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British Brevity

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"Not hard to see why it's England's longest running series, and today, we're showing all seven episodes."

Prime Time shows are made differently in Britain, and perhaps the biggest sign of this is season length. With few exceptions, Brits do not like Filler. In the United States, prime time showsnote  generally run 22-24 episodes per full-length season, averaging 5-8 seasons (at least 7 if it’s a sitcom). British shows, on the other hand, tend to produce only up to about thirteen episodes a year if they're dramatic, or about six if they're comedies. This also applies to most European countries and Latin America, although these mostly follow daily schedules (especially in recent years, as it has expanded to primetime) rather than weekly installments. Most Commonwealth nations also follow this model, with relatively short series being the norm on their equivalents of the BBC.

There are a number of reasons for this, the simplest being that British shows usually have a fairly small creative team. It's not uncommon for one person to single-handedly write every episode of a show, as Steven Moffat did with Coupling, or David Renwick with Jonathan Creek (compare American sitcoms, which are almost always "written by committee"). The shorter working schedule means that a British show can often focus more on a tighter cast of regular characters, whereas American shows frequently have to create more of an ensemble, to allow their actors to have sufficient breaks during the long, grueling shooting schedule. British TV can also spend a year producing as much screen time as an American show produces in less than two months, resulting in a more concentrated "series" (called a "season" in the US; so a UK series can consist of 10 "series"). The unpredictable weather and long winters in the UK may be a contributory factor, as it may be difficult for production teams to commit to long filming schedules.

There's more pressure to succeed, and less of a chance to make a lasting impression or develop long plot arcs. Ruin two episodes and that's a third of a season down the tubes. Some American shows that start off weak can grow their beard when the show would have long been over in the UK.

On the other hand, the relatively long amount of time taken to produce such a small amount of content, and the smaller creative teams, can result in some shows which are very, very high quality throughout, even if their total number of high-quality episodes might be less than a well-received American show because of their sheer length. British shows tend to have the entire series filmed before broadcast, so shows are rarely cancelled mid-season, or affected by events like a writers' strike. Additionally, short shows are less vulnerable to dragging out way past their creative prime and Jumping the Shark. Of course, if the show is too awesome for the short time it lasts, it can leave folks starved for more.

Short seasons are generally the preserve of big terrestrial channels. The downfall of smaller satellite channels can be that they need long series to fill airtime, and struggle to produce or syndicate enough content without repeating it too often.

This sometimes leads to imported British shows being promoted in the USA as Mini Series, sometimes with pairs of consecutive episodes re-edited into double-length ones.

British Brevity doesn't apply to every series. Soap Operas, talk shows, kids' programmes and other daytime TV can run for far more than 24 episodes a season, in the UK as elsewhere. Britain's Long-Runners include Coronation Street and Eastenders; Coronation Street alone shows 312 episodes a year. This trope, like the 24-episode US standard it contrasts with, applies mainly to scripted series in prime time and nighttime slots. Since these shows are mainly shot on soundstages, they're less affected by weather than location shoots are.

The gap has also narrowed on the other side in recent years. Most cable series have seasons well under 20 episodes. Shows on streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon rarely have episode counts in the double digits for one season. Even buzzy network series (e.g. Good Girls, Evil2019) have been running for shorter periods. Life via cable and streaming services have also downplayed the chance of cancellation for many UK shows in recent years, leading to many of them getting long runs with several yearly seasons to compensate for their same short episode spans. Kids shows and cartoons in particular have thrived through this market compared to earlier on, and will sometimes churn out as many episodes as a US counterpart.

Radio, in the 1950s and 1960s, had a number of aversions. The Goon Show clocked up about 26 episodes per series (though the final series only had 6). Others such as Hancock's Half Hour and Round the Horne ran to about 16.

See also 12-Episode Anime. Contrast Franchise Zombie – in the UK it's getting renewed that's difficult, rather than calling a halt.


