'Stranger Things' and the 150-minute Episode: A Short History Of Long Television (2023)

But there’s a reason multi-part episodes have been the exception rather than the norm. The development of the syndication market gave shows a second life as reruns, but syndication preferred shows with self-contained episodes that could be shown in virtually any order over those that needed to be watched one after another. The occasional multi-part episodes were fine. Long, ongoing storylines were much less welcome. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, however, innovative shows like Wiseguy and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine experimented with multi-episode arcs, laying the groundwork for the era that followed.

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76 minutes with ads: Wheel Shows and NBC Mystery Movie**.** In the late-’60s NBC began experimenting with what came to be known as “wheel shows,” which essentially grouped several complementary series under the same umbrella title. The most famous of these was NBC Mystery Movie, which initially alternated between episodes of McCloud, McMillan & Wife, and Columbo. It was born partly out of necessity. It allowed in-demand stars like Columbo’s Peter Falk and McMillan & Wife’s Rock Hudson to dip into television and appear in three to eight long episodes each year without turning down other work. Each episode clocks in at 76 minutes to fill a 90-minute time slot, which can make watching these shows feel more akin to watching a movie than a TV series. In some respects the model was more akin to the British TV model, with its shorter seasons and sometimes feature-length installments. But, a few success stories aside, it never really took root in the States.

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Two and a half hours with ads: The M*A*S*H finale. In the ’80s NBC attempted another experiment by sending stars of some of its most popular sitcoms abroad for TV movies like The Facts of Life Down Under, The Facts of Life Goes to Paris, and Family Ties Vacation, which found the Keaton family enjoying a London getaway. The results were bizarre. The familiar characters look out of place away from the studio, filming on location as they trade sitcom quips for a laugh track that never kicks in. Eventually, the movies were broken into four parts for syndication. But even these were dwarfed by “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen,” the final episode of M*A*S*H. Airing on February 28, 1983, the CBS series’ long goodbye filled a two-and-a-half hour time slot, becoming the most-watched television show in history, a title it held for decades.

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40 Minutes with ads: NBC and the Super[sized] Friends

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In 2001, NBC (yes, NBC again) began experimenting with airing longer-than-usual episodes of Must See TV favorites Friends and Will & Grace that stretched their usual 30-minute time slot to 40 minutes. This wasn’t done on a whim. After enjoying great success with its then-new reality show Survivor, CBS decided to put it head-to-head with NBC’s biggest night. NBC’s counter-offensive wasn’t an unqualified success and, rather than face off with the Survivor finale, the network ultimately decided to run a Friends clips show and a rerun. But it was effective and popular enough that NBC kept up the practice, ultimately airing 11 supersized episodes of Friends during its final seasons and continuing the practice with The Office and Parks & Recreation in the post-Friends era.

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Whats the longest episode in TV History? ›

Unless you count Sense8's 152-minute finale, which originally aired as a standalone movie, or Norway's “Slow TV” phenomenon, (real-time, marathon broadcasts of train rides, knitting contests, and fishing outings that draw surprisingly robust ratings), that may make it the longest single television episode ever made.

What is the longest Stranger Things EP? ›

Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 2 Runtime Reveals Longest Episode Ever.

Why are the Stranger Things episodes longer? ›

We have more characters, they're spread out and, in order to get across the story that we wanted to but also not lose sight of the characters, to give each character their moment [and] each character relationship the kind of emotional depth it wanted or craved, we just needed the length.”

How much does Netflix spend per episode of Stranger Things? ›

"Stranger Things" was by far the most expensive Netflix original series as of May 2022, with estimated production costs of around 30 million U.S. dollars per episode.

What is the shortest TV show ever? ›

Turn-On is an American sketch comedy series that aired on ABC in February 1969. Only one episode was shown, leaving one episode unaired, and the show is considered one of the most infamous flops in TV history.

What's the longest running animated TV show? ›

1 The Simpsons

The Simpsons had its first episode in 1989 and since, has gone on for 33 seasons.

What is the scariest Stranger Things EP? ›

The 11 Scariest 'Stranger Things' Moments So Far (Photos)
  • Billy Getting Possessed by the Mind Flayer (Season 3) ...
  • Eleven Closing the Gate (Season 2) ...
  • Will Possessed by the Mind Flayer (Season 2) ...
  • Will's Fake Body (Season 1) ...
  • Barb Getting Eaten by the Demogorgon at Steve's Pool (Season 1) ...
  • Will Getting Kidnapped (Season 1)
Oct 29, 2022

Is Stranger Things the biggest show ever? ›

“Stranger Things” Season 4 is Netflix's most popular English-language series ever and second most popular overall.

What is the least popular episode of Stranger Things? ›

Stranger Things' most disliked episode is season 2's "The Lost Sister." Here's why fans hate Eleven's adventure in the city as a 1980s goth. Here's why "The Lost Sister" is the worst-rated episode in Stranger Things history. After a stellar debut season, the pressure was on Stranger Things 2 to deliver.

