TV Time-Savers: 5 Mind-blowing Shows With Micro Episodes

Adam Fay,

In case you haven’t noticed, movies are getting longer and longer. Just last year we saw cinematic titles like Avatar: The Way of Water and the star-studded Babylon clocking in at over 3 hours. That’s a bum numbing runtime that have many asking the simple question, “Is it worth it?”

Over on TV, there are a number of incredible shows that manage to pack an intense amount of drama and intrigue into a fraction of this time.

Life is short. Time is precious. If you want to free up your life but still get some powerful entertainment to nourish your soul, maybe it’s time to skip the cinema and check out these 5 mind-blowing shows with micro episodes from the comfort of your couch at home.

Check out the video below for an overview of the shows. Then take a deeper dive into the list.

1. The Bear

The Stats:

  • 1 Season | 8 Episodes
  • 20-30min Average episode length
  • 3 hours 59 minutes to binge entire show

Why to Watch?

The Bear was one of the best reviewed shows in the past year and managed to pack in so much frenetic energy and drama into its short runtime, that you almost feel short of breath by its conclusion. A must watch, with Season 2 starting in June.

It tells the story of a young chef (Jeremy Allen White) from the fine dining world who comes home to Chicago to run his family sandwich shop after a sad death in his family.

What you could do instead:

In the same time it would take you to drive to the cinema, park your car, line up for popcorn and a choc-top, find a seat, then watch Avatar: The Way of Water, you could instead have stayed on your couch at home in your spaghetti-sauced stained pyjamas and watched the entire 1st season of The Bear…and still had time for toilet, nibble breaks and mindless phone scrolling.

Watch now on Disney+

2. BEEF

The Stats:

  • 1 Season | 10 Episodes
  • 30-35min Average episode length
  • 5 hours 48 minutes entire show

Why to Watch?

This rollercoaster ride of a show starts with a seemingly innocuous road rage incident between two rather short-tempered individuals (played by Ali Wong and Steven Yuen). The knock-on effect of which takes them both through an endless cavalcade of highs and lows.

One of the best reviewed and most watched Netflix series of 2023, Beef is a great water-cooler show that runs the gamut of emotions. There’s laughs, drama and action throughout.

What you could do instead:

In about the same time it would you take you to fly from Sydney to Perth, or Los Angeles to New York, you could have stayed home and watched Beef in its entirety….without any annoying crying kids sitting in the aisle across from you, bad tasting airplane food, or that guy directly in front who puts his seat all the way down from takeoff.

Watch Now on Netflix

3. Atlanta

The Stats:

  • 4 Seasons | 41 Episodes
  • 20-30min Average episode length
  • 18 hours 55 minutes to binge entire show

Why to Watch?

Earn (Donald Glover) works as a manager for his cousin Alfred (Brian Tyree Henry), an upcoming rapper, as they try to make a name for themselves in the music industry. Meanwhile, Earn also struggles with providing for his child and lover.

Throughout its 4 seasons, Atlanta shifts its mood, tone and story structure wildly. You are never quite sure what you are going to get from episode to episode, but you are never disappointed. It’s as imaginative as it is hilarious. This is one show that could never be accused of phoning it in.

What you could do instead:

In the time it would have taken you to drive from Melbourne to Brisbane, you could have instead chosen to stay in bed and complete the entire series of Atlanta with your laptop on your chest. No traffic, no speed limits, no tolls and no endless complaining from the backseat. Just you, your pillow and that box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates you forgot you had. Heaven.

Watch Now on SBS On Demand, Disney+ or the Fetch TV Store

4. Barry

The Stats:

  • 4 Seasons | 32 Episodes
  • 20-30min Average episode length
  • 15 hours 45 minutes to binge entire show

Why to Watch?

Bill Hader’s pet TV project starts as a dark comedy and slowly gets darker and darker throughout its 4 seasons. But with a strong supporting cast (lead by the likes of Henry Winkler and Stephen Root) it’s a journey you just have to take.

Barry, who kills to earn a living, discovers the joy of acting while he is looking for his target. Surprisingly, he loves it so much that he is ready to leave his old life behind.

What you could do instead:

In the same amount of time it would take you to finish all 4 seasons of Barry, you could cycle your bike from Sydney to Newcastle (approx 181 kms). A healthy option for sure, but it’s worth remembering that a 4 season Barry-binge is a lot less exhausting, requires no wearing of lycra (tho optional), and there is only a very minimal chance of uncomfortable chaffing.

Watch Now on the Fetch TV Store

5. Mr Inbetween

The Stats:

  • 3 Seasons | 26 Episodes
  • 20-25min Average episode length
  • 8 hours to binge entire show

Why to Watch?

One of the best and underrated Aussie shows of recent years, Mr Inbetween will have you hooked from the first episode. A tour de force for writer/actor Scott Ryan, it oscillates between some extremely dark themes, some pure slice-of-life Australiana, and some laugh out loud comedic situations that need to be seen to be believed.

It’s the story of Ray Shoesmith (Scott Ryan), an assassin by profession, who finds it difficult to juggle between various roles of a father, lover and a friend.

What you could do instead:

In the mere 8 hours it takes to finish the entire 3 seasons of Mr Inbetween, you could instead simply go to the office and spend that time doing your 9-5 job. Of course, we would never encourage you to take a sick day, spend your day on the couch with a tub of ice cream and 3 extra large packets of chips while watching this fantastic, one of a kind series instead (but we promise not to tell anyone if that’s what you happen to decide to do)

Watch Now in the Fetch TV Store

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