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    Straight examples 
  • Perhaps most notable is Fawlty Towers; one of the more famous and well-regarded sitcoms – and indeed television series of any kind – ever made, and there were only ever twelve episodes, from two seasons made four years apart.
  • Man About the House had 39 episodes in six seasons, in contrast with its American remake Three's Company, which had 172 episodes. The first season of Three's Company followed the trope, with just six episodes.
  • House of Cards (UK) had three seasons of four episodes each, but multi-year gaps in between each season, enough for it to blur the line between TV show and Television Serial. Its American version had six seasons of 13 episodes each.
  • The seasons of The Mighty Boosh were all about 6 or 7 episodes long each, with 20 episodes altogether.
  • Root into Europe has even less than six episodes. It's only five episodes long.
  • Ricky Gervais has a specific limit to his shows: two six-episode seasons, and a Christmas special to wrap everything up. The Office, Extras and Derek all have followed this format. The only show of his to break this trend is After Life (2019), which was renewed for a third series. On the other hand, the American version of The Office lasted for nine years and 201 episodes. Gervais felt there was only so much that viewers could accept before the "fly-on-the-wall" show became unrealistic.
  • Mr. Bean posed an enigma to its viewers: when does a TV series stop being a TV series and start being a succession of made-for-television comedy specials? Only 14 episodes proper were made spread through 1990-1995, though with a feature length Clip Show, two theatrical movies and multiple shorts also made afterwards. Subverted with the animated series which ran for 52 episodes, before getting renewed twice for more, totalling to 130.
  • Absolutely Fabulous was a big hit in both Britain and America. Its original run had just 20 episodes, over three series plus a two-part special. It has since been revived twice in both new series and specials, for a total of 39 episodes.
  • Chockablock: Only thirteen episodes were made of this 1980s kids' show, but they were repeated regularly between 1981 and 1989.
  • Crime Traveller's only season lasted for eight episodes.
  • Come Back Mrs. Noah had only six episodes in its debut season, and its poor reception torpedoed the chance of any more seasons.
  • Red Dwarf consists of six 6-episode series (broadcast 1988-1993), followed by two 8-episode series (1997 & 1999), a 3-episode special (2009), then another three 6-episode series (2012 & 2016-2017) followed by a television special (2020). This makes for an uncommonly mighty total of 74 episodes, but spread over 32 years.
  • Torchwood series three, Children of Earth, was five one-hour episodes forming a single serial, in comparison to the two Doctor Who length (13-part) series beforehand. Series 4, Miracle Day, was another single serial but this time ten episodes long. Miracle Day was, however, initially conceived as a 5/6-part series by the British lead writer; it was only after it became a co-production with an American cable network that the series order was increased to 10 episodes. (In fact the network tried to fight for 13 episodes)
  • The Goes Wrong Show consists of two seasons of six episodes each thus far.
  • Life on Mars wound up its plot after two seasons of eight episodes each. Its follow-on series Ashes to Ashes (2008) mustered three seasons, or twenty-four episodes total: about the same as one US season. The whole lot together made forty episodes in five years.
  • The Vicar of Dibley had seasons of four to six episodes each, and then wound down to one or two specials per year – a total of 20 episodes (plus four Comic Relief shorts) across a dozen years.
  • The Young Ones was a very influential 'Alternative Comedy' series, and retains a cult following. Only twelve episodes (two seasons) were ever made. The majority of the actors and writers went on to create Filthy Rich & Catflap, which lasted only six episodes. Bottom, also with Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson, did rather better, three seasons and a total of 18 episodes (as well as five stage shows and a movie). Word of God says The Young Ones was only ever meant to have 12 episodes in two seasons, like Fawlty Towers
  • Blackadder is actually four different six-episode series (set at different periods of history but including Identical Grandson characters), each one launched with no expectations of making another. In fact, each series was picked up a year after its predecessor had ended. Counting a couple specials made in between, plus a Grand Finale made in 1999, the franchise totalled to 27 episodes.
  • The Good Life was a big enough deal during its run that the Queen herself attended a taping. There are 30 episodes (four series of seven episodes apiece, one Christmas special, and the Royal Command Performance).
  • Ever Decreasing Circles, written by the same duo as The Good Life, also ran for four seasons plus a Grand Finale for a total of 27 episodes.
  • Hi-de-Hi! – 58 episodes in 9 seasons over 8 years, and there almost certainly would have been more if the real-life holiday camp used for all the location shooting hadn't been closed, sold off and bulldozed for housing.
  • Dad's Army – 80 episodes in 9 seasons over 9 years. And a feature film.
  • Are You Being Served? – 68 episodesnote  in 10 seasons over 13 years. And a feature film.
  • The Prisoner (1967) was originally planned as 7 episodes, but extended to 17 at the request of Lew Grade to make the series more attractive to overseas (i.e. American) markets. Patrick McGoohan just couldn't see it stretching to a full 26.
  • Channel 4 Sitcom Spaced had seven episodes in each of its two series. Many fans clamored for some sort of concluding special, with the expectation of seeing the two main characters finally hook up, but never received it. The writers did send a little kiss to the fans in the form of the last minute of the Skip To The End Documentary – check out the DVD and, erm... skip to the end.
  • Primeval had six episodes in its first season, and seven in the second, giving it a grand episode count of thirteen episodes. It got a surprisingly larger 10 episodes in its third season, while Series 4 and 5 had seven and six episodes respectively, for a total of 36 episodes.
  • Jeeves and Wooster was 4 seasons long, each with 6 episodes that clocked in at about 55 minutes each (with the exception of season 1, which only had 5 episodes). And proved ruinously expensive, at that, mostly due to the length of the episodes and the fact that almost all of them were set in stately homes.
  • Sharpe episodes consist of 16 feature length television films, each one clocking in at just under 2 hours.
  • All too common in BBC children's animations made before the 90s. Mr. Benn, Bagpuss, Camberwick Green, Trumpton and Chigley all had just 13 episodes each, which were repeated (to rapt audiences of youngsters) over and over during the 70s and 80s.
  • Played with for Postman Pat, which initially featured just 13 episodes throughout the 80s, though huge popularity led to a 10th anniversary special in 1991, further specials in 1992 and 1995, a one-off series of 13 more episodes in 1997 and, finally, regular ongoing series from 2004 on.
  • The Clangers similarly had only 13 episodes per season, though at least got renewed for a second only a year later, along with an Election Day short in 1974, totalling to 27 episodes. Much like Postman Pat, it got an ongoing revival in the 2010s that averts this trope.
  • Fireman Sam originally ran for four seasons through 1987 to 1994, each with eight episodes, plus a Christmas Special, totalling to 33 episodes. A one-off claymation revival series of 26 episodes was made in 2005, before the show was rebooted into CGI in 2008, subverting the trope with ongoing 26 episode seasons. Altogether, the show currently totals to over 230 episodes.
  • Ultraviolet (1998): Six two-part episodes. The creator explicitly stated it was exactly as long as he wanted it to be, so as to avoid screwing up the intelligent plots and premise.
  • 'Allo 'Allo! had 6-10 episodes per series with the notable exception of series 5, which had 26 episodes – as much as the previous four series combined. They planned to sell the series for syndication in America. Each episode was only 25 minutes, to account for commercial breaks. When the plans failed, Series 6-9 returned to the regularly scheduled British Brevity, though still ended on a commendable 85 episodes.
  • Top Gear (UK) tends to vary. Various series range from six episodes to eleven. However, two series are produced a year: a summer and a winter one.
  • Taggart has reached the age of 26 years with only 100 "stories"; most of these are single episodes, but many earlier stories consisted of three one-hour episodes. Some of these were later edited down to a single episode of around two hours (without adverts).
  • Father Ted achieved iconic status in the UK and Ireland despite producing just 25 episodes over three seasons. Contrary to popular belief, this was always intended to be the limit, and the show was not cut short due to Dermot Morgan's death shortly afterwards.
  • Black Books has three seasons, each with 6 episodes each. This results in three remarkably short, but incredibly consistent and humorous series.
  • The IT Crowd, also created by Graham Linehan, follows the same formula into four series, although it should be noted that an hour long special was produced three years after the fourth series concluded.
  • Most of Chris Morris' series: The Day Today (6 episodes), Brass Eye (7 episodes), Jam (6 episodes), Nathan Barley (6 episodes... so far). Chris Morris seems never to have made anything with the intention of there being more than one series, though. The exception was Nathan Barley where the writers (Morris and Charlie Brooker) seemed to desperately want a second series but weren't given one because the ratings for the first were pretty dismal.
  • The American producers of Law & Order: UK were frustrated by the length they had to work with: only 13 episodes per season. The UK producers were also frustrated by the length they had to work with: a grueling 13 whole episodes per season! This went even further— when it came time for the episodes to air, knowing that British viewers wouldn't be keen on a long season either, they were split into series that were either 6 or 7 episodes long, for a total of 54 episodes across eight series from 2009-14.