Why did Netflix split Stranger Things? ›

By having “Stranger Things” episodes separated by a month or so, Netflix gets two bites at the apple, markets the same season twice and keeps the show top of mind for its viewers.

Why is Stranger Things so popular? ›

Stranger Things' enormous success can be attributed to many factors, as it is a production that has been critically acclaimed, among many things, for its plot, direction, performances, and outstanding atmosphere, set in the 80s, right down to the smallest detail.

What is the most expensive series per episode? ›

Here are the 10 most expensive TV-shows ever made.
  • Game of Thrones - 15 million dollars per episode. ...
  • The Mandalorian - 15 million dollars per episode. ...
  • See - 15 million dollars per episode. ...
  • The Morning Show - 15 million dollars per episode. ...
  • E.R. - 13 million dollars per episode.
Feb 2, 2023

What show has the highest budget per episode? ›

Reigning as the TV show with the most expensive per episode budget is Amazon Prime's The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power. With a budget of almost half a billion dollars per episode, this TV series has surpassed the combined $281 billion budget of The Lord of the Rings film series.

How much does Millie Bobby Brown make per episode? ›

2. How Much Did Brown Make on Stranger Things? These figures have yet to be confirmed by Netflix, but according to Deadline, the actress made about $30,000 per episode during the first two seasons. Fortunately for Brown, that number more than tripled when she moved on to season three.

What is the 3 longest running TV show? ›

3: "Gunsmoke" (1955-1975)

What was the 1st TV show to show a couple in bed? ›

Broadcast history

Mary Kay and Johnny was the first program to show a couple sharing a bed, and the first series to show a woman's pregnancy on television: Mary Kay became pregnant in 1948 and after unsuccessfully trying to hide her pregnancy, the producers wrote it into the show.

What is the 2nd longest running TV show in America? ›

General Hospital - 58 years. With over 15,000 episodes, General Hospital is America's second-longest-running tv show in drama production. It's still an ongoing series in the ABC network ever since its pilot episode in 1963.

What is the oldest cartoon on TV? ›

Crusader Rabbit, the first animated character created specifically for television.

What is the oldest cartoon show? ›

Fantasmagorie is considered to be the oldest cartoon in the world. The very short animation is one of the earliest examples of traditional hand-drawn animation. It was created in 1908 by French cartoonist Émile Cohl.

What is the oldest kids show? ›

The BBC's Children's Hour, broadcast in the UK in 1946, is generally credited with being the first TV programme specifically for children.

Is Stranger Things 1 Inappropriate? ›

Despite the scary, disturbing and otherwise crass content present in the Netflix original series, “Stranger Things,” the show still holds a TV-14 rating.

What is the lowest rated season of Stranger Things? ›

This one episode might not be the worst thing on television, but it is enough to consider Stranger Things' season two as the weakest season.

Is there an inappropriate scene in Stranger Things? ›

Mature Content in Stranger Things

There is kissing, sexual references, and talking about sex in Stranger Things Season 4. There is talk about boobies and liking boobies and a flashback scene of characters making out.

What is Netflix's No 1 most watched series? ›

Stranger Things 4

What is the #1 Netflix series of all time? ›

Best Netflix series of all time
  • Stranger Things. ...
  • The Crown. ...
  • BoJack Horseman. ...
  • Squid Game. ...
  • Orange is the New Black. ...
  • Master of None. ...
  • Lupin. ...
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Jan 24, 2023

What is the most watched show on Netflix ever? ›

Netflix's most watched TV shows, ranked
  • The Witcher (season 1), a fantasy show -- 541 million hours.
  • Inventing Anna, a true-crime limited series about a fake socialite -- 511.9 million hours.
  • Ginny & Georgia (season 2), a mother-daughter dramedy -- 504.8 million hours.
Feb 28, 2023

Is Stranger Things 1 appropriate for a 10 year old? ›

What's the Stranger Things Age Rating? First, it's worth noting that the maker of Stranger Things, Netflix, has rated it TV-14. That means they don't think it's appropriate for anyone under 14 to watch it.

Is Stranger Things season 1 the scariest? ›

In some respects, Stranger Things Season 1 is the scariest of them all. It built the Upside Down into the nightmare-inducing alternate universe it truly is.

Is Stranger Things 1 horror? ›

Stranger Things is an American science fiction horror drama television series created by the Duffer Brothers, who also serve as showrunners and are executive producers along with Shawn Levy and Dan Cohen.

Did Netflix crashed because of Stranger Things? ›

Netflix briefly went down for many users, after a large number of subscribers logged on to stream the new episodes of Stranger Things, which the platform released earlier today.

Did Netflix know Stranger Things would be a hit? ›

First-party data is a superpower of its own

So, in many ways, Netflix was very sure “Stranger Things” would be a hit. They based their decision to produce the series with the budget it received on data analysis of what previous Netflix content was performing well.

Why is it called Stranger Things? ›

The show was originally supposed to be based in Montauk.

They later came up with the name "Stranger Things," in part because it sounded like the Stephen King novel, "Needful Things." A list of the show's alternate titles is somewhere out there.

