How Many Episodes Does a New Show Get Before I’ll Stop Watching?

My wife and I watch a lot of television and as a result we generally try out new shows each year when they come out. The problem is that sometimes the shows are good and sometimes they are bad. I have a general rule for myself when trying out a new show that I’ll give it 5 episodes before I pull the plug. A couple of shows I’ve watched in the past were really slow starters and I’m glad I stuck with them past the pilot because otherwise I would have missed out on some decent television. For example Eureka, Battlestar Galactica, and Bones were all shows that I had a hard time getting into right off the bat, but eventually they won me over.

I’ve noticed that the 30 minute shows tend to have a much harder time catching my attention while the 60 minute shows can grab me pretty easily. I think that has something to do with the longer format allowing for more character and plot development. The shorter format lends itself more to self-contained plots that don’t arc from episode to episode as much. I like plots that have a little more heft most of the time.

Right now I’ve got Friday Night Lights, The Client List, and Doctor Who in my stable of testing to see if I want to keep going. The first two on that list are looking pretty good that I’ll give them at least a full season before making a final decision, but Doctor Who is definitely still on the fence. My best friend is a massive Doctor Who fan though, so I might make an exception and give it a little extra leeway since he promises me I won’t be disappointed if I can make it to the halfway point of the first season.

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2 thoughts on “How Many Episodes Does a New Show Get Before I’ll Stop Watching?

  1. I’m afraid to jump down the Dr Who rabbit hole – I want to see what it’s all about, but I’m afraid I’ll get sucked in and accomplish nothing else until I’ve seen every episode. Netflix is super dangerous that way for me.

  2. On the subject of Doctor Who, I agree with your friend: it definitely gets better towards the end of the first season. Season 2 is not remarkable, 3 is pretty good, and 4 is amazing! 5 and 6 are not bad per se, but they are very different from the older ones. I hope you’ll stick with Doctor Who.

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