Network television is a self-cannibalizing entity. There is an almost uniform practice of airing 22-24 episodes of a show every year, regardless of how many good episodes the show’s structure can maintain. Being on a network inevitably hurts the quality of serialized dramas. It’s reasonable to argue that The Good Wife was just as good as Mad Men last year. It had just as many strong character moments and just as much satisfying plotting. It is a well-scripted and well-acted show. But Good Wife’s presence on network TV spreads the plot thinner and stretches out the time between its poignant moments. Entire episodes feel like a waste of time. It is just way harder to maintain a consistent level of quality over 23 episodes than it is over 13.