Just a few years ago, there was one aim for a TV series: to make it to the 100 episode mark, whereby you became most valuable for syndication, and sit back and watch the sweet Seinfeld/Dick Wolf dollars roll in. But the streaming era has changed things: a show can be any length (or have episodes of any length), with shorter seasons becoming more common — one of the things that’s led to the threat of the potentially imminent writer’s strike.
It also means that a show can wrap up after a year, two or three without it seeming like a failure — recently, a show like “Penny Dreadful” ended when it felt it had told a complete story, rather than stretching on into infinity, while Louis C.K. and Larry David put their series on indefinite hiatus until they have new ideas, rather than being compelled to produce new episodes every year. And the latest beneficiary of this flexibility looks to be Aziz Ansari, whose “Master Of None” is about to return for a second season (watch the trailer here), a second season that could prove to be the show’s last.
Ansari and Alan Yang’s comedy was an Emmy-winning hit for Netflix at the end of 2015, but has taken nearly 18 months to air its second episodes, which per a New York Magazine profile of the comic, looks to continue the show’s experimental freedom, while also telling the story of Dev (Ansari)’s life as a New York twentysomething. But Ansari warns that this could be the end for the show.
“I don’t know if we’re going to do a season three,” Ansari says. “I wouldn’t be surprised if I needed a looong break before I could come back to it. I’ve got to become a different guy before I write a third season, is my personal thought. I’ve got to get married or have a kid or something. I don’t have anything else to say about being a young guy being single in New York eating food around town all the time.”
It’s a definite mark of the times — had “Master Of None” been, say, an NBC comedy 10 years ago, Ansari would have been totally ignored if he’s told his network that he’d only do a third season when he was ready, and maybe never. That said, Ansari’s hardly ruling it out, just saying he wants to do the show again when it’s creatively best for him (and any writer knows that the anxiety of being out of ideas is a common one, but one that’s sometimes overcome). Either way, though, expect a significant wait before any third season, so savor “Master Of None” Season 2 when it hits a week on Friday, May 12th.