What is the number 1 longest binge watch? ›

  • ER. Long TV shows: ER. Seasons: 15. ...
  • Will and Grace. Long TV shows: Will and Grace. Seasons: 11. ...
  • Modern Family. Long TV shows: Modern Family. Seasons: 11. ...
  • Friends. Long TV shows: Friends. Seasons: 10. ...
  • The Big Bang Theory. Long TV shows: The Big Bang Theory. Seasons: 12.

What is the most important thing in Stranger Things? ›

Hopper's letter

It's also a touching tribute to what has emerged in the show's later seasons as its most important relationship: The love that exists between Eleven and Hopper. It's a letter about embracing the inevitability of change, even if you want things to stay the same.

What age is Stranger Things aimed at? ›

Stranger Things is rated TV-14 on Netflix, so it's intended for an audience consisting of teens and adults. Being that the show is a sci-fi horror drama, viewers can expect intense scenes involving topics of experimentation, grotesque looking creatures, murder, death, and violence.

What was the cheapest show ever made? ›

8 of the cheapest-looking TV shows ever made
  1. Captain Zep: Space Detective. BBC. ...
  2. The Tomorrow People. Rex/Shutterstock. ...
  3. Teddy Edward.
  4. Benji, Zax, and the Alien Prince.
  5. Churchill's People.
  6. Jane. BBC. ...
  7. Eldorado. BBC.
Jul 23, 2018

What is the most expensive TV show ever? ›

The most expensive TV series of all time, “The Rings of Power” has a budget of just under $1 billion for its first five seasons.

What show made HBO the most money? ›

1 House of the Dragon (2022) — $20M Per Episode

Created by George R. R. Martin and Ryan Condal for HBO, this fantasy series is set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones and depicts the beginning of the end of House Targaryen.

What is the most televised TV show? ›

America's most-watched series of the 2020-2021 season are …
RankTitle (Network)VIEWERS (000)
1.NFL Sunday Night Football (NBC)18,139
2.NFL Thursday Night Football (Fox/NFL Network)15,397
3.Yellowstone (Paramount Network)11,312
4.NFL Monday Night Football (ESPN)11,233
11 more rows
May 31, 2022

What TV show has the most fans? ›

As of December 2022, The Simpsons was the TV show with the most Facebook fan page likes, with a total of 62 million fans.

What TV has the most episodes? ›


It was the quintessential Western and ran forever. The CBS show was on for two decades of doing episodes seemingly every week of the year. “Gunsmoke” finally ended its run in 1975, long after the heyday of the Western, after a whopping 635 episodes. It's the longest-running live-action show to date.

Is Millie Bobby Brown fully deaf? ›

Millie Bobby Brown is deaf in one of her ears. She was born partially deaf in one ear but it later became fully deaf following years of tubes.

What is Millie Bobby Brown's disability? ›

Brown was born in Marbella, Málaga, Spain, on 19 February 2004, the third of four children born to British parents Kelly and Robert Brown, an estate agent. She was born with partial hearing loss in her left ear and gradually lost all hearing in that ear over several years.

Is Millie Bobby Brown a millionaire? ›

According to Celebrity Net Worth, Millie Bobby Brown's net worth is $14 million as of 2023. Here, L'OFFICIEL breaks down how the 19-year-old earned herself all that money.

What is the longest film ever? ›

Guinness World Records says the longest film ever made is "The Cure for Insomnia" released in 1987. The 85-hour experimental film was directed by John Henry Timmis IV.

How many episodes of 1923 are there? ›

There are eight episodes in the first season of 1923, and they released semi-weekly on Sundays on Paramount+. The show took a brief hiatus in January, but returned in February with the back half of the season.

What is the longest series in Netflix? ›

Although it came to an end last April 2022, Grace and Frankie is the longest-running Netflix Original Series with seven seasons under its belt.

What is the shortest film ever made? ›

Fresh Guacamole

What movie stayed at number 1 the longest? ›

E.T. sits atop with 16 weeks at number one (31% of a year). The largest number of films in a year is six in 1986 and 1992.

Is 1932 now 1923? ›

Name Change. In June 2022, Paramount+ announced that 1932 would instead be called 1923 — and would also be set in that year. According to a new description for the show, the action will now place amid an economic downturn in Montana that preceded the national Great Depression.

Where can I watch 6666 series? ›

6666 will join Yellowstone in airing on Paramount Network, while fellow spin-offs 1883, 1923, and 1883: The Bass Reeves Story are exclusive to Paramount+.

Is 1923 the sequel to 1883? ›

1923 is an American Western drama television series that premiered on December 18, 2022, on Paramount+. The series is a prequel to the Paramount Network series Yellowstone and serves as a sequel to the series 1883. In February 2023, the series was renewed for a second season of eight episodes.

What has been number 1 on Netflix the longest? ›

TOP 10 on Netflix in the World with the longest streak
1.Ginny & Georgia53 days
2.Squid Game53 days
3.The Queen's Gambit46 days
4.Stranger Things44 days
5.Bridgerton39 days
158 more rows

What is the number 1 best Netflix series? ›

Outer Banks


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