From ‘Homecoming’ to ‘Maniac,’ 30-Minute Episodes Solve TV’s Pacing Problem

  • Indiewire
From ‘Homecoming’ to ‘Maniac,’ 30-Minute Episodes Solve TV’s Pacing Problem
When Julia Roberts heard “Homecoming” director Sam Esmail wanted episodes of the Amazon drama to be a half-hour long, she was against it. “I’m just a product of mediocrity, and so to me, drama is an hour,” she said to IndieWire. “Only teenagers can get drama done in 30 minutes. I was like, ‘What are you talking about? We’re tall. We need an hour.'”

The results, however, turned around Roberts on the issue. “It’s just brilliant,” she said. “I love it so much because, I mean, as an audience member, it just leaves you like, ‘Wait, it’s over?’ That’s how I feel every time.”

Once upon a time, there was no question of how long a TV episode of television “should be;” it was, “must be.” Network television had a schedule to keep and commercials to air, which meant that “Cheers” delivered 24-minute episodes; “E.
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