Half-Hour TV dramas

Watching “Have Gun, Will Travel” on H&I this afternoon it hit me that it is a 30 min drama (though there was a two parter). I’m thinking these are pretty rare. The other one I thought of is the animated Star Trek.

Speaking of Star Trek, the actress playing the princess Paladin had to bring back to San Francisco also played T’Pring (Arlene Sax/Martel)

Any others half hour dramas? Anything contemporary?


Peter Gunn

In Treatment was fairly recent, and did fine in the “drama” category of the Emmys and the Golden Globes – and since the Globes classified “The Martian” as a comedy (indeed, as the best of comedies), seems it’d have to be pretty dramatic.

Nurse Jackie is emphasized in this article:

I do remember at one time one of the networks experimented with the 45 minute drama. Two of them back-to-back filled an hour and a half (duh).

“Twilight Zone” was on at about the same time as “Have Gun, Will Travel”, and I think it likewise counts as a 30-minute drama (and, again, the Emmys agreed).

United States was a half hour drama that ran on NBC; 7 of 13 shows aired before it was cancelled.

I though it was a bold idea but it was far too maudlin and introspective for audiences at the time (or even today, really; it was interesting but also boring at times and a downer nearly all the time).

Mr. Lucky
The Lone Ranger
Night Gallery

Wasn’t Gunsmoke originally 30 minutes?

Also Alfred Hitchcock Presents had 30 minute episodes.

Wanted: Dead or Alive

Right now, the short-form series Galavant has half hour episodes, but they run two of them back to back.

Casual on Hulu

Red Oaks on Amazon Prime.

Rat Patrol, for reasons I could never comprehend.

There were a lot of half-hour dramas on TV until around 1968, some syndicated, some not. Many, many Westerns. The Rifleman and*** Wanted: Dead or Alive*** come immediately to mind.

Steve Canyon, Ripcord, Sea Hunt, Assignment: Underwater (which probably no one other than me remembers) were all half-hour shows.

Here are the US network listings for every year since 1946:

Surely the people who write Galavant intend for it to be a comedy?

(Bolding mine)

Yes, it was.

Note that although The Twilight Zone certainly qualifies as a half-hour drama it was also an anthology (no recurring characters) as was Alfred Hitchcock. Also note that Twilight Zone’s clones, Outer Limits and One Step Beyond, were both hour-long (as was TZ for one season) and also anthologies.

Nurse Jackie and the other shows in that article are more dark ‘dramadies’ rather than straight dramas, and they’re all on premium cable (no commercial breaks). Demonstrates how in the past half-hour dramas had to be ‘self-contained’, and how today they still don’t seem to work on network TV.

Adam-12 and Dragnet were 30 minute dramas.

Night Gallery ran for an hour per episode (50 minutes without commercials):

Twilight Zone ran for a half hour for every season except the fourth, where the episodes ran an hour. (Consequently, they didn’t get seen very often in syndication, which alotted a half hour for the show).
Soap operas like General Hospital originally ran for a half hour. I think that back in the 1950s some of them ran for a mere fifteen minutes. The Guiding Light was 15 minutes long until 1968!

Night Gallery ran for 50 minutes its first two seasons, then cut to 25 minutes in its third season, so it partially qualifies, even if it originally started out as an hour long.

Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton, of League of Gentlemen and Psychoville fame, have been doing Inside No. 9 for the BBC in recent years. Each episode is a standalone half-hour story, each with - themselves apart - a fresh cast. Invariably a macabre black comedy.

Inevitably somewhat variable. But the essentially silent A Quiet Night In was an instant classic.

Some of these were originally radio series. For whatever reason, radio was more friendly to half-hour dramas.

Ehhh, they were ‘Cop Shows’, slightly different than a straight ‘drama’. It was before my time, so I would have guessed that Dragnet was an hour*!*