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Lost seems to have an unequal number of episodes across its various seasons:

  • season 1 - 25 episodes
  • season 2 - 24 episodes
  • season 3 - 23 episodes
  • season 4 - 14 episodes
  • season 5 - 17 episodes
  • season 6 - 18 episodes.

Even Lost: Missing Pieces has 13 episodes.

Why did Lost always have an unequal number of episode among all of the seasons? I heard about a hiatus between the 3rd and 4th seasons but why does it happen with all the seasons?

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7  
Is this really unique to Lost? This seems to be the case with a number of shows. – Andrew Martin Feb 24 at 15:23
    
@AndrewMartin I have not seen this much of variation in other show i have followed. – Ankit Sharma Feb 24 at 15:38
    
There's no reason to presuppose that the story arc for every season will neatly fit into an exact number of episodes, particularly not one determined 5 seasons ago. Etc. – Matthew Read Feb 24 at 21:45
up vote 12 down vote accepted

Season 1 and 2 were supposed to have 24 episodes (the "normal" amount of episodes for a network show), but for season 1 the finale became a double-length episode.

With respect to season 3: they planned for 22 episodes, but the finale became a double-length episode. Wikipedia does note the remarkable broadcast schedule:

In response to fan complaints about scheduling in the previous seasons, ABC decided to air the episodes without reruns, albeit in two separate blocks. In the United States, the first block consisted of six episodes aired on Wednesdays at 9:00 pm and after a twelve week break, the season continued with the remaining 16 episodes at 10:00 pm.

With respect to season 4, Wikipedia says:

The season was originally planned to contain 16 episodes; eight were filmed before the start of the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike. Following the strike's resolution, it was announced that only five more episodes would be produced to complete the season; however, the season finale's script was so long that network executives approved the production of a 14th episode as part of a three-hour season finale split over two nights.

Season 5's 17 are due to the two "missing" episodes from season 4 being re-distributed to season 5 and season 6.

With respect to season 6, again quoting Wikipedia:

Beginning with the 2007–2008 television season, the final 48 episodes would have been aired as three seasons with 16 episodes each, with Lost concluding in its sixth season. Due to 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike, the fourth season featured 14 episodes, and season 5 had 17 episodes. Season six was planned to have 17 episodes, too. However, on June 29, 2009 it was announced that the final season would feature an additional hour, making the number of episodes 18.

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