Like most people (I suppose), every now and then I am puzzled by why something is done in a certain manner. Usually, a bit of logical thinking can make me come up with a conclusion I find satisfying, but not always, as was the case when I wrote this post.
Maybe someone has an explanation for the puzzling way of a TV channel to deal with the airing of a series:
Some months ago, I started watching Midsomer Murders on ZDFneo. The series is simply called "Inspector Barnaby" here in Germany, and probably just as popular as it was/is in the UK, where I first watched some episodes when on holiday at my mother-in-law's.
Like all series, it is divided into seasons and episodes, and since it has been going on since the late 1990s, there are quite a few of those! In the course of the years, the recurring characters such as Mr. and Mrs. Barnaby, their daughter, the police doctor and some others have of course aged, and their circumstances changed (the daughter studying, then working; having a boyfriend, later getting married and so on). The Inspector's assistant changes, too; the first one is (I think) promoted and replaced by a second one, and currently, the series is filmed with a third man who was introduced as Barnaby's assistant a few years ago.
Imagine how daft it seems, therefore, that on ZDFneo, the series is not aired in its proper order.
We get to see a double feature every Monday night, and sometimes, the first episode is younger than the second, with - for instance - the daughter being married already and then you watch the 2nd episode of the night and find her still studying, and two different Sergeants working alongside the Inspector.
Why do they do this?
To me, there is no reasonable explanation. Yes, of course each episode can be watched independently of any other episode; none of the story plots span more than one, it is mainly the frame of the Barnaby's home life that runs a thread through the entire series. So, nobody will sit in front of their telly unable to follow one episode because it is not aired in the order that it was intended to.
But WHY the disordered way of airing them?
I imagine the procedure of buying a series for a TV channel being a normal business process. Say, for instance, the people from ZDFneo decided to buy the first season of the series, air the first few episodes and look at the number of viewers before deciding whether to buy the next seasons or not.
So, in the normal course of events, they would buy Season 1, Episodes 1-20 (that is just an example, I don't know how many episodes there are to a season) and air S1-E1, S1-E2, S1-E3 and so on, to be followed by S2-E1 etc.
Is it too difficult to keep them in order? Can't they be bothered? Have they bought an episode here and there instead of a a full "package" of a season? Or is there a secret algorhythm behind it all? Am I the only one wondering about this?