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Why is the second season so long in comparison to the first and TGC seasons? What I mean is, could you not have you divide up the fifty-two episodes in the second and said they were several seasons, each the size of the first? It makes it sound like a short series when you say it only had two (or three) seasons to it.
These were business decisions -- not emotional or "how it sounds" decisions.
Initially, Buena Vista only ordered thirteen because Gargoyles and "Action Friday" was an experiment.
Keep in mind that the first season's thirteen episodes represents thirteen weeks of airing the show once a week. That's enough to fill "one quarter" of the year. (52 weeks in a year divided by 4.)
For the second season, they decided that they wanted the series to air FIVE days a week. So multiply 13 weeks by five episodes/week and you get a total of 65 episodes. We had 13 made already. So subtract 13 from that 65 total and you get the second season order of 52.
The third season wasn't produced for syndication. It was aired on ABC's Saturday Morning. And for ABC, it was going to be a bit distinct. (Thus the Goliath Chronicles title and the little sermons Goliath gave at the head of each episode. Neither of which I cared for.) So they started over. Saturday is once a week, so they ordered 13 episodes to cover the 13 week quarter.
Now the obvious question is why 13 weeks? What's so magical about one quarter of the year? Why not 1/8 of the year or 1/2? I don't have a good answer for this, but at that time the conventional wisdom was that kids needed new material in the fall through Christmas. After that, stations could get away with airing reruns.
It's actually gotten worse since. Five-day-a-week series used to be 65 episode orders. Now they've dropped to like 39. It's not so much that conventional wisdom has changed -- rather the economics have gotten so bad, that 39 is the lowest number that networks and studios think they can get away with. Until recently it was forty. Eight weeks of five new episodes a week instead of the old 13 weeks. We did 40 Starship Troopers, for example. (More or less.) But Team Atlantis only ordered 39. There's NO rhyme or reason to that number that I can see other than the fact that it is one less than forty. Thus having mentally adjusted the audience to 40 down from 52 down from 65, they've now chipped one more episode off the total order.
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