-> ''By the way, I've noticed something interesting: the five seasons of [[Fanfic/CalvinAndHobbesTheSeries this show]] so far seem to correspond closely to the first five seasons of the new series of ''Series/DoctorWho''. The first three series had almost no continuous story arc and consisted almost entirely of oneshot stories. Season 4 was the first you could notice a story arc without [[Recap/DoctorWhoS27E8FathersDay squinting at every poster in the background]] (i.e. Retro appearing at the end of a story). Now we're in Season 5, and things are starting to come to a head quickly. ''Doctor Who'' had the [[Recap/DoctorWhoS31E12ThePandoricaOpens Pando]][[Recap/DoctorWhoS31E13TheBigBang rica]], and you seem to have Socrates's tail. The aliens in [[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6633809/1/Prelude-to-a-Season "Prelude to a Season"]], [[Recap/CalvinAndHobbesTheSeriesS5E4DarkLaughterPart1 the fortune teller]], [[Recap/CalvinAndHobbesTheSeriesS5E7POV the glowing sphere thing]], [[Recap/CalvinAndHobbesTheSeriesS5TVM1Nocturnals and the smoke]] all said [[ArcWords someone is returning]]. At this rate the whole "converging lines" thing will become a huge serialized story in Season 6, and then Season 7 will be unconnected oneshots and people will come BackFromTheDead [[UnexplainedRecovery for no reason.]] [[{{Troll}} *trollface*]]''
-->-- '''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/u/2708639/Golden-Keyblade Golden Keyblade]]''' of Website/FanFictionDotNet

Most stories have a beginning, middle, and end. Even a [[Series/{{Seinfeld}} show about nothing]] has something zany and inane happen to our characters every episode, while getting some amount of resolution by the end. However, the same isn't necessarily true for a series as a whole. Some series are so [[StatusQuoIsGod homogeneous]] in plot you could air a season 1 and 5 episode side by side without telling the difference. Others have such [[MythArc intricate plots]], you can tell which quarter of which season you're watching just by looking at the subtle nuances of the [[WillTheyOrWontThey main couple's relationship]].

To quantify this, the ''Sliding Scale of Season Transition Fluidity'' (SeasonFluidity for short) puts episodic series on one end, and series with self contained seasons on the other. For example, ''Series/GilligansIsland'' is [[StatusQuoIsGod unchanging]] from season to season. Toward the opposite extreme, seasons in ''Anime/SailorMoon'' and ''Series/{{Blackadder}}'' are basically separate shows with an identical cast (and some shows don't even have that commonality between seasons - see ''Series/{{Skins}}'', below). In the middle, a show like ''Series/StargateSG1'' has no distinct seasons, but is threaded together by multiple subplots while staying episodic.

Put another way, you can watch any episode of ''Series/GilligansIsland'' and be equally entertained, without worrying that you've missed important plot points (it's not like they'll [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption ever get off the island]] or [[JustEatGilligan something]]). While that's also mostly true with ''Stargate SG-1'', seeing more episodes in order lets you see character development over time and several subplots rise and get resolved, letting you get more enjoyment over time. A slightly-less fluid series, like ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' or ''Series/MadMen'', needs to be seen with all the seasons in order if one wants to fully "get" it. Further toward the abrupt end, you can start with the beginning of any particular season of ''Anime/SailorMoon'', but you will be left scratching your head if you start in the middle of a season.

The far Abrupt end would feature shows that do a complete series reboot with each season, in both plot ''and'' cast, to the point where [[SeriesFranchise they really are completely different shows joined under the same name]]. An example of that would be ''Series/{{Skins}}'', which starts with a completely new group of characters (save an occasional AscendedExtra or two) and storylines every two seasons, as the old characters graduate from [[UsefulNotes/BritishEducationSystem Roundview College]] and leave Bristol. Other than the setting and the general focus on [[EverybodyHasLotsOfSex sex,]] [[EverybodyMustGetStoned drugs]] [[APartyAlsoKnownAsAnOrgy and parties]], each new "generation" (as these two-season sets are known) is completely distinct from the others, and many ''Skins'' fans see them as entirely separate works. Lots of fans of the show start with a later generation and then watch the older ones, and are no worse for the wear.

Note: For simplicity's sake, this scale is excluding GenreAnthology shows, sketch shows, and other works where there is no status quo to either follow or violate, or semi-consistent set of characters/themes. If these works fit on the scale at all, they would mostly fall on the extreme Fluid end.

'''''Sliding Scale of Season Transition Fluidity'''''
||align=center border=1 width=100%
|| '''[[ResetButton Fluid]]''' || StatusQuoIsGod on the series level, even possibly including NegativeContinuity || Most [[UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfAnimation Golden Age]] and [[UsefulNotes/TheDarkAgeOfAnimation Dark Age]] WesternAnimation plus more recent works that follow those formats (e.g. ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}'', ''WesternAnimation/TinyToonAdventures''), most traditional {{SitCom}}s, ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' in its early seasons ||
|| || All stand-alone episodes, no arcs, but with some degree of continuity (e.g. dead characters stay dead)|| ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'', early seasons of ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'', and most other shows that follow the AdventureTowns or MonsterOfTheWeek format. Most adult animated comedies, including ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'', ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', and ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' in its later seasons. Most modern {{Sit Com}}s. ||
|| || Usually stand-alone, but occasionally has arcs || ''Franchise/LawAndOrder'' and its various spin-offs, ''Series/TheVicarOfDibley'' and other standard {{Brit Com}}s, most [[UsefulNotes/TheMillenniumAgeOfAnimation Millennium Age]] WesternAnimation, ''Anime/CowboyBebop'', the Classic series of ''Series/DoctorWho''. Typical abruptness limit for WesternAnimation and {{SitCom}}s. ||
|| || Series-long MythArc || ''Series/BabylonFive'', the Revival series of ''Series/DoctorWho'', most anime and NoughtiesDramaSeries ||
|| '''[[RotatingArcs Dammed]]''' || Multiple [[HalfArcSeason smaller arcs]] not directly tied to seasons || ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' (later seasons), ''Series/{{Glee}}'', ''Series/XenaWarriorPrincess'', ''LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya'', ''Series/StargateSG1'' (except for [[PostScriptSeason seasons 8 & 9]]), most [[SoapOpera Soap Operas]] ||
|| || Self-contained season-[[StoryArc arcs]], with some overarching plots || ''Series/TwentyFour'', ''Series/MadMen'', ''Series/GameOfThrones'', ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'', ''Series/{{Damages}}'', ''[[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer Buffy]]'' and ''Series/{{Angel}}'', ''Series/{{Skins}}'' (seasons with the same cast), most [[TeenDrama Teen Dramas]] and [[PrimeTimeSoap Prime Time Soaps]] ||
|| || Highly-distinct seasons with ArcWelding || ''Anime/SailorMoon'', ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'', ''PowerRangers'', ''Franchise/{{Digimon}}'' ([[Anime/DigimonAdventure first]] [[Anime/DigimonAdventure02 two seasons]]), ''Series/BoyMeetsWorld'' ||
|| || Highly-distinct seasons, purely self-contained || ''Series/{{Lexx}}'', ''Series/{{Blackadder}}'' ||
|| '''[[SeriesFranchise Abrupt]]''' || Complete series reboot each season || ''Series/AmericanHorrorStory'', ''Series/{{Skins}}'' (every two seasons), ''Franchise/{{Digimon}}'' (third season onward), ''SuperSentai'' ||