Will HBO Rushing The Young Pope hurt It?


That’s two episodes per week, try to keep up.

We’ve been waiting on The Young Pope since about October, when it first premiered in Europe. Thankfully the wait has been worth it, but HBO seems fairly keen on getting the season over with as soon as possible. Those that tuned in to the first episode on Sunday night may have understandably assumed that the next episode would be coming a week later, but that wasn’t the case. And it’s not going to be the case for the rest of the season.

Watch an inside look of the first two episodes:

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This is actually somewhat in line with how the series originally aired, though that involved two episodes per night. Instead, HBO is choosing to air The Young Pope every Sunday and Monday until it’s all wrapped up. Television in Europe, particularly the UK, frequently airs drama in the fashion. Seasons last only a few weeks, and episodes (or blocks of episodes) air for 1 to 2 hours. That’s not something that’s usually done here, and it could end up hurting the show’s ratings.

It could be said that the reason for this is to more closely match the original air dates, but there is a more likely reason – the winter season. HBO has a meaty slate of new shows coming, including Big Little Lies. Unlike The Young Pope, Big Little Lies is HBO’s; The Young Pope is a co-production in which HBO only holds a small part. It makes sense, then, for HBO to want to get through The Young Pope so it doesn’t interfere with Big Little Lies and other upcoming shows.

Next: Watch a preview for The Young's first season.

Monday isn’t exactly primetime for HBO, and the series will undoubtedly suffer for it. But as we’ve pointed out before, ratings, especially for this project, are not going to be so important on HBO’s end. Having more Pope action per week is not necessarily a bad thing, even if it is fairly unorthodox for a drama on the network. Just try to make sure to keep up.