I had this weird train of thought this morning. My mind was bouncing haphazardly between Ogre Battle for Super Nintendo, and episodes of TaleSpin. I was compelled to visit the Wikipedia page for Ogre Battle (there isn’t much to read about there), and I got to thinking about the episodic nature of games and … well, television series. Maybe it’s because I’ve had “series” on the mind lately.

I got into my head this idea for the “ideal” number of chapters that an arc should take. I mean, it isn’t really ideal, it’s just what I’m used to, you know? Here, in America, we tend to have television series with several “seasons” that span roughly twenty-five episodes. It works out that over the course of about four years, you hit the “hundred episode mark,” which is ideal for syndication.

One hundred episodes spaced over a five-day broadcasting week means you can go a full four months (one fiscal quarter) showing a different episode every day without repeats. You have some extra episodes, too, just in case you need to yank one off the air for whatever reason (inappropriate or sensitive content, for example). And you never know when those wascally artists will try to slip something in under the radar.

So, I’m thinking about the numbers, right? How much content should go into the main arc? How much should go into filler? It seems like there’s a balance to maintain, like between main plot and side quests in an adventure roleplaying game. You want your delicious story center, surrounded by a flaky, side-quest crust. There’s a sweet spot.

I was thinking about it. It has something to do with the potential stories that can come from a setting and its characters. An important part of the planning stage is to create a minimum amount of potential from which to craft stories. And as the series progresses, to maintain a certain amount of story potential, in addition to using what’s available.

I’ve been foundering in this topic for hours now, maybe something will come to me later. I don’t know for sure, yet. Hopefully it will eventually make sense.