10 Shows With 20-Minute Episodes (easy to binge)

Opposed to many opinions, there is not a lot of free time during this quarantine. There seems to be double the amount of academic work, struggles with mental issues after being cooped up for so long, and other struggles fighting with COVID-19. If you are lucky enough to spare some time to relax, here are some shows that you can watch that won’t take up much of your valuable time (be careful though, these shows with short episodes are easy to binge and you could get stuck).

  1. 1. American Housewife

    - 4 seasons, about 23 episodes each; ongoing, not renewed or cancelled

    - I watched all 4 seasons (85 episodes) of the sitcom during this quarantine just in time for the new episodes to drop.

    Starring actor Katy Mixon, known from Mike & Molly, this series is about the daily life of Katie Otto, a wife and mother of a larger body size, trying to live her life in a town of wealthy, pretentious, and thin housewives. She is married to Greg (played by Diedrich Bader), a history professor that is seemingly her opposite (think Chrissy Teigen and John Legend), but they make it work. She is the mother of three children: the oldest daughter Taylor (Meg Donnelly), who is athletic, headstrong, and not the brightest; Oliver (Daniel DiMaggio) who is ambitious, snarky, obsessed with money, and youngest Anna-Kat (Julia Butters) who is sweet, has OCD, and blatantly Katie’s favorite. Katie often goes to second breakfast with the only people in town she actually likes: her friends Angela, a black divorced lesbian laywer played by Carly Hughes, and Doris, a strict Asian mother played by Ali Wong.

  2. 2. Brooklyn 99

    - 7 seasons, about 22 episodes each; ongoing, renewed for season 8

    This is a comedy that takes place in a police precinct and follows a team of detectives. It stars Andy Sambeg as Jake Peralta, a talented yet immature NYPD detective. Peralta eventually falls for Amy Santiago (played by Melissa Fumero), his stern, no-nonsense partner. His best friend, Charles Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio), is awkward, a dork, and lowkey idolizes Jake. Let’s of course not forget about Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatrez), who is stroic, aggressive, screative, and overall scary. There is also a pair of older detectives Hitchcock (Dirk Blocker) and Scully (Joel McKinnon Miller) who seem incompetent, lazy, and motivated solely by food, but they have also sovled a mutltide of cases over the years. The detectives report to Lieutenant Terry Jeffords (Terry Crews) who is the prime example of a gentle giant. This team is headed by Raymond Holt (Andrew Braugher), an overly serious captain who has a bit of gay flare. The precinct also includes Gina Linetti (Chelsea Peretti), a sarcastic and egotistic administrator and Holt’s assistant.

     

  3. 3. The Middle

    - 9 seasons, about 24 episodes each; ended 2018

    This series is narrated by and features the life of Frankie Heck (Patricia Heaton). She is a struggling working mother of three and is married to Mike (Neil Flynn), who has a stoic personality and manages a quarry. Their children are Axl (Charlie McDermott), a popular, athletic, lazy, and dimwitted eldest son; Sue (Eden Sher), an enthusiastic but socially awkward daughter; and youngest son Brick (Atticus Shaffer) who is very intelligent but quirky and has many tics. As the matriarch of a lower-middle-class family, Frankie’s job is to get her family through the ups and downs of a day using her wit.

     

  4. 4. The Good Place

    - 4 seasons, about 13 episodes each; ended 2020

    This fantasy comedy is set in an afterlife where humans end up in the “Good Place” or “Bad Place” based on how many morality points they earned during their life on Earth. Those with highest scores are sent to the Good Place to enjoy eternal happiness in a heaven-like utopia where their every wish can be granted by asking an AI named Janet (D’Arcy Carden) who also doubles as their guide through the afterlife. Those who do not score enough points are sent to the bad place to be tortured for eternity. The series follows Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) who is welcomed into the Good Place by Michael (Ted Danson), the architect of the afterlife. However, she soon realizes that she has been mistakenly sent to the Good Place after the neighborhood erupts in chaos. She also discovers that Jason (Manny Jacinto), a sweet but dim-witted DJ from Florida and small-time criminal, has also been sent there by mistake. The two must hide their morally imperfect behavior and background. Eleanor’s assigned soulmate, Chidi (William Jackson Harper), is a moral philosopher and attempts to teach the two ethics in hopes of helping them become a better person so they can be in the Good Place for real. Jason’s assigned soulmate, Tahani (Jameela Jamil), is a wealthy socialite who  tries to help Michael deal with the disasters that ensue supposedly due to Eleanor and Jason’s presence. 

