View Poll Results: How long do you give a TV series to hook you before you give up on it?
The pilot 5 7.35%
2 episodes 13 19.12%
3 - 5 episodes 21 30.88%
About half a season 3 4.41%
A whole season 0 0%
More than a whole season 1 1.47%
The pilot and an episode or two, then I might check in once or twice throughout the season 4 5.88%
Depends on the show 17 25.00%
Something else 4 5.88%
Voters: 68. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-10-2019, 08:15 PM
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How long do you give a new TV show?

You've started to watch a new or at least new-to-you TV show.

How long do you give it to hook you before you turn it off?
Old 09-10-2019, 08:19 PM
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I stop watching when it no longer gives me any reason to continue. Sometimes, it's in the first five minutes.
"If a person saying he was something was all there was to it, this country'd be full of rich men and good-looking women. Too bad it isn't that easy.... In short, when someone else says you're a writer, that's when you're a writer... not before."
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Old 09-10-2019, 08:22 PM
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I typically watch the pilot and about half of the second episode. At that point I ask myself (and my wife if she's there) whether or not I still give a shit what happens to these people, and if the answer is "no" I turn it off.
Old 09-10-2019, 08:50 PM
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Depends. A couple of examples:

Space: Above and Beyond. Couldn't even make it through the pilot.

30 Rock. Gave it about 4 episodes, until seeing one more episode would have made me scoop out my eyes with a rusty grapefruit spoon. (FTR, I was a huge fan of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, IMHO a far better treatment of the premise. So it's possible I was predisposed to not like 30R nearly as much. But I think that was why I hung in for 4 episodes).
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:13 PM
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Sometimes I can't even make it through the commercial for a show. Other times i'll watch the entire run before deciding if it was worth it or not. There are so many factors involved that I can only answer "depends"
It may be because I'm a drooling simpleton with the attention span of a demented gnat, but would you mind explaining everything in words of one syllable. 140 chars max.
Old 09-10-2019, 09:32 PM
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Yeah, I should have said "depends." Lots of shows take a while to hit their stride, but one thing that will keep me from coming back is an actor (or the character he/she plays) that I find off-putting. I won't give a show like that much time at all.
Old 09-10-2019, 10:28 PM
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OP: you missed an obvious possibility: the first few minutes of the pilot.
Old 09-10-2019, 10:34 PM
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Three episodes. I may not make it through the first or second episode -- but if it's something that I feel may have some redeeming qualities and just needs to find its stride, I stick around to watching at least a quarter of the third episode. If it doesn't hit me by then, then I'll put it on the back burner. Now, I may come back to it later. Some series don't hit their stride until the second or third season (It's Always Sunny being one that comes immediately to mind.)
Old 09-10-2019, 11:54 PM
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I've given some as little as ten minutes. I have certain principles I stick by about pilot episodes.

But if it gets past that, then 3-5 episodes usually. I will give some more benefit of the doubt than others. Genre matters, formula matters, cast can matter too.

I adore it when I know I will love it in just the first few minutes. It actually excites me.

Last edited by GuanoLad; 09-10-2019 at 11:56 PM.
Old 09-11-2019, 07:12 AM
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I said 2 episodes, but it does depend on the show.

If it's something I've never heard of, but the Netflix, Amazon, etc. description looks interesting, you basically get one show to hook me, or less, if the show actively sucks.

If it's a show that people are talking about as being good, or that I've heard is good, I'll give it a couple of shows, or more, if people say it takes time to hit its stride.
Old 09-11-2019, 07:38 AM
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Depends. Sometimes I'm just not in the mood and I quit a show within minutes, only to discover later that it's pretty good. But sometimes it only takes a few minutes to see that I'll hate it regardless, even recognizing that pilot episodes are generally too intent on setting the stage for the series.

I'm immediately turned off by extremely broad, mugging-style comedy, or obviously bad "science" jargon, and especially by very obvious stereotypes. Maybe I'm just an old grouch, because even on the streaming services, I find very little that I care to spend time watching.
Old 09-11-2019, 07:43 AM
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Now that there are so many shows available through streaming, even if I sort-of-like a show I'll put it on indefinite hold if there are other, more interesting shows available to watch. There are quite a few shows where I have watched the first two or three seasons but I haven't watch the most recent season, for instance.

But of course I'll give up on a show after a couple of episodes if I genuinely don't like it.
Old 09-11-2019, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by hogarth View Post
Now that there are so many shows available through streaming, even if I sort-of-like a show I'll put it on indefinite hold if there are other, more interesting shows available to watch. There are quite a few shows where I have watched the first two or three seasons but I haven't watch the most recent season, for instance.

But of course I'll give up on a show after a couple of episodes if I genuinely don't like it.
This is me too.

