A Million Little Things Creator Shares His Honest Feelings About The Final Season Getting Fewer Episodes

Regina and Rome in A Million Little Things Season 5
(Image credit: ABC)

A Million Little Things is finally returning to ABC with new episodes for the first time since Season 4 wrapped back in May with some bad news about Gary as he battles cancer yet again. The fifth season will also be the last, and run for only 13 episodes. While the end coming after far fewer episodes than usual is bad news for diehard fans of the show, creator DJ Nash opened up about the situation, and it turns out that his honest thoughts are optimistic!

Back when the news first broke that Season 5 would be the end, DJ Nash said that his goal was always to follow the core group of friends for five seasons. Now, ahead of the Season 5 premiere, he opened up to Give Me My Remote about the shortened episode count, saying: 

I’ll tell you, making 13 episodes is so much easier than making 20. I think about those streaming shows that do eight episodes a season? And we [did] two, sometimes almost three, times as many. So it’s so much easier. I think there’s a fatigue that sometimes sets in on a staff when you have to make 18 to 22 episodes, and we just never had that.

Since A Million Little Things isn’t a procedural show that can just throw in a handful of filler or completely standalone episodes per season, is it any surprise that the staff can feel a fatigue when the episode count gets into the high teens? That’s not to say that every episode has been intense from start to finish, but a series dealing with a lot of heavy issues (particularly the Sophie storyline) has to be serialized. And if the creator is optimistic about finishing the series in just 13 episodes and the fatigue "never" set in this time, I think fans can have faith that A Million Little Things can stick the landing by the end. 

As it turns out, DJ Nash and the writers had a lot of plans in place ahead of actually writing Season 5. He shared that the ultimate plan for the end has “been in the works since day one,” which helped to simplify the tasks ahead of them in figuring out what still needed to happen. The creator shared:

Coming into the season, I think we knew what eight of the episodes were going to be before we even got together as a writers’ room. So filling in the rest of the space was very, very simple. We have episodes that will highlight different actors in different episodes, but this season does go full circle about the guy who helps everyone get through it now needs their help. And [it’s] just everyone coming together for Gary.

Gary will probably need all the support he can get, now that he is battling cancer again after spending many episodes believing that he could move on from that part of his life. Not all of his moving on was particularly happy or healthy (such as when he snapped and attacked Peter for assaulting Sophie), but the big question now is: would A Million Little Things kill him off in its final season, when he’s on the verge of becoming a father due to Maggie’s pregnancy? Whatever happens, the Season 5 trailer suggests that fans should buckle up for an emotional ride:

While the show obviously hasn’t shied away from death going all the way back to the beginning, I’m hoping that A Million Little Things doesn’t go for a bookend by ending the series on a tragic note. The good news is that fans don’t have to wait any longer for the drama to return to primetime. The Season 5 premiere of A Million Little Things airs on Wednesday, February 8 at 10 p.m. ET on ABC in the 2023 TV premiere schedule.

Only time will tell if the fifth season crushes in delayed viewing as much as earlier seasons, and you can revisit those earlier seasons streaming with a Hulu subscription

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.