  • The Amazing Mrs Pritchard got one series of six episodes (before being shitcanned due to shoddy ratings).
  • Skins got seven series, of 9, 10, 10, 8, 8, 10 and 6 episodes.
  • The Ink Thief lasted for all of seven episodes. Ever.
  • Sherlock started in 2010 across seven years had four series, each one consisting of three 90-minute episodes. There is also a 90-minute special that aired between season 3 and season 4. Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss comment on this trope on the Series 2 DVD commentary, stating that they would love to do more a season, but the time and logistical constraints involved in filming a series of feature-length productions in a relatively short span prevent this. Made worse by the fact that the show catapulted Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman to the A-List; in fact Peter Jackson had to rearrange the filming of The Hobbit so Freeman could fly back to film Sherlock. Similarly, Moffat had to juggle Sherlock around his commitments to Doctor Who, for which he was also Head Writer and Showrunner.
  • Sherlock takes after Inspector Morse, another British detective show that had three to five episodes per series (for a total of 33 episodes), though each is a whopping 100 minutes long. Its spinoff show Lewis followed the same pattern, with six series of four 100-minute episodes each and a final series of three two-part stories for a total of 30 episodes.note 
  • Poirot and Marple, both shows on ITV loosely based on Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, have a special kind of British Brevity, with the former consisting of 70 episodes in all thirteen seasons, over the course of nearly 25 years; and the latter consisting of 23 episodes (with four feature-length episodes in each series except Series 6, which has only three) over the course of nine years. The only difference is that ITV was unable to produce a seventh series of Marple due to BBC's acquiring the rights for the production of Agatha Christie adaptations. Poirot, on the other hand, fared better, having been completed with all of the Hercule Poirot novels and short stories, ending with the final episode, "Curtain", on 13 November 2013.
  • The Inspector Lynley Mysteries consists of a mere 23 episodes (at five complete seasons, a double-length pilot and an aborted sixth season) of ninety minutes each.
  • Mistresses had three series - the first two of six episodes, the last one with four.
  • Peep Show and That Mitchell and Webb Look both run six episode seasons. Peep Show had a final total of 54 episodes after 9 series, which makes it the longest-running sitcom in Channel 4 history.
  • Garth Marenghi's Darkplace was only 6 episodes. The DVD adds two half-hour long supplements which could be considered parts of the show within the context of the framing device.
  • The Spiritual Successor Man to Man with Dean Learner is equally short, having only six episodes of its own.
  • Ripping Yarns by Michael Palin and Terry Jones had one pilot episode (and originally it wasn't clear whether this was actually meant to be a pilot or a one-off), followed by five episodes in its first season and only three in its second season.
  • Industry consists of eight forty five minute episodes.
  • The Thick of It consists of four series, the first two of which only contained three 30 minute episodes (barely an hour and a half in total) each while the third one had eight episodes and the fourth (and seemingly final) series had seven. There are also two specials, one of which lasted an hour, and a film Spin-Off, In the Loop.
  • Alan Partridge shows:
    • Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge played this trope for laughs: Alan's desperation for a second series is obvious by the end of the first season, and is one of the main themes of the Christmas special. Suffice to say, he doesn't get it, for reasons too numerous to list.
    • The Sitcom I'm Alan Partridge, which hit the magic 'two series of six parts' formula exactly, with bonus points for leaving a five-year gap (1997-2002) in between.
    • The faux TV magazine sequel This Time With Alan Partridge thus far has reached a similar total of two six-episode series, which could be considered a relative success in Alan's career.
  • Getting On had three series, containing 3, 6 and 6 episodes respectively.
  • Yes, Minister consisted of three series of seven episodes each plus an hour-long special, while the follow-up Yes, Prime Minister had two series of eight episodes each.
  • Whites ran one season of six episodes.
  • While '90s Exotic Detective (he's trying to retire from policing and run a restaurant) light-hearted drama Pie in the Sky had five seasons, the first two had ten episodes each, the next two only had six apiece and the final season had eight — making a total of forty episodes.
  • The Shadow Line, which consists of just one self-contained series of seven episodes.
  • Black Mirror only had three episodes in each of its first two series, with a Christmas special. It was not a serialized format however, but a trilogy of drama short films in completely independent worlds. When the Americans acquired it, they doubled the series output to six, which still counts, but did put out series 3 and 4 in consecutive years, rather than waiting a few.
  • James May's Man Lab had three episodes in series one, and five episodes each in series two and three.
  • Seasons of Only Fools and Horses generally only lasted 6 or 7 episodes. They were seven seasons proper spread from 1981 to 1991. However the show also kept a very healthy run by making a huge amount of Christmas Specials and shorts on the side, many of which made after the final season. By the final special, it reached a total of 64 episodes.
  • Only Fools spin-off The Green Green Grass churned out episodes at a slightly faster pace, with 7-9 per yearly season. Lasting between 2005 and 2009, it produced 32 episodes, exactly half of Only Fools and Horses' final total, before being cancelled due to its higher production costs filming in the countryside.
  • Rock & Chips (a prequel to Only Fools and Horses) ran for three 90-60 minutes specials (January 2010 pilot, Christmas 2010 special and Easter 2011 special), but creator and writer John Sullivan died before a full series could be made.
  • Mad Dogs series 1 ran for only 4 episodes. As did series 2 and 3. Series 4, due for release Christmas 2013, is due to be two hour-long episodes long.
  • Downton Abbey has 7 episodes in the first series, 8 in the second through sixth series—depending on whether you count the Christmas specials, which properly speaking make it 9 episodes each for series 2-6.
  • While I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue doesn't fit this trope (currently in its 78th series), its Spin-Off, The Doings Of Hamish and Dougal, definitely fits. There are three series of six episodes each (except the first, which has four) and two specials – which is made even worse by the fact that all the regular episodes are fifteen minutes long. One can get through the show's entire run in five hours.
  • Two new examples from 2012 are The Bleak Old Shop Of Stuff (Christmas special + 3 episodes) and Dirk Gently (pilot + 3 episodes).
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus lasted from 1969 to 1974, with three 13-episode seasons and one final six-episode season. The movies, not counting 1971's And Now for Something Completely Different (a compilation of older TV sketches re-shot on film for the American market, who had yet to see the original series) were released in 1975, 1979, and 1983 respectively.
  • The Wallace & Gromit series has been active since 1989. In those thirty plus years, there have been a grand total of five full-length instalments, only one of which was a film (though there have also been a number of >5min shorts). In addition, there was a TV series, Wallace and Gromit's World of Invention, that only lasted six episodes.
  • Aardman's first ongoing animated series The Amazing Adventures Of Morph did relatively better with a series of 26 five minute shorts. It's 2020 revival series, The Epic Adventures of Morph currently consists of 15 shorts. Granted this isn't counting the endless minute long skits from Take Hart, Smart and Aardman's Youtube channel to rank up.
  • Rex the Runt fared the same spread as Amazing Adventures of Morph through two 13-episode seasons (not counting several pilots).
  • The iconic '70s post-apocalypse drama series Survivors had three series of 13, 13 and 12 episodes – a middling example of this trope, but outdone by its 2008-10 Remake, which consisted of two six-episode series (though this was cancelled due to low ratings and ended on a cliffhanger of sorts).
  • ITV 1's detective show Vera has thus far had ten series of four episodes.
  • BBC 2's police show Vexed had a debut series consisting of three episodes, though a second series of six episodes followed.
  • The Fades had one season of six episodes.
  • Cuckoo the BBC Three comedy ran for five series consisting of six or seven episodes, totalling in at 33.
  • Sirens (UK) the Channel 4 comedy focused around a group of ambulance-men lasted a total of 6 episodes.
  • KYTV had three seasons, each with six episodes, making for a total of eighteen episodes plus pilot. Its radio predecessor, Radio Active, clocked in at an impressive 54 episodes, over seven seasons, including a pilot and a later one-shot special.
  • BBC2 standup/sketch variety series Victoria Wood As Seen On TV ran for two series of six episodes each in 1985 and 1986 and a Christmas special in 1987 for a total of 13 episodes.
  • Victoria Wood's 1998-2000 BBC1 sitcom dinnerladies (sic) featured many of the same performers and the same producer as As Seen On TV. It ran for two series, one of six episodes and one of ten episodes (the second one deliberately designed to wrap up the plot rather than lead into a third series), for a total of 16 episodes.
  • Wire in the Blood has five seasons and a total of 19 episodes (3 in the first season, 4 in the rest), each 90 minutes long.
  • Jonathan Creek has five seasons of 3-6 episodes, and a half-dozen specials.