One of the tests I have is when I look at my DVR list and see a show that I have a few episodes recorded and unwatched and I think to myself, "I have all of those to watch?" At that point, it seems more like homework to me to HAVE to watch them. Then I'll delete them and actually feel relieved that they're not on my list anymore. If it's a show I love, I'm excited to see it on the list.
Old 09-11-2019, 07:45 AM
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I said pilot + 1 or 2 episodes, but it really depends. Some shows hook me right away, some take a few episodes. Sometimes I don't even think I'll be interested in a show, but my wife will be watching and I get sucked in as an innocent bystander. (And sometimes I do the same to her.)
I'm not black, but there's a whole lotsa times I wish I could say I'm not white. -- FZ
Old 09-11-2019, 09:53 AM
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Three episodes.

I call it "The Wire rule".

When The Wire was first running, I would start each season and, for the first two episodes, be thinking, "This is so slow! Is it really worth it?". By the end of the third episode, I'd be hooked. So, since then, I've always tried to give a show three episodes to grab me.
Old 09-11-2019, 10:19 AM
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I'll watch the pilot and maybe one episode. If it doesn't make the grade that's it until the next season when I check in for the season 2 opener. That's my "Parks and Recreation" modifier to my "I don't have to eat the whole egg to know that it's rotten rule."
Old 09-11-2019, 11:14 AM
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I started binge-watching before it was a common term with 24. Here was what I said at the time:

I've had the idea of taping a whole season of something and watching it all at once since FX re-ran all the major conspiracy-related episodes of The X-Files a few years ago, like four or five episodes a night for a whole week. What a way to catch up!
That became my go-to model for new shows when possible: just wait for the first season to be done, see how the people who watched it felt it held up, then go all-in. This saved me from such mistakes as The Event and whatever that "all the power went out and nobody knows why" show from a while back. It's a lot easier now, and there are plenty of exceptions I make (e.g., the CW DC mulitverse shows), but history has caught up with me and it's a lot more common for streaming services to drop entire seasons at a time, so I can just wait a few weeks and ask around.
Old 09-11-2019, 11:46 AM
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If something I read/saw made me think I might enjoy it, I'll give an unimpressive pilot some slack and try a 2d. Might go up to 3-5 if someone I knew strongly recommended it.

The flipside is kinda interesting as well, tho tougher to quantify. How long will you stick w/ a sho - either one you just kinda liked that never really engaged you, or one you used to like but lost interest in. Just this season we stopped watching Elementary, even tho it was the last season. And in recent years we stopped Hawaii 5-0 and Modern Family.
I used to be disgusted.
Now I try to be amused.
Old 09-11-2019, 11:59 AM
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I put "depends on the show".

I rarely start watching a show right when it first comes out. I usually (and especially when the IMDB boards still existed) start watching a show because of word of mouth, reading articles, etc. If I hear it's a good show, or that it grows into a good show, I'll give it more time.

Example: The Big Bang Theory. The pilot, to me, really wasn't that funny. That show really grew on me over time.

OTOH, if I find a show truly grating, I won't give it a shot past the pilot.

Example: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I just found it extremely annoying from the get-go, and couldn't imagine it significantly breaking off from that.
Old 09-11-2019, 11:57 AM
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If the premise of a show seems interesting, I will forgive a bad pilot and maybe even the next couple of episodes. I figure it's hard to get a show started: at first there is so much information you have to introduce that there's not a lot of opportunity for much else, like a plot line that draws you in instantly. So I'll keep trying for maybe three episodes before I give up.

Great pilots are rare, alas. Breaking Bad and Six Feet Under were both instantly addictive. But those are the exception; a lot of good shows had meh pilots.
If I waited for memory to serve, I'd starve.
Old 09-12-2019, 10:01 AM
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It depends. But for comedy, as soon as I hear a laugh track, I'm outta there. I've lost my tolerance for it.
Old 09-12-2019, 11:06 AM
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It sometimes takes upwards of half a season for the writers and actors to really know what their characters are all about. If the first few episodes aren't actually very good but the show seems to hold promise, I'll give them about that long. I won't necessarily watch every episode but I'll check in from time to time. If things aren't clicking by halfway through the first season, they probably never will. If memory serves, good series that took about half a season to get up to steam include Star Trek: The Next Generation and Cheers.

Of course if the first episode is downright bad and shows no promise for improvement, I won't bother with a second episode.
Old 09-12-2019, 02:55 PM
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One of TV's steadfast rules is that you can't judge a show by its pilot*, so if the pilot has any redeeming qualities at all, I try to watch an additional episode or two just to give it a fair chance.

*Exception: NewsRadio hit the ground running and just got better from there, at least until the death of Phil Hartman.
Old 09-12-2019, 05:04 PM
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3-5 shows, but that's a bit misleading. In my situation (no cable, crappy DSL ergo no streaming, not enough OTA channels available here [river valley in the middle of Greater Podunk] to make an antenna worth the hassle), by the time I start watching a show, I already have a pretty good idea that I'll like it (from recommendations and reviews) and a pretty substantial investment (either in optical discs or downloading-via-crappy-DSL), so the chances of me quitting any earlier than that are pretty slim. If I'm watching a new-to-me show, there's a reason for it; serendipitous "Hey, that looks interesting, I'll give it a shot" explorations aren't on the menu.


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