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From The Dropout to Inventing Anna to Pam & Tommy, too many recent limited series should've been made as two-hour movies

  • Thanks to the limited series, TV networks and streamers are taking advantage of the flexibility of having plenty of time, "stretching stories that would normally be a two-hour movie into bloated eight or 10 or 12-hour limited series," says Dave Nemetz. "Simply put: A lot of limited series these days are toooooo long." Nemetz adds: "Overextended limited series are practically an epidemic right now. True crime docudramas seem to be especially prone to this brand of bloat, with Netflix’s Inventing Anna, Apple TV+’s The Shrink Next Door and Hulu’s Pam & Tommy all testing our patience in recent months. The extra running time theoretically allows these shows to sharpen their focus on minor characters and deepen their storytelling. But too often, it just ends up having a numbing effect, with the shows repeating the same story beats over and over and taking pointless detours to kill time, wearing us out before we hit the finish line. So who’s to blame for this epidemic? The rapidly changing movie industry is one likely culprit: With studios primarily churning out big-budget superhero fare, the kind of mid-level prestige drama we used to see is now turning to the small screen. And since TV movies are nearly extinct, outside of HBO, the only choice is to fluff it up to a full-blown limited series, which means tripling or quadrupling the running time."

    TOPICS: Inventing Anna, The Dropout, Pam & Tommy, The Shrink Next Door, Peak TV, Prestige TV