Both books are available for Amazon Kindle.


  1. Can’t tell you how much I enjoyed SG:U. I’ve never liked the StarGate series up to this point, but its realism and interesting characters won me from the first episode.

    I honestly watch very little TV these days so I rarely notice when they go into these freakishly awkward lapses. I just can’t force myself to watch TV. I have almost a dozen shows my friends swear on their eventual graves that I’ll love to death (pun fail) such as Dexter, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and Spartacus, but I’m just content to leave them alone.
    .-= Brian´s last blog ..“Art of the Week 3/10: ‘Assault Suits’ by Jim Hatama” =-.

    1. SGU really impressed me because I expected the way that “Justice” ended to be the full S1 finale. Instead, the writers get straight to it, and I have no idea where the series is going from there. I love that feeling when a show pulls the right right out from under me.

      I am with your friends. You will LOVE Dexter and Mad Men. I can’t comment on the others since I haven’t seen them. I also suggest True Blood. Even if you don’t like vampire stories (which I don’t), there’s a lot going on there that’s worth seeing.

  2. Yeah, I know how you feel…Supernatural, which I will admit I am hooked on, has taken 2 breaks during their season 5 about two months both times…It’s rather irritating and has become a stable of all series. I enjoy those rare series and networks that break away from the set season run time.

    I also agree with you that part of it is to increase their DVD sales… I know I’m guilty of buying because of the lack of new episodes of a series. It’s one of those things…Eh…I guess we shall just have to wait…*sigh*…

    1. I’m pretty guilty of it, too. I mean, this morning I was thinking about whether or not there was a half-season of Heroes I could pick up that would help me catch up so I could watch the newest season as it airs. For some reason, I miss my Heroes.

      I’m such a hypocrite. 😉

  3. They take such a long break because they want to get you hooked again right before sweeps. Sweeps happens in May and it is when all the ad rates for each channel get set for the following year. The more people the TV companies have watching their shows in May the more money they make over the course of the entire year.

    It’s kind of stupid that so much of it is decided in the course of a few weeks, but that is the way it is.

    And yes, I hate the long mid-season break too.
    .-= Void´s last blog ..Remembering to Play Games =-.

    1. It really is stupid to be decided in a few weeks, especially as everyone knows that those weeks aren’t indicative of the rest of the year. But traditions are traditions. Far be it for logic to enter into marketing…

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