7 Binge-Worthy TV Shows You Can Watch In 30 Minutes Or Less

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You know what the real beauty of Friends is? Not the chemistry between six best pals. Not the vague relatability to the highs and lows of your own tragic life. Not Gunther, the true hero of the entire series. No. The best thing about Friends is that the episodes are super short.
We know, of course, that the length of a programme doesn't necessarily correlate to its quality – Friends remains one of the best loved sitcoms in the world. But since delving into Netflix territory and witnessing the entertainment world erupt with hour-long dramas, the type that require real commitment, the way we watch TV has transformed.
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We're constantly buried beneath an ever growing "must-watch" list that's dominated by meaty hour-long programmes. A quick mental scan of some of our favourite shows and we're looking at the 50+ minutes mark for each episode – that's a huge chunk of time to sacrifice whenever you commit to another series of Orange Is The New Black, Killing Eve, House of Cards, Little Drummer Girl (the list goes on).
Sometimes you want a show that you can finish in a weekend without feeling gross for not having left the house for two days. Sometimes you want to slip in a cheeky episode on a commute/in the bath/while you're waiting for your takeaway to be delivered. And sometimes you don't have the patience to sit through a whole hour of a new show just to figure out whether it's worth the investment. Oh, the stress. That's where 30-minute TV shows come in. Lucky for us, the streaming gods have provided a few gems this year that'll keep you just as entertained in half the time. Here are the ones we're whizzing through at the moment.
1 of 7

Homecoming



Heidi is a caseworker at a government facility that helps returning soldiers rejoin the civilian world. The legitimacy of the organisation and their intentions, however, aren't immediately clear.

Starring: Julia Roberts in her first small screen project

Episode length: 26-37 minutes

Binge-ability: The show is pretty unsettling. It's tense, mysterious and a little sinister, so for your own sanity (and, you know, it being a really interesting programme) the urge to keep watching is pretty high. Consider it a Black Mirror-type narrative chopped into 10 half-hour instalments.

Available on Amazon Video
2 of 7

Sorry For Your Loss



Leigh's husband passes away and her world is unsurprisingly turned upside down. Not only does she have to adjust to life as a 20-something widow, but she also has to navigate the strange world of grief – a world in which everyone suddenly treats you differently, whether you ask them to or not.

Starring: Elizabeth Olsen and Kelly Marie Tran

Episode length: 27-32 minutes

Binge-ability: It's heavy topic matter that sits pretty firmly on the emotional side. There are moments of lightness but after a few episodes you wouldn't be blamed for taking a break.

Available on Facebook Watch
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3 of 7

Fleabag



A crass, fiery, wildly witty young woman in London is struggling to deal with the death of her best friend. Bad sex, great sex and average sex all frame a hilarious narrative about feeling like you're muddling through life alone.

Starring: Phoebe Waller-Bridge (who later brought us Killing Eve)

Episode length: 23-26 minutes

Binge-ability: These episodes are so short but boy do they pack a punch. Enough of a punch to make you hit play on the next episode before the first credit has crossed the screen. You'll get through the entire first season a couple of times before season two lands next year without question.

Available on Amazon Video
4 of 7

The Good Place



Eleanor Shellstrop arrives in the afterlife and is surprised to find she's been sent to "The Good Place". It's not quite fluffy clouds and angels, but it tops the alternative by any means. Before long she realises she's been sent there by mistake (she didn't lead the most wholesome of lives before she died) and has to try and prove she belongs there.

Starring: Kristen Bell, Tiya Sircar, Jameela Jamil, Ted Danson

Episode length: 22-24 minutes

Binge-ability: An easy watch that's not dissimilar to how you might watch Friends. The fact that it's a comedy certainly helps but there are now three seasons to get through. You could probably do it all on a hangover Sunday if you committed to the cause.

Available on Netflix
5 of 7

Atypical



Sam is 18, in high school and on the autistic spectrum. The narrative follows his journey into adulthood – the search for love, independence and what society tends to define as "normality".

Starring: Brigette Lundy-Paine, Keir Gilchrist, Michael Rapaport and Jennifer Jason Leigh

Episode length: 29-38 minutes

Binge-ability: Another nice and easy watch for you. Humorous, emotional and pretty sincere. Not too much concentration necessary so could quite easily be one of those you accidentally finish in a day or two. If the laptop was out of reach and you were stuck making your way through the series, you wouldn't be mad about it.

Available on Netflix
6 of 7

Sally4Ever



Hands down the most gloriously filthy thing on TV right now. Sally, a slightly erratic singer/actress, becomes enamoured with Emma. Emma is bored of her lacklustre marriage and so goes along with Sally's propositions despite being far from compatible on paper. Calamity ensues, as does some very aggressive sex.

Starring: Julia Davis

Episode length: 29 -33 minutes

Binge-ability: It is wild, guys. Disgustingly, hilariously, questionably wild. You might question everything you thought you knew about yourself each time you cackle at another inappropriate joke, but you'll enjoy it harder. You'll get through it in a flash but perhaps not the one to squeeze into your morning commute.

Available on Now TV
7 of 7

Maniac



A strange but fascinating story about two strangers who meet at a mysterious pharmaceutical trial. Each of them has their own troubles in the outside world but they're lured into the trial under the promise that this new drug can supposedly "repair" the mind without any side-effects. We follow them through their three-day trial.

Starring: Emma Stone and Jonah Hill

Episode length: 26-47 minutes

Binge-ability: You'll be hooked by sheer fascination. Each episode takes you down very different avenues and though it might be hard to wrap your head around at first, you'll be invested in the Stone-Hill relationship from the off.

Available on Netflix
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