This is not about individual episode length, friends. This is about something much bigger than that — or not, depending on how you look at it. Most Disney+ live-action Star Wars TV shows are not long enough, and it’s blocking the potential of so many good series to be great.
Let’s take a look at Andor. You all loved that show (as did I). In fact, you loved it so much that you for whatever reason feel the need to expect every show that follows it to be exactly like it, which is a whole other thing. But what does Andor have that makes it truly work as a story?
It has 12 episodes per season. Not eight. Not six. Not seven. Twelve.
This is the fact that many viewers overlook when trying to figure out what isn’t totally working about most live-action Star Wars shows. There are many great things about Andor that make it an exceptional show. But the fact that it had 12 whole episodes to tell a full story made more of a quality difference than anything else you’re going to tell me about later.
If you’ve ever wondered why every season of most of these shows feels rushed, why characters often make choices that seem out of place, why episodes sometimes bounce back-and-forth between deep or heartfelt and shallow and silly — it’s because most of these seasons are too short. Arcs are too cramped. You can tell, in Ahsoka especially, that there were once long, beautiful script drafts that have been snipped and pasted back together to fit into a shorter seasons’ worth of episodes that still, mostly, make sense …
… but would have made so much more sense in 10 or 12 or even 16-episode seasons. Not eight, or six, or seven.
I love Star Wars TV shows. Disney+ has created something truly special with these shows that we’ve never had before. I have very few complaints about plot, characters, or even design.
But there is a sweet spot when it comes to season length for a show, and most of these series have not even remotely come close to hitting it. Everything feels ever so slightly “off,” because everything has been condensed down to fewer episodes than these stories and characters and messages demand.
Hollywood is absolutely falling apart right now, and the length of Star Wars TV show seasons is the last thing anyone is going to care about right now. Nothing on this front is going to change anytime soon.
I just had to come here and say that it’s not the writing. It’s not the directing. It’s not the sets or effects or the actors. It’s the season-by-season episode count. It’s not working. It has never worked. Eight episodes may be the perfect length for some shows, but even Season 3 of The Mandalorian — which I loved — begged for more space to grow and thrive.
Once everyone who works exceptionally hard on these shows gets paid to do the work they’re good at, maybe we can revisit this whole season length issue. It’s been bothering me for so long. I just needed to tell someone about it.
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