TV time trips: From a one-hour “Office” to a five-minute “Angels”

As the old saw goes, less is more. Or maybe more is more. As usual, it depends whom you ask — in this case, NBC or Sony. NBC is considering making The Office a one-hour show, while Sony is planning to offer five-minute versions of shows like Charlie’s Angels and Starsky and Hutch.

I feel very conflicted about NBC’s one-hour Office idea. I often feel slightly dissatisfied at the end of an episode of The Office; I definitely want more. But I worry that twice as much time will make the writers sloppy. Sometimes the episodes become twisted little parables — if you were to untwist them to make them stretch into an hour, wouldn’t they lose something?

But I’m not even a little bit conflicted about Sony’s “minisodes” idea.

As Steve Mosko, the president of Sony Television, described it, “So in ‘Charlie Angels,’ they have a meeting, Charlie’s on the intercom telling them what the assignment is, there’s a couple of fights, and then a chase, and they catch the bad guy. Then they’re back home wrapping it up.”

Ugh. I know that older shows often feel "slow" compared to current fare, but that’s part of their appeal. I want to see Jaclyn Smith run for several minutes, hopping from one nondescript boat to the next, seemingly in a different time zone than the crook she’s chasing. I don’t need every minute of every show to be a plot point or an action sequence. That just sounds exhausting.

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