  • Prisoners' Wives has thus far had two series, comprising six and four epsiodes respectively.
  • Accused, a legal drama consisting of A Day in the Limelight stories based on characters in a shared universe, has had two series; the first of six episodes, the second of four episodes.
  • Call the Midwife both plays this straight - no more than 8 episodes per series—and averts this—10 series since 2012 with plans to air until 2022 at least.
  • Misfits had six episodes in its first series, rising incrementally to seven it its second (including a Christmas Special), then eight each in the third, fourth and fifth series.
  • Doc Martin has currently made 9 seasons consisting of 6-8 episodes, totalling at 70 through 15 years.
  • The Inbetweeners is unusually short even for an examples on this page. 18 episodes - three series with each six episodes - though the series has been followed up by two feature-length films - one from 2011 and a sequel which was released in August 2014.
  • Mr. Selfridge leans towards the upper end of this trope, with two seasons of 10 episodes each thus far.
  • Doctor in the House and its sequel series sometimes followed this path and sometimes averted it. Doctor in the House aired for two series of 13 episodes each in 1969 and 1970, Doctor at Sea aired for a single 13-episode series in 1974, Doctor on the Go aired for two series of 13 episodes each in 1975 and 1977, Doctor Down Under aired for 13 episodes across two series in 1979, and Doctor at the Top aired for a single 7-episode series in 1991. However, Doctor at Large aired for a single 29-episode series in 1971, and Doctor in Charge aired for 43 episodes across two series in 1972 and 1973.
  • The Thin Blue Line: Only two series of 7 episodes each were made.
  • Rumpole of the Bailey was aired on ITV from 1978 to 1992 (14 years) for a grand total of 42 episodes of Seven Series, plus one feature-length special in between Series Two and Three, not to mention the pilot that aired on the BBC in 1975 as an episode of Play for Today.
  • Snuff Box was in a unique position: it was created by two The Mighty Boosh alums to replace a show called Popetown, which was canceled before it aired because of protesting Catholic groups. So Matt Berry and Rich Fulcher were given six episodes to do whatever the hell they wanted, was guaranteed to air, and had no Executive Meddling whatsoever. They turned in one of the most bizarre and bizarrely funny shows ever made, which hovered somewhere between sketch comedy and sitcom, about two hangmen at an exclusive club for executioners. Needless to say, it was not recommissioned.
  • Posh Nosh may be an extreme example, 8 episodes that were only 9 minutes each.
  • The Game (2014) is only 6 episodes.
  • Podcast Pappy's Flatshare Slamdown has been running for 5 series. The first two have 6 episodes in its run, but from series three onwards, there have only been 4. If you also include the 3 specials, then that means so far a total of 27 episodes have been released altogether.
  • Murder In Mind had 7 episodes in its first series, and 8 in each of the second two out of three.
  • Nightingales had two series, aired on Channel 4 two and a half years apart: one of 6 episodes and one of 7.
  • Robin of Sherwood had three seasons of successively six, seven, and thirteen episodes. The differing lengths led to the second Robin appearing in as many episodes as the first, but only half as many seasons.
  • Luther's four series contain six, four, four, and two episodes respectively. The newly-announced fifth series expands this.....all the way back to four.
  • Bad Robots only had six episodes per season, and only two seasons have aired so far, the last one airing in 2015.
  • The Italian series Il Commissario Montalbano started in 1999 and, as of March 2021, it has 15 seasons and 37 episodes, as the seasons either have two or four episodes, with the exception of season 15 which has only one episode. Each episode is 90-minute long, though.
  • The Aliens ran for only six episodes (given its cancellation, that's it).
  • Shoestring ran for two seasons, with eleven episodes in the first season and ten in the second.
  • The entirety of The Steam Video Company consists of six episodes.
  • Initially played straight with the first three series of Taskmaster, which only had 6, 5, and 5 episodes each. Series 4 and 5 got a slightly longer run with 8 episodes; but then series 6-9 was commissioned with 10 episodes.
  • The Benny Hill Show had 32 episodes on BBC in intermittent runs from 1955 to 1968, 9 episodes on ATV in 1957-60 and 1967 and 58 episodes on Thames from 1969 to 1989 (averaging about 3-4 episodes a year).
  • The Man In Room 17 was a crime drama for ITV in the mid-1960s that ran for two series of 13 episodes each.
  • The Happy Apple ran for one season of 7 episodes.
  • Bramwell Four series. 7 episodes in the first, 8 in the second, 10 in the third, 2 in the fourth (two two hour movies, to be fair), for a grand total of 27 episodes, slightly more than one typical US TV season.
  • Gavin & Stacey: Three series of 6, 7 and another 6 episodes, plus a Christmas special in 2008. And then nothing until Christmas Day 2019 - another one-off episode, leading to a grand total of 21 episodes.
  • This doesn't apply only to TV shows: comics such as 2000 AD usually have each story told in seven pages, tops, per issue, unlike the American standard of issue-long stories told in 22 pages.
  • Kr๖d Mไndoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire: The first season had only six episodes. It turned out to be only one season, since the show was canceled, and so that was all.
  • Liar (2017): It ran for two seasons with only six episodes each.
  • The Men from the Ministry, BBC's political satire that made fun of civil servants, ran thirteen series from 1962-1977 with a grand total of 147 episodes, with series 2 and 6 having 14 episodes, series 1, 3, 4, 9, 10 and 11 having 13 episodes, series 8, 12 and 13 having 8 episodes and series 5 a meager 6 episodes, and two specials being made in 1964 and 1971. There was also a 14th series consisting of re-recordings being made in 1980, which was made for BBC Transcription Services and was never aired in the UK.
  • Spitting Image generally only ran 6 or 7 episodes per season. However usually two seasons were made every year. It made 132 episodes within 12 years.
  • Feel Good: The first season had six episodes, each only around twenty five minutes long too. In the second season it's the same number, though a few of them are a little longer.
  • Ghosts (UK): 4 series of 6 episodes each plus two Christmas Specials, leading to a total of 26 episodes as of this time of writing.
  • The Brittas Empire: 52 episodes over 7 series, with each series consisting of 6-9 episodes each. This number also includes two Christmas Specials.
  • Roger & Val have Just Got In ran for 2 series of 6 episodes each.
  • A Prince Among Men: 2 series of 6 episodes each and that's it.
  • Chance in a Million: The show ran for a total of 18 episodes over 3 series.
  • Intergalactic: The first season had only eight episodes.
  • Zigzagged for Sykes, which started with two 15-16 episodes seasons, with the remaining five consisting of 7 or 8 episodes. It did total to a decent 68 episodes however, and likely would have made more if not for Hattie Jacques' death.
  • Also zigzagged for Henry's Cat which had a first season of 20 episodes, and a second of 15. After the show was retooled from 5 to 15 minute format, the third and fourth seasons had only 6 episodes, with an Uncancelled fifth season consisting of only four, totalling at 51 episodes.
  • The first BBC TV adaptation of Father Brown was a single 13 episode series in 1974. The second BBC series, started in 2013, runs of seasons ranging from ten to fifteen episodes, though still ongoing with 90 episodes currently, is the BBC's longest running daytime drama. Amusingly, despite this, the 2013 series has still only adapted half as many of the original books as the 1974 series.
  • The first season of The Cockfields is only three episodes long. The second season at least doubles it to six along with a Christmas Special.
  • The Royle Family made only three seasons of six episodes each, though with one-off Christmas Specials a common tradition for a few years afterwards. It totalled to 25 episodes by its last special in 2012.
  • The 1975 Noddy stop motion series ran for two seasons of 11 and 14 episodes respectively, a conveniently similar total to the Enid Blyton books the show adapted. The 1992 Noddy's Toyland Adventures followed a similar route, though continued running with original stories afterwards, even getting an Uncancelled fourth season in 2000, ending at 53 episodes. Usually subverted with the later CGI cartoons, which are often made overseas and consist of over 100 episodes per show.
  • Mrs. Brown's Boys had three series with six episodes each, and two annual specials every Christmas holiday, a tradition still held after the ongoing series ended. It currently totals to 39 episodes (plus a theatrical movie) over a decade.
  • Downplayed with Desmond's, which often used the 13 episode-or-less series run, but lasted six series. At 71 episodes (plus a brief spin-off), it remains Channel 4's longest running sitcom.
  • Played straight with the first series of Robot Wars, which only had six episodes. Somewhat justified since they had to throw in some stock robots that weren't allowed to win to fill even that number. Averted with the following series until the show's cancellation, but then played straight again with the three revival series which went back to six episodes each.
  • The Bisexual: It's a miniseries of just six episodes, each about 27-30 minutes each.
  • Derry Girls lasted for three series with six episodes each, plus an extended Grand Finale in the third series. In total, that amounts to nineteen episodes.
  • The BBC 4 radio sitcom Fabulous (not to be confused with the unrelated BBC television sitcom Absolutely Fabulous) ran for three series with the first series having six 'half-length' 15 minute episodes and the second and third series having four thirty minute episodes each.
  • The Tunnel: The first season is ten episodes long, the second eight, and the third only six.
  • The first season of Lockwood & Co. (2023) consists of eight episodes, covering the events of the first two books.

