Analysis: Should ‘Game of Thrones’ be longer than ten episodes a season?

More episodes means more Brienne.

It’s been a long week waking up every morning with no new “Game of Thrones” on the horizon, and in looking over the reaction to Sunday night’s season 2 finale, there really has only been one criticism — why did it have to end already? In averaging ten episodes a season, the HBO drama has one of the shortest runs out of any drama series on American TV. It also has more characters than just about any other show on TV, so overall this means that such characters as Brienne (left), Jon Snow, and Daenerys all receive less time to make an impression than the majority of other faces that we see for weeks on end.

But should “Game of Thrones” really be longer than it is, or is this the case of us passionate viewers really just wanting more? Let’s take a closer look.

The case for staying the same

It’s really all about quality. Who wouldn’t prefer ten amazing episodes over thirteen good ones? With each episode being on average twelve minutes longer than most broadcast and cable drama series, you are getting close to ten hours of programming as it is.

Plus, you also have to remember that episodes of this show don’t come cheap. You have a massive cast to pay, and multiple filming locations to shoot all around Europe. There’s not a production quite as ambitious as this on TV as it is, and when you have a show that is almost cinematic — and when you remember that many feature films shoot for longer periods of time for just a two-hour product in the end — ten episodes may be as good as it gets.

The case for more

Let’s just look at the recent numbers for the show — ratings were up across the board for season 2, and the finale drew the biggest audience for the show yet in over 4 million live viewers. Once you count replays, DVR viewings, and people streaming the show on HBO GO, you have more than 10 million people checking out the program every week. It’s already one of HBO’s most-successful series ever, and you could make the case for more money in the budget based on all of this alone.

Plus, two more episodes a season would give producers a chance to touch on a bit more content that is featured in the George R.R. Martin books. When you remember that the books are generally more than 800 pages long, there is always good content that is getting cut out.

While we understand the complaints from fans and even some TV critics that the seasons are too short, we ultimately admit that we have no problem at all with seasons of “Game of Thrones” being only ten episodes long. With a show that is good enough to be nominated for an Outstanding Drama Series Emmy — and as a fantasy show, no less — it’s really hard to ask for anything to change. Sometimes in television, less is more — and with producers reportedly scouting three or four different countries for season 3, it’s always better to ask for those ten episodes to be stellar and not rushed in order to make way for more.

Where do you stand on the issue of season length? Season 3 is set to start filming in the coming months, so stay tuned for more on casting and production!

Photo: HBO

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