04/02/1990 at 01:00 AM EDT
Movies are an all-or-nothing industry. You make the film or you don't. TV, on the other hand, is the nibblers' medium. If a show seems promising, the network gives the producers a contract for six episodes. If it performs solidly (or a network honcho's wife likes it), the contract gets extended to 13 episodes. Theoretically a full season is made up of double that figure, or 26 episodes. In fact even a healthy hit series will not produce that many—even 22 is rare, 18 or 19 is the norm. Obviously that's not nearly enough to fill a season that lasts from September to May. Since the networks want to finish strongly with fresh episodes, we get mid-season pockets like the last few weeks, when it seems everything is reruns. Keep the smelling salts near the set, dear. The whole blasted season is flashing in front of my eyes again.