  • BBC flagship show Doctor Who. The classic run from 1963 to 1989 ran for total of 695 episodes - 696 if you want to include the 1996 TV movie as the last proper episode of the classic run; season length depended on the Doctor and the show's popularity - during the First and Second Doctor era, seasons were on average roughly 40 episodes long. Beginning with the Third Doctor, seasons were roughly 25 episodes long. When the show's popularity took a nose dive around the Sixth Doctor, seasons were cut to around 14 episodes. The Revival, which began in 2005, usually runs between 10 and 13 episodes per season, not counting the yearly Christmas Special.
    • Technically, though, the episode count can be considered artificially-inflated if one takes each story as its own without consideration for episodes/parts, especially if a part was padded (i.e. with corridor-running) to fill out the weekly runtime. (i.e. A four-part story is one episode, another one, maybe 5-6 parts, is another, even the ten-part "The War Games" can be one.)
    • We should point out that while the episode count shrank with the '05 run over vintage Who, the episode run time jumped from 25-ish minutes to 50, so it balanced out.
    • However, the Thirteenth Doctor's era stays true to this trope with only 10 episodes (excluding specials) for series 11 and 12 each, which was further reduced to 6 episodes in series 13 due to the COVID pandemic.
  • ITV soap Coronation Street began in 1960 and aired its 10,000th episode in 2020. Actor William Roache has played the character Ken Barlow since the show's beginning.
  • BBC radio soap The Archers began in 1951 and has aired more than 19,000 12-15 minute episodes.
  • The classic BBC sitcom Last of the Summer Wine which ran from 1973 to 2010 for a grand total of 295 episodes, with seasons that were usually six to ten episodes long.
  • The third season of Waterloo Road, with 20 60-minute episodes, must set some kind of 21st-century UK record for a non-Soap Opera, being longer in screen time than most American seasons. Since then, each season was made up of two 'terms' of 10 episodes making 20 per season (or three terms in series 7 and 8 for 30 episodes). By the time it ended in 2015, the show had racked up 200 episodes over 10 series.
  • The British version of Shameless went on for 11 series (139 episodes in total), starting in 2004 and ending in 2011.
  • The Bill is also an example of averting this trope – even before it became a Crime Time Soap, this British Police Procedural would regularly have clocked up 150+ episodes every single year. The secret? Each season was broadcast all year round, with no production gaps. That must have been really gruelling work for the writers and the actors. No wonder there's a high cast turnaround...
  • Panel Games tend to avert this trope, to a certain extent – while few have series as long as US shows, often run for much longer (and much more variable) series, and like a handful of shows listed above, have two series in a year. A Question of Sport, in particular, has managed over 800 shows in its forty-year run, which comes out at an average about 19 episodes a year.
  • Casualty (1986-present), one of The BBC's, is a definite aversion to this trope; it has aired over 1000 episodes (50-minutes to 1 hour, primetime Saturday) over the last 32 years. The show's first two seasons were a mere 15 episodes long each; the third was 10. After that, each series from 4 to 24 was as long or longer than the preceding series, with series 19 to 24 being 48 episodes long each, airing practically year-round barring a brief summer break of as little as a couple of weeks (with no break at all between series 24 and 25). The series lengths have varied since then, but have never dipped back below 42 episodes per season. There have been several calls over the years to simply extend it to a permanent weekly slot throughout the year, thus cementing its transition into a full-blown medical soap opera, but this has yet to happen.
  • As If was relatively an aversion; four series of 18, 19, 18 and 20 episodes (plus two specials).
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway? lasted from 1988 to 1998, totalling 136 episodes. While the length of the seasons (or "series", as they're called in the UK) varied, series 9 lasted for 19 episodes, which is roughly the length of a typical American season (although the American version's seasons lasted as long as 39 episodes).
  • Law & Order: UK. Despite the typical briefness of each series/season as mentioned above (6-7 episodes per series, 13 episodes per season when aired in the US), the show lasted 8 series, including a landmark 50th episode and replaced all but one of its original cast throughout its tenure.
  • Game Shows tend to avert this trope, even in the UK. Well sort of, they usually start by not averting the trope (with about 10-30 episodes a season), but then end up getting seasons of hundreds of episodes when they become established. Examples include The Chase, which went from 10 episodes in season one to 150 episodes in the latest seasons, Eggheads, which went from about 30 episodes in season one to about 150 episodes in the later seasons and Pointless, which went from 30 episodes to about 70 episodes a season as it went on. The latter two run nearly all year round (usually only taking breaks for major sporting events which require the timeslot) with a sequence of new episodes alternating with a sequence of repeats (both shows ideally change from old to new when their jackpot is won, and thus reset to £1000)
  • Have I Got News for You: 503 episodes aired (as of July 2019) across 57 series.
  • Most of Ragdoll Productions' shows have run for more than 13 episodes a season, including Teletubbies, Rosie & Jim and Tots TV.
  • A few British children's TV shows (particularly fairly long runners) may be an inversion of this trope since they want longer series to keep children entertained. BBC kids' series Grange Hill aired 601 episodes over 31 years, and Byker Grove consisted of 344 episodes over 18 years (both having 20 episodes per year with short early seasons). Meanwhile, ITV's Children'sWard clocked up an impressive 143 episodes over 11 years (13 eps per year) for its' run.
  • Chuckle Vision generally ran for Seasons of 13 to 15 episodes (with the last two seasons consisting of only six each plus a Christmas special sandwiched in between). Due to being ongoing yearly from 1987 to 2009 however, it made a whopping 292 episodes.
  • The Wombles and Paddington (1975) were rare stop-motion aversions of their time. Not only were they both renewed for a second season but totalled to a healthy 60 and 56 episodes respectively, along with a handful of specials each. The Wombles even got a nineties revival which similarly consisted of 56 episodes through multiple seasons.
  • Thomas & Friends subverted this by being one of the UK's longest running kids animations, running for 24 seasons from 1984 to 2020 consisting of 18 to 28 episodes. Not counting numerous specials and spin off media, this totalled to 584 episodes. Even in its earliest years as strictly adaptations of The Railway Series this became problematic, with the creative team needing to ask the authors to write new books for story material as they were churning through most of the accessible ones too quickly.
  • Several children's shows that were originally this trope have since gotten revival seasons to bulk up their episode count considerably. The 2000 era revivals of Postman Pat, Fireman Sam and The Clangers all bring up the original shows' count of 26 to 30 episodes to over 150. Especially in play with The Clangers, its first revival season consisted of 52 episodes standalone.
  • In heavy contrast to the blatant brevity of Wallace and Gromit, its spin off Shaun the Sheep has so far ranked up six seasons ranging anywhere from 20 to 40 episodes each, similarly having over 150 episodes in total. This is not counting movies, specials and other shorts made.

