Split Seasons: A Trend in Superhero TV

I’ve spoken before about how I like all of the CW DC shows, and the Marvel Netflix shows, but there is a trend this past year that I’m not really on board with.  A lot of the shows, have been splitting their seasons between two big bads.

First, Luke Cage (which I loved) split the season between Luke dealing with Cottonmouth in the first half, and Diamondback in the second.  Now, technically Cottonmouth was underneath Diamondback on the organized crime hierarchy, but the problem was two fold.  First, Cottonmouth was (in my opinion) the far more intriguing opponent.  The second problem is that splitting the season up made it feel like two different seasons, and it didn’t fully feel like it managed to have a through-line tying it together.

After Luke Cage, I noticed the same issue on Supergirl season 2, the first half of the season is devoted to dealing with Cadmus and Lillian Luthor.  Lillian Luthor and Cadmus are determined to get rid of any alien threat to Earth including Supergirl.  Then half-way through the season, they seemed to ‘kind-of’ wrap up that story line, and they transitioned to dealing with Rhea (a great use of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman alum Teri Hatcher).  Now there is a little more connecting these two, both Lillian and Rhea manipulate Lena Luthor, but unless Lena becomes the big bad, I don’t think this dividing up makes too much sense.

So here’s my question, is this a new trend, a new seasonal structure that we’ll be seeing or is it just a matter of trying to fill too many episodes and not wanting to water down the stories?  I would be ok with either of those, but it does make the experience of the seasons seem a bit fragmented.

Look at something like Arrow, fans typically talk about how seasons 1 and 2 were excellent, and three and four aren’t as good.  Or The Flash how season 1 was great, 2 was a bit redundant and season 3 is a bit muddled.  Sure we’d love to have a show that is just great episode 1 to episode 200, but I think we’ve settled for season long ups and downs; I think fragmenting the seasons seems to dilute the overall product.

What do you think about this new trend of splitting up the seasons?  Do you think it’s good to have a bunch of ‘mini-seasons’ to judge a show on, or do you prefer when the season was one cohesive whole?

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