With just five episodes, HBO's Chernobyl offered a relief from streaming bloat. Why has TV become so bloated? Blame the collapse of the movie industry, says Emily Todd VanDerWerff. "Today, the kinds of mid-budget movies that used to lure adults into the theater are increasingly consigned to streaming services and cable networks," says VanDerWerff. "And because the success of those services often depends on how much time they can get you to spend watching them, they stretch out too many of these stories like taffy if they can. This approach has essentially collapsed TV storytelling and film storytelling into one another, creating shows that are neither here nor there, trying to take three-hour stories and stretch them out over six hours, or eight, or 10...But the problem comes when you don’t shift your story to accommodate the fact that it’s now being told on television, which leads to lots and lots (and lots!) of series that clearly originated as two-to-three hour movies but were subsequently stretched out for no discernible reason. Too few of these projects think about the fundamentals of television. Too many simply try to tell one story over as long a period of time as possible."