    On the other side of the pond 
On the opposite token, the reason American shows tend to be so long is boiled down to simply money. Most American TV series are produced barely breaking even, and some will even operate at a loss. The magic word for any show to make a profit is "syndication"; the real money comes when a show makes it into reruns, which can last indefinitely and don't have the overhead costs of actually producing the show. However, the minimum episode number for syndication tends to be extremely high, often "88". Most networks are shy about airing reruns of a series unless they hit 100+ episodes, so they don't end up rerunning the episodes too often (and risk annoying viewers, who would tune out, resulting in fewer people watching the commercials). It's not unheard of for a low-rated and/or critically savaged series to get inexplicably renewed for a fourth or even fifth season simply to reach this 88-episode threshold. Because of this, the standard contract for a production company (and often for the actors) when a new show is bought by a network is seven years/seasons, regardless of whether or not that many episodes end up being ordered.

For children's series, the magic number is instead 65, or three such seasonsnote  – this is done because it is believed that since kids will age out of the target demographic so quickly, episodes will stay "fresh" longer since the audience turnaround is faster. Also, they assume kids either won't remember or won't care that they'd seen an episode before.

Other formats have resulted in smaller seasonal runs, however. The "mystery movie" series that dominated TV, especially NBC, in the '70s were broadcast in a "wheel" format, rotating with three other shows in the same time slot. For example, in the seven years that Columbo originally ran on NBC, it produced 3-7 episodes per season. Most shows that are picked up during mid-season to replace cancelled shows also tend to experience this by default, rarely running more than 13 episodes due to the abbreviated amount of time available before the season ends.

Nowadays, American shows with shorter seasons are becoming more common, with many shows offering only 10-13 episodes per season. This sweet spot seems to allow showrunners to tell detailed, series-wide stories while retaining full artistic control and high quality on every episode. The shorter production times help budgets go farther as well as attract movie stars into major roles without interfering with their film schedule. The proliferation of these short but powerful shows is one reason why American television starting in the New Tens gets described as "The Golden Age of Television."

From a business standpoint, there are a number of factors behind this trend. First, many cable networks are too small to afford full seasons of scripted series. Second, most of the cable networks that currently specialize in original scripted programming began life as either movie networks (AMC, HBO, Showtime) or rerun farms (FX, TBS, TNT), meaning that they have a large library of content to throw on the air in lieu of constantly producing new shows. Third, many of the first major cable series (particularly those on HBO) aired during the summer months when the major networks were on break airing reruns and low-quality "burn-off" programming; 13 episodes is close to the maximum that one can fit into that timeframe. Fourth, with the rise of streaming services the traditional 100-episode threshold for getting a series into a secondary market has been lessened. Individual seasons tend to become available through streaming shortly after they complete their original airing instead of being held for a syndication package.

Note: Many "slice of life" reality shows use shorter seasons but run multiple seasons per year, or rotate with other shows featuring mostly the same cast. This isn't really the same thing, as they're still showing 20-30 episodes per year. In some cases, the headline show alternates with a Day in the Limelight series which features most of the same cast, which runs counter to the spirit of British Brevity.


  • Lost started off with the usual American style of 22-25 hour-long episodes per season for the first three years (25, then 23, then 22, respectively). The final three seasons, however, were shortened — each was going to have 16 episodes originally before the 2007 Writer's Strike forced the creative team to modify their plan. The final result: about 70 episodes from the first three seasons, around 50.5 from the last three seasons (the last episode being 2 1/2 hours, including commercials).
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM) had two seasons, each 13 episodes, curiously brief for a kids' show. It was planned to have a third season which would presumably have been the same length.
  • Police Squad! — One season, six episodes. Although the producers did not choose to end the series (it had been cancelled by ABC after a few episodes aired), said producers later revealed that it was probably for the best, as by the sixth episode, they felt their ideas were already running thin, and the recurring gags were starting to wane. They said there was probably no way they could keep up the quality doing 24 episodes a year.
  • Once Upon a Time in Wonderland was planned as a single season format from the beginning as a precaution, with the story developing afterwards. As it was never picked up for season 2, it works out fine telling a coherent 13 episode story, adding to the "Once" mythos and giving plotted character arcs from the beginning.
  • The first run of The Jetsons only ran for a single 24 episode season. Twenty years later, a second revival season was made of 41 episodes, bringing the show up to syndication figures. Curiously a third season made of only 10 episodes was made shortly after.

