"It probably hasn’t escaped your notice that television episodes are getting longer," says Sophie Gilbert. She points out that the best shows this year -- from Chernobyl to Fleabag -- are the ones that have embraced restraint by not exceeding six hours in length. They are in sharp contract to the "flabby" 10-episode Twilight Zone and the "plotting" 13-episode third season of The Handmaid's Tale. "The phenomenon of stretched-out television is frustrating because, among other things, it isn’t necessary," says Gilbert. "It’s cheaper to make shows with fewer episodes, and it doesn’t mean viewers will enjoy them any less." She adds: "Netflix’s Russian Doll; Amazon’s Fleabag, Homecoming, and Catastrophe; Hulu’s PEN15 and Shrill; IFC’s Documentary Now!; and FX’s Better Things all craft entire seasons that can be watched in less than six hours. The stories they tell are not only ambitious and evocative, but also concisely rendered. The first episode of Season 2 of Fleabag functions as a one-act play on its own, as does the Marina Abramović pastiche in Documentary Now! starring Cate Blanchett. They’re carefully structured and intentionally taut. And they reward viewers who enjoy engaging mindfully with shows, rather than listening to them with one ear while idly scrolling through Instagram."