The good thing if brief twice good. And also on television. In an era in which the number of series produced is increasingly unmanageable, the available time of the viewer (and his patience) is decreasing. When choosing which series to watch, it is not uncommon for a factor that is taken into account is the time available. It is not easy to find an hour and a half to devote to The Romanoffs (and even less if you find a soporific disaster as some of the last episodes issued, but we'll talk about this another day …). Sometimes, less is more.
Two recently released titles show that the 30-minute format can also work in television dramas. In fact, it is appreciated. The most recent is Homecoming, with Julia Roberts as star protagonist on Amazon Prime Video. With rhythm of thriller paused and hitchcocknian airs, the series shows the effort of Sam Esmail (creator of Mr. Robot) for giving his creations a stylistic and visual personality. Based on a podcast fiction of the same title, the narrative is told in two parts: the past, which is developed while a government agency is underway that helps the US military reincorporate into civilian life, and the present, in which the psychologist who she interprets Julia Roberts has totally changed her life and is interrogated by a worker of the Department of Defense for her past and her relationship with one of her patients. In this last timeline, the format of the image changes from the panoramic to a square one.
The fact that its chapters do not exceed 30 minutes does not let the viewer know what the thing is going until he has not seen two or three episodes. But once entered into flour, when you begin to suspect that something strange has happened and the key is precisely to discover what has been, the reduced duration of the deliveries makes it possible to consume lightly while the action is gaining speed. The story told in the 10 episodes that make up its first season – a second one has already been confirmed – did not need more time, and the duration of the series becomes an asset along with the solvent interpretations, the flat care marks of the house of Esmail and the soundtrack, with compositions of cinema classics of the seventies.
Facebook Watch released its first powerful series in September, Sorry for your loss, that he presented at the Toronto festival and has Elizabeth Olsen as the protagonist. And also bet by chapters of 30 minutes. This intense drama follows the grieving process of a young woman (Olsen) after the recent death of her husband. On the way she will discover that perhaps she did not know him as well as she thought while the rest of the world tries to convince her that she is ready to move on with her life.
In this case, it makes double sense that the episodes are of a shorter duration than usual. On the one hand, there is the fact that Facebook is the platform that produces the series and where it will be consumed, possibly on the computer or on mobile devices. On the other, the high emotional and dramatic burden of the story, which delves into issues as hard as the process of grief and depression, is better digested in small doses. The result is a good story, treated with care (at the end of some episodes a warning is included with information for those suffering from depression) and that generates interesting reactions and conversations in the thread of each chapter. Because Facebook is a social network and with its series it also seeks to generate conversation among its users. [Un apunte: para encontrar la serie solo hay que entrar en Facebook y buscarla en su buscador. En la página de la serie están todos sus capítulos, en inglés con subtítulos en varios idiomas, español incluido].
Homecoming Y Sorry for your loss are added to other dramas that were already developed in chapters of half an hour as the highly recommended In Treatment, the great first season of The Girlfriend Experience (the second one lowered the level) or the too irregular Room 104 (which has recently returned with a second season), in addition to dramedies like Transparent or Atlanta. The dramas of 30 minutes are possible and can be very good. In addition, the addicted to the series we thank you eternally that they exist.