It being Halloween week, naturally I’ve been thinking about Halloween episodes of TV shows. Then, a thought occurred to me. A thought that is kind of a bummer. We may be heading toward a world with little to no Halloween episodes. Could the Halloween episode be dying?
There are reasons for that. Back in the day, television was scheduled more rigidly. The new season would start, on networks and usually on cable, in September or so. It would run through February. You knew when episodes would air, and when people would see them. That meant Halloween episodes and Christmas episodes ran rampant. Network shows also were making 22 episodes a season, so having a couple of easy jumping off points for plots made sense. And I love it. I always get hyped for Halloween and Christmas episodes of shows, especially sitcoms. But also late night talk shows, game shows, the occasional drama, you name it.
These days, though, television has changed. A lot of it isn’t on television. Streaming shows come out in a single batch, so you don’t know when people are watching them. If you drop a Halloween episode in April, is that going to be weird for people? Even shows on television networks don’t always adhere to the traditional schedule. Barry isn’t taking time for a Halloween or Christmas episode. Shows like that have an overarching story they are driving at. Frivolity isn’t on the menu. It feels like network shows don’t always do them as much in recent years. Parks and Recreation had a couple Halloween episodes, and they were memorable, but even a show like The Office didn’t go to that well all the time.
Maybe network sitcoms are still doing Halloween episodes, but I rarely watch network sitcoms these days. Brooklyn Nine-Nine has had its schedule moved around and it doesn’t necessarily air in October any longer. Admittedly, I am also rarely if ever watching kids’ shows, which often cover Halloween. I know Teen Titans Go! definitely does that.
This Halloween week, I watched several Halloween episodes of classic shows I enjoy. In the future, will I have to just keep going back to those old shows? Is the Halloween episode dying? I sure hope not. That’s scarier than any Halloween episode could be.