[adult swim]

This trope is almost a rule across [adult swim], with most new shows getting six-episode seasons, although successful shows may have two seasons per year.


  • Breaking Bad — Five seasons, 62 episodes. The first season had seven episodesnote , the following three had 13 each, and the fifth and final season had 16 episodes split over two eight-episode mini-seasons.
  • Mad Men — The first six seasons had 13 episodes each, while the seventh and final season had 14 episodes, split into two seven-episode mini-seasons much like Breaking Bad did.
  • The Walking Dead — Particularly the first two seasons; the first had only six episodes, while the second had 13. The third, fourth, and fifth seasons have 16 episodes, though they're split in half.
  • Better Call Saul — Six seasons, with the first five each being just ten episodes, with the final one getting a standard lengthening - to 13 episodes.

Comedy Central

  • Nathan for You — 32 episodes total: four seasons of 8 episodes (the final season started with a one-hour Clip Show and ended with a two-hour Grand Finale). Nathan Fielder said that the complex process of planning and executing the show's schemes limited the number of episodes he could do.
  • The Sarah Silverman Program — Four seasons, one of six, one of seven and two of ten.
  • South Park — Though mitigated by being a Long Runner (currently 300+ episodes), most early seasons consisted of roughly 14 episodes, with later ones dialled down further back to 10 episodes.

The CW

  • The network in general tends to give an abbreviated final season order for its shows, since there are many examples where it applies.
    • Arrow — The eighth season has 10 episodes, as that's how much Stephen Amell was contracted to appear in (in fact, he didn't appear in one of them). Amell originally wanted to move on after season 7, but agreed to return to give the series closure.
    • Girlfriends — The eighth season has 13 episodes, partly because of Executive Meddling and partly because of the 2007-08 WGA strike.
    • Gossip Girl — The sixth season consists of 10 episodes.
    • Hart of Dixie — The fourth season has 10 episodes.
    • Nikita — The fourth season has 6 episodes.
    • One Tree Hill — The ninth season has 13 episodes.
    • Reaper — The second season has 13 episodes.
    • Reba — The sixth season has 13 episodes. This was a compromise; the network originally wanted to cancel it, but was forced to continue because its predecessor The WB had given it an early renewal.
  • The 100 — Seasons 1, 4, 5, and 6, have 13 episodes.
  • Beauty and the Beast — Seasons 3 and 4 each got a 13-episode order because of low ratings.
  • Black Lightning — The first and final seasons consist of 13 episodes each.
  • The Carrie Diaries — Two seasons, 26 episodes.
  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend — Seasons 2 and 3 consist of 13 episodes.
  • iZombie — With the exception of the second, all seasons ran for 13 episodes.
  • Life Unexpected — Two seasons, 26 episodes.
  • The Originals — The last two seasons are 13 episodes long each.
  • Riverdale — The first season ran for 13 episodes, as it premiered in January. Later seasons avert this, though.


  • Dollhouse — Two seasons, 13 episodes each. This was justified in the first season by it being a mid-season pickup, and in the second by Executive Meddling.
  • The Following — Season premieres are always in the spring, each consisting of 15-episode seasons.
  • Sleepy Hollow— The first season ran for 13 episodes, and was soon renewed for a second season. This is likely due in some part to the show's somewhat spooky nature, meaning it works well around the Halloween season in the fall, but not so much during the spring.
  • Fringe — Four seasons, ~22 episodes each, Then in late January 2012, Fox and Warner Bros. Television worked on negotiating a lower licensing cost for the show to allow a fifth season to occur; To help Fox reduce its losses on the show and bring the total number of episodes above 100, a critical number for syndication deals for Warner Bros. This ended with getting a final season of 13 episodes, making the total number of episodes exactly 100.


  • Shadowhunters — There are technically five seasons of 10 each, as the second and third seasons are split in half. The second half of the third season got two additional episodes to Wrap It Up.
  • Slacker Cats — Two seasons, six episodes each.


  • American Horror Story — Each season is its own self-contained miniseries twelve or thirteen episodes long.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia — So far there have been 14 seasons. Each season averages between 10-13 episodes. The longest season so far has been 15 episodes.
  • Louie — Three seasons of thirteen episodes each, and a fourth with fourteen.
  • Sons of Anarchy — Seven seasons, 13 episodes each (except season 4, which had 14).
  • The Shield — Seven seasons. One is 15 episodes long, four are 13 episodes long, one is 11 episodes long, and one is 10 episodes long.


  • Big Love — Five seasons with 12, 12, 10, 9 and 10 episodes respectively.
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm — Eight seasons, 10 episodes each, sometimes more than a year between two seasons.
  • Deadwood — Three seasons, 36 episodes.
  • Game of Thrones — The first six seasons have ten episodes each. The final two seasons are even shorter.
  • Girls — Five seasons so far, each with 10 episodes except for the third season which has 12.
  • Mr. Show — Four seasons, 32 episodes (including two best-of specials).
  • Oz — Six seasons altogether. Each one has eight episodes except for season 4, which was 16 episodes long and split into two blocks.
  • Six Feet Under — Five seasons, 63 episodes.
  • The Sopranos — Ran for six seasons and 86 episodes, broadcast over the course of 8 1/2 years.
  • True Blood — Six seasons so far, 12 episodes each, except for season six, which had 10.
  • The Wire — Five seasons, two of 13, two of 12, one 10.
  • The Newsroom — Three seasons total, the first season consisting of 10 episodes, the second of 9, and the third and final of 6.


  • Awkward.'s first two seasons had 12 episodes. The third had 20 and the fourth originally had a 10 episode order before MTV extended it to 20.
  • Faking It ran 8 episodes in its first season. The second season was officially 20 episodes, with a mid-season break after episode 10... that lasted for ten months, virtually enough for it to count as two seperate 10-episode seasons. The third season was confirmed cancelled midway through, wrapping up after the 10th.
  • The American remake of Skins, like its predecessor, had only 10 episodes in its lone season.
  • Teen Wolf — Six seasons. Seasons 1, 2 and 4 consists of 12 episodes each. Season 3 is 24 episodes split into two distinct 12-episode arcs (referred to as 3a and 3b) with a three-month break in-between. Likewise, seasons 5 and 6 are 20 episodes long and split into two halves.


  • The Good Place had four seasons with 13-episodes each, at showrunner Mike Schur's request. He had mapped the entire show out at the conception stage and through his Auteur License with the network was allowed to stick with it. This was partly aimed at averting The Chris Carter Effect.
  • Hannibal — The contract with NBC stipulated that each season would premiere in the second half of the television season and that each season consisted of 13 episodes. Three seasons aired altogether.


  • Dexter — Eight seasons, all of which are 12 episodes in length.
  • Nurse Jackie — Three seasons, 12 episodes each.
  • The Tudors — Four seasons of eight to ten episodes each.
  • Weeds — Seven seasons, 89 episodes. The first season had 10, the second 12, the third 15, the rest 13 each.


