Originally Posted by rsambuca
Would a show such as this ever intentionally film the episodes out of order, or is that pretty much all due to network interference?
Nine times out of ten, it's a network thing. But, sometimes shows do shoot out of the order they will air. Sometimes due to actor or director availability. Sometimes it is because the show needs to use a particular location that isn't available, or a set that has to be specially constructed and they need more time to build it. Sometimes it is because a certain script will have an unusual number of visual effects that will need extra time in post-production. Sometimes it is because a particular script is just overall not producible and needs a rewrite, but the next episode is ready to go so they shoot that first. By not producible, I mean either that the budget is too high, the script is too complicated to film in the required number of days, or would require too much location shooting, or the cast schedules conflict. So the writers need time to change the script and maybe write some of the conflicting actors out of that episode.
For example, in the case of another Fox show this year, Touch' , both things happened. A few episodes were filmed out of order due to production necessities (like Kiefer doing a press tour), and the network switched the order around because they thought the audience would respond better. The network thinking was that that the pilot had HUGE scope. Lots of location work, tons of visual effects, giant complicated storyline, etc. But in general, the show couldn't afford to do that on a weekly basis, so the subsequent scripts were pared down significantly. Fox decided to change the order the episodes to air the episodes with the most scope' first. That way, there wasn't such a huge difference between the pilot, and the later episodes which had smaller, less complicated storylines.
On a serialized show like Touch, of course, this means that there were lots of reediting, reshooting, moving scenes around between episodes at the last minute, and visual effects to fix continuity, so that the storyline still made sense. I don't think the end result hurt the show as much as Firefly, for example, but it still suffered, in my opinion.