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pacomartin
pacomartin
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February 8th, 2012 at 6:47:17 PM permalink
One of the long running dramas on TV, and only a few years ago the most popular drama in the world, House is set to terminate after this season. An article I read said: TV shows get more expensive with each passing year as cast and producer salaries climb, while their ratings tend to decrease. So dramas rarely make it past a sixth year, let alone eight seasons.

I thought that was interesting comment, so I looked to see what are the longest running scripted TV shows by category, Comedy, Family Shows, Dramas, Melodramas, and Fantasy. While I agree that salaries generally make a show unprofitable to produce, it doesn't seem to me there is much difference between Dramas and Comedies.

Do you agree that in general dramatic TV shows don't last as long as comedies? Do you get tired of dramas faster? Do you think The Big Bang Theory will be just as funny five years from now?


Comedy
12 The Lucy Show CBS 1962-1974
11 The Danny Thomas Show ABC 1953-1957 351
11 The Carol Burnett Show CBS 1967-1978 278
11 Cheers NBC 1982-1993 273
11 Frasier NBC 1993-2004 265
11 Married... with Children Fox 1987-1997 259
11 The Jeffersons CBS 1975-1985 255
10 Murphy Brown CBS 1988-1998 247
10 Friends NBC 1994- 2004 236

Drama
20 Law & Order NBC 1990-2010 456
15 ER NBC 1994-2009 331
13 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit NBC 1999-present 280+
12 Hawaii Five-O CBS 1968-1980 284
12 NYPD Blue ABC 1993-2005 261
11 M*A*S*H CBS 1972-1983 251
11 7th Heaven WB/CW 1996-2007
10 JAG NBC 1995-1996 227
10 Law and Order: Criminal Intent NBC 2001-2011 195

Family
20 Gunsmoke CBS 1955-1975 635
17 Lassie CBS 1954-1971
14 The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet ABC 1952-1966 435
14 Bonanza NBC 1959-1973 430
12 My Three Sons ABC 1960-1972
12 Murder, She Wrote 1984-1996 264

Melodrama
14 Knots Landing CBS December 27, 1979 May 13, 1993 344
13 Dallas CBS April 2, 1978 May 3, 1991 357
10 Beverly Hills, 90210 Fox October 4, 1990 May 17, 2000 296

Animated
23 The Simpsons Fox December 17, 1989 present 498
15 South Park Comedy Central August 13, 1997 present 214
13 King of the Hill FOX January 12, 1997 September 13, 2009 255
10 Family Guy Fox January 31, 1999 (original) May 1, 2005 (revival) February 14, 2002 (original) present (revival 170+

Fantasy
10 Stargate SG-1 Showtime July 27, 1997 May 17, 2002 215 Sci Fi June 7, 2002 2007
10 Smallville The WB October 16, 2001 May 11, 2006 218 The CW September 28, 2006 May 13, 2011
cclub79
cclub79
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February 8th, 2012 at 6:53:37 PM permalink
Perhaps the "Top Ten" is not a good metric to compare comedy and drama, as those are the "best of the best" and might not be a real representative sample.

Also I think the "MASH" being a drama with a laugh track is odd, but that series never fit in either category.
Nareed
Nareed
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February 8th, 2012 at 7:04:38 PM permalink
Quote: pacomartin

Fantasy
10 Stargate SG-1 Showtime July 27, 1997 May 17, 2002 215 Sci Fi June 7, 2002 2007



SG-1 is Science Fiction, not Fantasy. Go stand in the corner :)

At that, had they wanted to, Star Trek: The Next Generation, could have lasted double what it did, easy.
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EvenBob
EvenBob
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February 8th, 2012 at 7:11:40 PM permalink
MASH was a drama? With a laugh track? HUH?

I'm proud to say I never saw a single ep of
Law and Order and I got no plans..
"It's not enough to succeed, your friends must fail." Gore Vidal
cclub79
cclub79
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February 8th, 2012 at 7:16:53 PM permalink
Quote: EvenBob

MASH was a drama? With a laugh track? HUH?



Some people said it was a drama, some people said it was a dark comedy. CBS insisted on a laugh track. Whoever made paco's list called it a drama...
P90
P90
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February 8th, 2012 at 7:24:14 PM permalink
Quote: pacomartin

One of the long running dramas on TV, and only a few years ago the most popular drama in the world, House is set to terminate after this season.
I thought that was interesting comment, so I looked to see what are the longest running scripted TV shows by category, Comedy, Family Shows, Dramas, Melodramas, and Fantasy.


Drama shows tend to have fairly consistent run lengths, with 7 seasons considered full length. I would disagree that few make it past 6 seasons, anything that isn't canceled tends to run either 5 or 7 years. The main plot can be written in advance, and so not even be extensible.

It applies to dramas like Star Trek TNG, DS9, VOY, BtVS, Shield, Boners, Dexter,..., as well as to most full continuity comedies. Trek and BtVS are the classics that really established the way modern drama series are made, they teach courses on these, so that only further establishes 7 seasons as the standard.

8th season is like a last "bonus round" to go out on. Both House and 24 could have very well ended at season 7. House S7 finale was great, and the comeback wasn't so impressive. Of course House set itself up for a finale pretty much every season since the 3rd.
Also, speaking of that, Scrubs, the comedy counterpart to House, had the same 8-season run, so... there's your answer.


Quote: pacomartin

Do you think The Big Bang Theory will be just as funny five years from now?

I don't think it's funny now.

BTW, I notice you've missed some very important shows on this list, such as Doctor Who. The world doesn't end at the Atlantic coast.
While on the subject of comedies, Red Dwarf had 8 seasons, Futurama will have 7 or maybe 8.
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EvenBob
EvenBob
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February 8th, 2012 at 7:45:05 PM permalink
Quote: P90

I don't think it's funny now. (Big Bang)



I agree. I watched 4-5 ep's and the humor was very
repetitive. The characters all have their niche and you
can predict whats coming.
"It's not enough to succeed, your friends must fail." Gore Vidal
Nareed
Nareed
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February 8th, 2012 at 7:45:15 PM permalink
Quote: cclub79

Also I think the "MASH" being a drama with a laugh track is odd, but that series never fit in either category.



The book and movie were satire. That's supposed to be a kind of dark comedy.

The TV show, I think, fits in as a mix of serious drama and comedy. Some called "Sports Night" a "dramedy," which is an unusually ugly word (not that it matters). Anyway, most comedies try to get serious from time to time, mostly in a maudlin, melodramatic way.
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