When Does the Time Skip Happen in the Show?

As a viewer, it’s common to get invested in a show and its characters. We follow their journeys, root for their success, and sometimes even feel like we’ve grown up with them. One of the ways shows keep things interesting is by incorporating a time skip. This is where the story leaps forward in time, sometimes by a few months or years, sometimes even decades. It can be a jarring experience for audiences, but it can also provide an opportunity for new storylines and character development. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at when time skips happen in shows.

The first thing to note is that time skips aren’t guaranteed to happen in all shows. Some stories benefit from a linear progression of time, while others are better suited for a leap forward. Typically, shows that last for multiple seasons and have multiple arcs are more likely to feature time skips. This is because the writers need to find ways to keep the story fresh and engaging for viewers.

The second thing to understand is that there is no universal “when” for a time skip. Some shows feature them in the middle of a season, while others save them for season finales or premieres. For instance, the hit drama series “This Is Us” uses time skips as a central part of its storytelling, bouncing back and forth between different points in the lives of the Pearson family members. Meanwhile, other shows may only use a single time skip as a way to advance the story at a critical moment.

Let’s take a look at some specific examples of when time skips happen in shows.

Season Finale / Premiere

One of the most common times for a time skip to occur is between seasons. This is a good way to keep the show fresh and give the writers a chance to explore new storylines. An example of this is the popular Netflix series “Stranger Things”. The end of season one saw a significant time skip of one year, which allowed the characters to grow and evolve in new ways. The same thing happened between seasons two and three, when the show jumped forward by several months.


Another time when a time skip can be effective is in the middle of a season. This is typically reserved for shows that have multiple story arcs within a season, and use the skip to transition from one arc to another. For example, “Grey’s Anatomy” famously used a time skip midway through its fifth season to allow for the exit of a major character and set up new storylines for the remaining characters.

Flash Forward

Another way that shows can incorporate a time skip is through a flash forward. This is where the audience sees a brief glimpse of the future, either through a dream sequence or a jump forward in time. This technique can be used to hint at what’s to come, or to create tension between what the characters want and what they ultimately achieve. One notable example of this is the sitcom “How I Met Your Mother”, which frequently used flash-forwards to show the future lives of its characters.


In conclusion, time skips are an effective way for shows to keep their storylines fresh and engaging for viewers. They can happen at any point in a show’s run, but tend to be more common in shows with multiple seasons and story arcs. Whether it’s a season finale, mid-season break, or flash-forward, these jumps in time can provide exciting new opportunities for character development and storyline progression. As viewers, we may initially be thrown off by the sudden change of pace, but ultimately we come to appreciate the way these jumps add depth and complexity to our favorite shows.

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