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In defense of TV shows taking a long hiatus between seasons

  • Next week, Better Call Saul and Russian Doll return for new seasons after two and three years off, respectively. This spring, several other acclaimed shows are returning or have returned after a long break due to the pandemic, including Atlanta (after four years), Barry and Stranger Things (both after three years). "Maybe it sounds frustrating, having to wait so long for ice cream to melt that you forget about the anxiety it symbolizes," says Judy Berman. "Yet refreshing your memory of a favorite series can also be a pleasure, like catching up with an old friend. It’s customary to gripe about long hiatuses between seasons, but the truth is: I like when a show gives me time to miss it." But, as Berman notes, long hiatuses existed before the pandemic since cable and streaming shows aren't bound to American TV schedules. "Increasingly ambitious TV productions, shot in multiple countries and with elaborate special effects (like Apple’s Foundation), can also increase the time required to create a season," says Berman. "Such elasticity in scheduling can be great for creators, the most distinguished of whom might now make a new season of their show whenever—and no sooner than—inspiration strikes. Larry David let six years pass between Seasons 8 and 9 of Curb Your Enthusiasm. This kind of leeway is essential for high-concept series like Atlanta and Russian Doll, which swerve between reality and surrealism, propelled by heady ideas about identity, history, and time, and would be doomed by an imperative to churn."

    TOPICS: Better Call Saul, Atlanta, Barry, Russian Doll, Stranger Things, Peak TV, Prestige TV