Our attention spans are like the pop music scene—not what they used to be. While it’s not unusual to sit through hour-long episodes of your favourite TV shows in one go, how many times have you found yourself mindlessly scrolling through Instagram while the show is running? Thankfully there are many brilliant shows that have episodes running for half-hour or less, so that you can breeze through them without reaching for your phone. From animated anthologies to funny sitcoms, here are some of the best TV shows that have less than half-hour long episodes that you can stream online.Love Death Robots (2019)
This animated anthology from Netflix has alien robots, a sentient yoghurt, and civilisations that reside in refrigerators. The NSFW series has been created by Tim Miller and Academy Award nominated director David Fincher, and has about 18 standalone episodes that clock under 20 minutes each and span over several different genres like science fiction, horror, fantasy, and comedy. Each episode is done in a different animation style, reportedly by different animation crews from across the world.
Streaming on NetflixPushpavalli (2017)
Another off-kilter comedy, Amazon Prime Video’s original web series Pushpavalli is stand-up comedian Sumukhi Suresh’s brain child. The story follows the life of the titular Pushpavalli (Sumukhi Suresh), who falls in love with a man she meets at a food convention. Unable to get him out of her mind, she follows him to Bengaluru and starts stalking him to get close to him. Things, obviously, get messy for Pushpavalli fast. Both the seasons of the show contains eight, nearly half-hour long, episodes that you can breeze through easily.
Streaming on Amazon Prime VideoIt’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005)
With the show being renewed for a fifteenth season in May 2020, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has become the longest-running live-action comedy series in American television history. It follows the misadventures of a group of five misfit underachievers who co-own an Irish bar and are always up to no good. There’s the twins Dennis (Glenn Howerton) and Dee (Kaitlin Olson), their friends Charlie (Charlie Day), Mac (Rob McElhenney), and Frank (Danny Devito), who joined the group after the first season. Each under-half hour episode revolves around some elaborate scheme that one of the group members has hatched and has somehow backfired spectacularly.
Streaming on Disney+ HotstarPanchayat (2020)
Each half-hour long episode of this eight part web series by TVF is a hilarious gem. The premise of the show is that an engineering graduate (Jitendra Kumar) has to reluctantly take up the job of a secretary in the panchayat office in a remote village in Uttar Pradesh, after facing a lack of any decent job opportunities. The always reliable Neena Gupta and Raghubir Yadav star in supporting roles, along with an ensemble cast of characters that are intensely enjoyable to watch.
Streaming on Amazon Prime VideoRussian Doll (2019)
Orange is the New Black’s Natasha Lyonne stars in this comedy-drama series about a troubled young woman who gets caught in a mysterious loop as she continues to live the same day over and over again, dying a painful death at the end of the night each time. Her efforts to make sense of her extraordinary situation remain fruitless until she meets another person (Charlie Barnett) stuck in the same loop as her. The show has been created by Natasha Lyonne, Leslie Headland, and Amy Poehler, and has been renewed for another season.
Streaming on NetflixBarry (2018)
SNL alum Bill Hader has produced, directed, and starred in HBO’s dark comedy Barry. Protagonist Barry Berkman kills people to earn a living. On a fated trip to Los Angeles, he finds himself in an acting class. Soon he starts realising that he has a passion for acting and wants to leave his past life as a hitman behind. But things generally don’t go that smoothly in TV universe now, do they? The show’s expert handling of issues like PTSD, death, and depression has garnered critical and fan acclaim ever since its premier and has won several Primetime Emmy Awards for the performances.
Streaming on Disney+ HotstarNever Have I Ever (2020)
Mindy Kaling’s coming of age comedy-drama for Netflix has been lauded for breaking Asian stereotypes and is considered an important landmark for South Asian representation in American TV and cinema. The story revolves around Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), a 15-year-old girl from California and her journey of dealing with grief of losing her father, her Indian identity, and social status in high school. It also stars Poorna Jagannathan, and Sendhil Ramamurthy.
Streaming on NetflixRun (2020)
Merritt Wever and Domhnall Gleeson star in this dark comedy-thriller about a pair of former lovers who plan to run away together. Wever plays Ruby, a married mother of two, who walks out of her ordinary life in a bid to feel something. Gleeson plays Billy, a self-help guru, who is also constantly looking for something more from his life. The show has been created by Vicky Jones, who directed the stage-version of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s one-woman show Fleabag. Waller-Bridge also serves as an executive producer on the series.
Streaming on Disney+ HotstarUpload (2020)
This futuristic satire, about life after death, has been created by Greg Daniels, the creator of Parks and Recreation and the American version of The Office. Nathan (Robbie Amell) is a computer programmer in 2033 who dies after his self-driving car unexpectedly malfunctions. In this version of our future, people can ‘upload’ themselves into a ‘digital afterlife’ of their choosing. Because of his affluent girlfriend, Nathan finds himself in the luxury afterlife Lakeview, which comes with many perks including a living customer service rep, or ‘Angel’. Nathan’s Angel is Nora (Andy Allo), who is dealing with demons of her own. Slowly they start growing closer and soon develop feelings for each other.
Streaming on Amazon Prime VideoAlso read:
10 multi-season shows on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ Hotstar that will keep you hooked for days
8 shows you can finish watching in less than 8 hours on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney + Hotstar
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