  • Channel Zero — Each season expands a Creepypasta story into six episodes.
  • Haven — The first four seasons have 13 episodes each. Season 5 was split into two parts, both consisting of 13 episodes. Season 5A aired in 2014, season 5B in 2015, but for narrative purposes are considered 26 episodes of the same season.
  • Warehouse 13 — The first three seasons ran for 12, 13, and 13 episodes respectively. Season four is scheduled for 20 episodes, but with a seven-month break between the two halves of the season, and the last season is 6 episodes, which makes seasons 4-5 the equivalent of having two 13 episode seasons and splitting them up differently.


  • The Closer — Seven seasons, 15 episodes each, with an extra 6 episodes to set up the spinoff:
  • Major Crimes — Well, the first season had 10 episodes, anyway.
  • Leverage — Seasons hovered between 13-15 episodes, with season four being the highest at 18 episodes.
  • Southland: After NBC canceled it after a 7-episode first season, TNT revived it with a 6-episode second season and three 10-episode seasons.
  • Monday Mornings 13 episodes. In true British Brevity style, it aired for only one season.

USA Network

  • Psych — Eight seasons, the first one having 15 episodes and the subsequent ones 16 with the final season being shortened down to 10.
  • Suits — The first season had 12 episodes, and the second is scheduled to have 16.
  • White Collar — The first season had 14 episodes, 16 for seasons 2-4, 13 for season 5, and 6 for the 6th and final season.
  • The 4400 — Began as a five-episode miniseries, followed by three more seasons of 13 episodes each.


  • Bojack Horseman (Netflix) has had six 12-episode seasons (plus one Christmas special).
  • Damages (FX, then Netflix and DirecTV) had 13 episodes per season for three seasons and a fourth and fifth season with 10 each.
  • Animaniacs — Was a 65 Episode Cartoon in its first season, but due to various complications involving the show's move from FOX to WB the remaining four seasons had 4, 9, 13 and 8 episodes respectively.
  • The Killing (AMC, then Netflix) had two 13-episode seasons and one 12-episode season in its initial run on the former channel, with a 6-episode fourth and final season after its uncancellation by the latter. For the record, Forbrydelsen, the Danish show that inspired it, averted this with a 20-episode first season, but played it quite straight with two more 10-episode seasons.
  • The Storyteller - Co-produced by American and British companies. One season of 9 episodes and follow-up season of 4, but Jim Henson regarded it as his artistic masterpiece.
  • House of Cards (US), four seasons of 13 episodes each, though given its format, all episodes in one season are released at once.
  • Care Bears & Cousins (Netflix) - Only six episodes per season. Only two seasons were produced before the show was unceremoniously cancelled.
  • The first seven seasons of Law & Order: Criminal Intent were a typically chunky 21-23 episodes. Seasons 8 and 9 cut this down to 16. Season 10, which very nearly never happened and when it did was meant as a coda for the series and for the main characters Goren and Eames, cut it further to a very tight and succinct eight episodes.
  • Trollhunters (Netflix) - The first season has 26 episodes, but consists of two 13-episode arcs. The second season has 13 episodes.
  • Castlevania (Netflix) - season 1 was comprised of just four 22-minute episodes. Season 2 upped this to eight episodes, and Season 3 to ten.
  • Chico Bon Bon: Monkey with a Tool Belt - The show was only ordered for 40 episodes plus a special, so Netflix sliced them up into 4 seasons, each with 10 episodes. The show is highly unusual because its hiatuses are extremely short, especially in comparison to other Netflix shows. There was a mere 2-month gap between seasons 1 and 2, another 2-month gap between seasons 2 and 3, a one month gap between seasons 3 and 4, and a two-month gap between season 4 (October 27) and the Christmas special (December 3). This all happened in the span of just one year — 2020. The show is partially produced in Ireland which is part of the United Kingdom, so it's very tangentially an example of British Brevity, even though it's also produced in the USA and has American voice actors.
  • Arthur: Most seasons have around 10 episodes, but this isn't so bad since it's a Long Runner, and each episode does have Two Shorts. However, since Season 22, the seasons have been shortened down to 3-4 episodes.
  • Centaurworld (Netflix) - A total of 18note  episodes across two seasons.

    Australian examples 
Australia television also has a tradition of short TV series, particularly on The ABC.note  In some cases, however, two series a year are made.
  • The Doug Anthony All Stars' series DAAS Kapital ran for two seasons, with seven episodes in each.
  • The Librarians (2007) had six episodes in its first series.
  • Thank God You're Here has 13 episodes a series.
  • The Hollowmen has six episodes a series, with two series over one year.
  • Chris Lilley has done four one-season shows so far: Summer Heights High ran 8 episodes and We Can Be Heroes ran 6 episodes. His new show Angry Boys ran for 12 episodes. The Summer Heights High Sequel Series Ja'mie: Private School Girl also ran 6 episodes.
  • :30 Seconds: an Australian series that aired for six episodes on the Comedy Channelnote 
  • Danger 5 is a series consisting of six 25-min episodes.
  • Round the Twist has four seasons, about 13 episodes each. The last two seasons were a late revival commissioned about ten years after the show first aired.
  • Redfern Now had two six-episode seasons.
  • For Housos, the first season went for nine episodes, although a second season has been confirmed.
  • The Slap ran for only 8 episodes.
  • The Straits ran for only 10 episodes.
  • Nowhere Boys ran for only 13 episodes.
  • Please Like Me had six episodes in the first season, and ten episodes each in the second and third.
  • First Day: The first season has only four episodes running around 25 minutes each, and the second season had the same.
  • Australian-made animated web series Meta Runner ran for 28 episodes averaging 11-20 minutes across three seasons, with the first two seasons having ten episodes, and the third and final one having eight episodes.

    Other countries 
  • Appropriately enough for a Canadian show, the Degrassi franchise started out this way and has moved away from it over time, with 26 episodes of the original The Kids of Degrassi Street made between 1979-1986 (with a progression from one a year to four a year to an actual series within that), and The Revival having 48 episodes in the current (10th) season alone.
  • Seven Periods with Mr Gormsby: two seasons, seven episodes each.
  • Slings & Arrows has three six-episode seasons.
  • The Japanese Series Lessons for a Perfect Detective Story ran for ten episodes.
  • New Zealand web series Epic NPC Man has been split into seven, eight and ten episodes in its respective seasons.
  • Sticking with New Zealand, detective show The Brokenwood Mysteries has had seven series to date, with only four episodes in each of the first six series, with a whopping six episodes in series seven.
  • Total normal, a German comedy show by Hape Kerkeling and Achim Hagemann, ran for three seasons with seven episodes total (greatly varying in length, but heavily trimmed for reruns).
  • Bassie & Adriaan: Each series had between 8 - 12 episodes on average, with De Reis vol Verrassingen being the longest series at 16 episodes.
  • Henkei Shoujo: This anime miniseries consists of five episodes, all just a minute long, making the entire show a mere 5-minute sit.

    As a Discussed Trope or as Conversational Troping