TV settles in for a long winter’s nap

Let’s try a little experiment. It will require audience participation. Here goes: Do you like watching new episodes of TV shows? Raise your hands, don’t be shy. Do you like waiting to watch new episodes of TV shows? Hey, where did all your hands go? Just as I suspected. Everyone likes new episodes, everyone hates waiting for them. So then why are the networks making us wait up four whole months to see new episodes of some of the shows we love? In my book, that makes them losers. Losers!

This year has already been dubbed “The Season of the Hiatus” by Entertainment Weekly, and rightfully so. Glee, V, FlashForward and Vampire Diaries

Vampire Diaries

Last 2009 episode: Nov. 19

First 2010 episode: Jan. 21

FlashForward

Last 2009 episode: Dec. 3

First 2010 episode: March 4

V

Last 2009 episode: Nov. 24

First 2010 episode: March 30

Glee

Last 2009 episode: Dec. 9

First 2010 episode: April 13

Yes, Gleeks, that means it will be 111 days until another new Glee. At this point, I am feeling the opposite of glee.

Now, fans of serialized dramas like Lost and 24 are used to the long hiatus strategy already. But it’s something else entirely to try it on new shows that haven’t had several seasons to establish themselves — or even one. These are all first season shows and momentum is critical to building an audience. But it’s not just for the newcomers. Other more established second-season shows like Fringe (off Feb. 11-April 1) and Lie to Me (off since Nov. 30 with no set return date yet) are also taking extended breaks.

The networks are marketing these breaks by calling the last episodes “fall finales,” as with last night’s Glee. Which is, well, a little weird. Are they going to start selling the DVDs by the half season now, too? Oh, wait, Glee is already doing that. Hello, clever ploy for making you pay twice for one season.

So, what do you think? Will absence makes your heart grow fonder? Or is it out of sight out of mind?

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