TV Bites With
Ninety Minutes of Tedium
by Neena Louise
I am getting increasingly annoyed with the "90-minute
special" episodes of many series. There's been a run of these
"expanded" versions lately, and I fail to see the point.
Most of these shows can barely stretch themselves to fill an hour,
let alone and hour and a half.
This can be witnessed by the increasingly excruciating "music
video" interludes in most shows today. So many shows
(especially dramas) have the same thing: Melancholy music plays
while the principal character moons sadly out a window, or at a
picture, or while reading a letter, or while dying, etc. (Crossing
Jordan is the biggest offender and Jill Hennessy's singing in
one episode was especially painful). These musical interludes are
totally unnecessary and add nothing to the story, and I suspect they
are added simply to stretch the episode to fill an hour. So what do
the networks do? They stretch the episode to ninety minutes! Oh, that
Then there's all the reality fare that has "special"
90-minute episodes that the networks tout as something spectacular (puh-leeze).
It's hard enough to sit through an hour of backstabbing,
cat-fighting and hot-tub antics, let alone an hour and half. I, for
one, tape any reality show I can't help following [blush], and I
must say there's a lot of fast-forwarding when I get around to
watching the tape. With other reality fare, I simply watch the last
5 minutes, which is all one needs to see anyway.
It would be one thing if these "special" episodes were
just that: special. But they're not. They're generally quite
ordinary (some are deadly dull) and seem to have even more
commercials and idiotic musical moments than their one-hour
versions. I fail to see the reasoning behind these expanded
versions, other than a shameless ratings grab. However, I don't see
what ratings the networks are trying to grab, since lengthening a
one-hour show to ninety minutes wreaks havoc with the schedule. It's
hard enough finding the show you want to watch when the networks
move them around so much (often at the last minute); it's even
harder when they've been moved, lengthened, and have ousted the
shows that used to precede them. I would think this would be
detrimental, not beneficial, when it comes to ratings.
Many of today's series could be pared down to thirty minutes without
losing anything. I, therefore, utterly fail to understand what
expanding them to ninety minutes is supposed to accomplish. I've
come to avoid these ninety-minute "special" episodes.
They're not special in the least and I refuse to stop watching
whatever series they overlap just to tune in to ninety minutes of
would love to know what you think, sound off on the
boards and let us know what you think!