Stranger Things Finale and TV Episodes Have Gotten Too Damn Long

Once upon a time, long ago, before the dawn of streaming forever altering television consumption, there was something called the ad break. During commercial breaks, whatever show you’re watching–American Idol or Dancing with the stars, maybe – will suddenly pause and you will be subject to a few minutes of commercials. To make time for these ads, no show is longer than 40 to 45 minutes. We don’t know how good we had it back then.

It’s a scientific fact that the perfect length for an episode of a TV show is around 45 minutes, which is why reality TV is the dominant genre.

I famously stopped see Game of Thrones, a series that is acclaimed and loved around the world, about Season 3 because I see episodes that can be interspersed. While I usually enjoyed the beginning of the adjustment, I was rarely in the mood to watch a full hour of Lily Allen’s brother being tortured.

However, nowadays, with the popularity of ad-free streaming platforms like Netflix and HBO Max, it has become the norm for TV series to be an hour or more in length. Thanks a lot, Ted Sarandos!

When practicing running time for Part 4 of Strange things was announced last month, critics and Twitter users alike were outraged. Each episode will be over an hour long. And if that’s not disturbing enough, the season finale kicks off around two and a half hours. Horrified! That is simply too much Strange things. It’s meoo many minutes in a row Watch teenagers with bad haircuts finish each other’s sentences.

In my humble opinion, most movies shouldn’t even be two and a half hours long, but that’s an article for another day.

I love Strange things, and I even like the new season. There are aspects of it that are really great, especially Sadie Sink and Millie Bobby Brown’s performance. The 80s nostalgia is still fun. Split floor house! Rolling field! A Spicoli-esque pizza delivery guy gets stoned forever! And the visual effects are awesome and spooky too, as they should consider each episode costing about $30 million normally to make.

Perhaps for the best, the release of new episodes has indirectly led to the world being blessed with a divine Winona Ryder. marketing campaign for Marc Jacobs, the very designer whose merchandise she has iconically shopped from Saks Fifth Avenue.

But at no point throughout the season the show makes the convincing case that its hyped new episodes are a needed improvement. It certainly never proves that the extra 20 minutes Steve whines about hanging out with the kids (you don’t yes big, dude!) was worth the personal cost of my boyfriend dozing off midway through each episode, annoyedly asking me to summarize what he missed the next day.

While if Part 4 of Strange things tighter and more focused, it will almost certainly be better for it. It jumps distractingly between subplots located in different geographical locations. There’s Dustin, Max and co. fighting Vecna ​​in Hawkins, Eleven and the Byers brothers in California, Hopper plotting an escape from a Russian prison camp, and Joyce and Murray in Alaska attempting to orchestrate Hopper’s rescue. In other words, it is too ambitious for its own sake.

Not just episodes of Strange things This season is exorbitantly longer, but has more series, released in two different “episodes”. The first seven episodes debuted during Memorial Day Weekend, and the final two will be announced in July. The reason for the split was not related to the art or the plot, but to the Duffer Brothers only unable to complete the program in time. Maybe – and I’m just kidding here – they would be able to meet the deadline if they made the episodes shorter.

Another recent show that could benefit from a major retouch is Invented AnnaShonda Rhimes’ adapted from the story of social networking site scammer Anna Delvey.

There are many things wrong with Invented Anna, received mediocre reviews. For example, the show’s writers seem to have an inexplicable relationship with one of Delvey’s real-life victims, Rachel Deloache Williams, whom they describe as an escalating social media joke. festival. It also focuses too much on Anna Chlumsky’s reporter character, committing the classic television crime of horribly misrepresenting the profession of journalism. Why, like, the other six New York Do magazine reporters have nothing to do but help Vivian with her Anna Delvey story?

However, the most serious is the running time of the episodes. Every Invented Annanine episodes of one hour or more in length. The two seasons are over 70 minutes long and the finale is 82 minutes which is completely gratuitous. If no good show should be longer than an hour, then 82 minutes of a bad show is borderline crime. Anyway, Julia Garner’s irreplaceable fake voice became a headache after half an hour. While many things about Invented Anna should have done differently to turn it into a more powerful series, going through the other cut room would be the simplest fix.

Happiness is another prestigious drama series with episodes that are too clunky, albeit for different reasons. When season two of the popular HBO show premiered earlier this year, fans and critics alike noted that the new episodes were better than anything in the first season, leaning heavily towards psychological terror.

Viewers will take to Twitter every Sunday to recount the visceral anxiety they felt while watching that week’s episode. Usually landing between 50 and 60 minutes, episodes in the second season of Happiness not as long as Strange things or Invented Anna. But with the teen drug drama dark nature does not stop, even 55 minutes start to feel like too.

In our present era of Too many TVsit’s almost like a new TV series with weekly episodes that air every week.

Last month, for example, HBO launched Stair, a true crime show based on the French documentary of the same name about the trial of Michael Peterson. Starring the brilliant Colin Firth and Toni Colette, Stair starts to be engaging, but starts to snag around episode five — and unnecessarily long runs may be to blame. Like, what’s the reason for the narrative to include so many scenes of Colin Firth on a bench in the prison yard?

FX’s Under the Banner of Heaven also suffer the same. Even the presence of cute Andrew Garfield isn’t enough to justify this week’s hour-and-a-half finale.

Now, there may be people out there who are inclined to point out that I regularly sit on the couch for three hours straight watching some episodes of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills in one row. I say, mind your own business, thank you very much! My point here is about pacing and storytelling, both of which are worked out time and time again by the editors at Bravo.

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