Other than the first two seasons of The Twilight Zone (1985-1989), have there been any speculative fiction television anthologies which had different numbers of stories within a single episode (time slot)?

Allowing such variability would seem to help avoid some excessive padding and trimming of stories (the original Twilight Zone story "The Eye of the Beholder" was arguably excessively padded), but I imagine that such would be less popular at least for U.S. commercial television because it likely would:

  • require an "hour" long program which is probably higher risk (and might be less popular for syndication for schedule filling reasons)
  • require establishing a buffer of stories so that lengths and moods could be fit together well which might increase up-front and other costs
  • involve more complex artistic tradeoffs, requiring more effort and more skill
  • have issues related to fixed-schedule commercial breaks (television station and audience expectations?)

Given that neither anthologies nor speculative fiction are common/popular on television (at least in the U.S. it seems), I do not have much hope that other examples (potentially better than The Twilight Zone) exist; but I am willing to be pleasantly surprised.

  • While I agree it can be definitively answered in the positive (with a single example as you note), don't see how the opposite can be achieved. Providing 'weasel words' is not a definite answer, it's an opinion based on the knowledge base of the answerer. Wouldn't you need to enumerate ALL the TV anthologies to show that none of them meet the criteria ? And that becomes a 'list' discussion. – Stan Jun 11 '13 at 14:57
  • No downside to a Meta question and see what response it gets from the community. – Stan Jun 11 '13 at 22:09
  • @Stan - there's many a question whose answer is "yes/no" where at least one cannot be definitive - in this case, either there will be a yes, or there will be no answer unless someone has seen all television ever. – HorusKol Jun 12 '13 at 22:06
  • 1
    This (new) Meta question asks about the general problem of "one-sided answerable" questions. Discussion on this aspect should probably be held there. – Paul A. Clayton Jun 12 '13 at 22:13
  • @HorusKol That's exactly my point. Only one side of such questions can be definitively answered. To Paul's point, there's a Meta question on the topic. – Stan Jun 13 '13 at 1:43

Darkroom, with James Coburn as the host, was in an hour timeslot and had stories of different lengths. I think there were up to 3 stories in a single episode.

Also, The Night Gallery, which was hosted by Rod Serling, originally ran for an hour and had up to 3 stories in an episode. This show has been edited and can (as of the date of this answer) be seen on American TV in reruns on MeTV.

It's also worth noting that the original The Twilight Zone was a half hour show for most seasons, but was an hour long for one season (oddly enough, the 4th out of 5 seasons, rather than the 1st or last season).

  • Will probably accept tomorrow morning. – Paul A. Clayton Jun 12 '13 at 3:43
  • No hurry, @PaulA.Clayton. Someone may have a better answer tonight! ;) – Tango Jun 12 '13 at 3:45

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