Thirteen episodes—which, almost coincidentally, actually corresponds to what we normally mean when we say "season" in other contexts—has progressively become a standard length for series appearing on cable television, thanks in part to the increasing visibility on American screens of shows originating in Canada or Britain, where 6- and 13-episode runs have long been common.
Joanne Kelly, Allison Scagliotti, and Eddie McClintock in Warehouse 13.
Syfy, in particular, has embraced the 13-episode season: where once shows like Eureka, Sanctuary, and, going further back, Stargate Atlantis and Battlestar Galactica routinely got 20-episode orders that were often then broadcast in two widely separated ten-ep half-seasons, lately Syfy's orders have been for nice, compact 13-episode runs. And this often works out well for both the network and the shows' producers: the network can more easily block out its fall, winter/spring, and summer seasons with big debuts in September/October, January, and July; and the producers can build story arcs in convenient 13-episode (or 6- and 7-episode) chunks.
So it was an interesting reversion, highlighting the importance of its most popular scripted series, when Syfy announced this week that Warehouse 13—hitherto exclusively 13 episodes, and previously slated at the same number for this summer's season 4—now has seven more episodes to play with.
Warehouse 13 has not only beat out Syfy's other dramas, but it's been building on its own success—season 3 was its most-watched run yet. This achievement was already been rewarded with a steampunk-themed spin-off series for the Helena Wells character, and now this further expansion of the franchise.
When will the extra episodes air? That part isn't clear. There are two possibilities. Syfy might launch season 4 early, in April instead of July. Or, and this seems to me more likely, the first ten or thirteen will air in the summer as planned, and the rest will air as season 4.5 in the fall. In that scenario, Syfy might be intending that Warehouse 13 accompany Sanctuary—or run instead of it. A third possibility is that season 4.5 will be held back to air with the Wells spin-off, which is still in the early stages of development but might still debut with the winter 2013 season.
|Tags: Syfy, Warehouse 13|
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