Re: Entourage: The final season
I liked season 7, particularly the dark side of Vince that they showed.
anyhoo, my guess the reason for the 12 episode "season" is that the cable companies don't have the money to do a full scale 26 episode season like ABC, CBS, NBC do. Additionally, since there are only 12 episodes, you feel like you "have" to watch each one. How many friends, sienfield, office, CSI, Law & Order, etc... episodes were "skippable"? How many of them, if you had a conflict one week you just picked up the show the following week since most shows were independant of the other shows that season. Walking Dead, Entourage, The Killings, Breaking Bad, Big Love, etc.. have much more continuation week to week. I suspect if you dragged these shows out to 26 episodes, the pace of each show would really drag down. Each season is more like an extended movie, one week builds towards the next, which builds towards the season finale. Sure some shows like Entourage have more episodes that can be skipped over w/o lossing the flow of the season than say the Walking Dead did, but you still lost a little bit of the story.
On top of that, the ABC, NBCs of the world go to repeat land in the summer, and certain periods over the winter. They try and stuff overplayed "reality" TV or failed shows with poor concepts, direction, appeal. HBO may bring you a quick 12 episode season, but with the possible exception of a holiday weekend, every Sunday you're getting a new episode of "your" show. I think it helps the station remain a bit fresh that you get different type of shows at different points of the year. Sopranos was always on during the same season, Entourage has always been a summer show, Big Love was on in the Winter, etc... Tell a good story, work towards the end of the story, then move on to the next story before you can grow board with a particular show so that when it comes back on next year, you're ready to watch.