Despite low ratings and really terrible episodes, Heroes is returning for a fourth season.
According to trade magazine Advertising Age, however, NBC might run just 18 to 20 episodes" for 2009-2010. The publication also says the network is contemplating running the season in one long block, such as Fox does with 24.
Both changes would definitely alter the series. There were 23 episodes during the first season of Heroes; while this season, which concludes Monday, has featured 25 installments.
Moreover, viewers have endured lengthy breaks, mid-season, over the last couple years. There was a seven-week hiatus, for instance, between the two volumes of the third season.
Might a reduced number of episodes help Heroes? Yes. Might improved storylines and a logical narrative arc help even more? Yes.