     

  5. 5. Fresh Off the Boat

    - 6 seasons, ranging from 13-24 episodes each; ended 2020

    - In 2015, it became the first network television sitcom in the United States that featured a family of Asian American as the main characters in 20 years.

    This series depicts the life of a Taiwanese-American family, the Huangs, in Florida in the 1990s. The family relocates from Chinatown in Washington, DC, to open a cowboy-themed steakhouse, Cattleman’s Ranch, in Orlando. The show stars Costance Wu as Jessica, a no-nonsense and very competitive lady who believes in tough love, often pushing her 3 sons and husband to be more successful. She is the prime example of a tiger mom. Her husband is Louis (Randall Park), who is kind, mild-mannered, and embraces all American customs, hence his desire to open a western steakhouse. Their children are oldest son Eddie (Hudson Yang), a rap and basketball fan who is rebellious and often the target of Jessica’s complaints;  Emery (Forrest Wheeler) who is very charismatic, mature, and good at academics and athletics; and Evan (Ian) who is sort of a mini Jessica and her favorite as he’s a star student and obedient. The family also lives with Jenny (Lucille Soon), Louis’ mother who speaks only in Mandarian even though she can clearly understand English. She typically just sits back and provides sarcastic commentary. Neighbors Honey and Marvin (Chelsey Crisp and Ray Wise) are Jessica and Louis’ best friends respectively. Honey is Marvin’s much younger blonde wife and is often intimidated by Jessica’s competitive and cut-throat nature. Marvin is a dentist who is very friendly with the Huang family.

  6. 6. Schooled

    - 2 seasons, 13 and 22 episodes respectively; not renewed or cancelled

    - This television series is a direct spin-off to The Goldberg.

    It follows the story of Lainey Lewis (AJ Michalka) who returned to Pennsylvania from the West Coast after failing to achieve her dream to become a rock ‘n roll star. Her high school alma mater, William Penn Academy, has recently lost its music teacher and fortunately has a job position open. She reluctantly accepts the job offer. Rick Mellor (Bryan Callen) was her gym teacher back when she went to school, and still works there. Except this time, they’re colleagues. John Glascott (Tim Meadows) is now the principal, and he tries to encourage Lainey in a job that she dislikes. While she tries to find her way in this new situation, she often butts heads with the only other young teacher, C.B. (Brett Dier). He is considered a “cool” teacher and tries to give Lainey advice. 

  7. 7. Young Sheldon

    - 2 seasons, 22 episodes each; ongoing, renewed for seasons 3 and 4

    - This comedy television series is a spin-off prequel to The Big Bang Theory. Jim Parsons, who is adult Sheldon Cooper on this show, is the narrator.

    The series stars Iain Armitage as young Sheldon Cooper (age 9), a child prodigy who is trying to fit into the world around him, often creating his own path and getting in trouble along the way. While academically gifted, he has trouble navigating social cues and has a sense of superiority over those around him. He lives in Texas and is attending high school already. His family and friends attempt to deal with his unique intellectual abilities and social difficulties. His mother, Mary Cooper (Zoe Perry), is very protective and patient with Sheldon, though she struggles to understand him sometimes. His father, Geroge Cooper (Lance Barber), is the head football coach at the high school. Even though he struggles to understand his intellectually gifted son, he is loving and on Sheldon’s side while also being his voice of reason. His older brother Georgie (Montana Jordan) hates Sheldon because he’s insecure with having a genius younger brother, so he never hesitates to bully him. Missy (Reagan Revord) is Sheldon’s twin sister. She teases him too, but still finds him to be a solid confidant. She doesn’t share his stellar intellect, but is still perceptive. Connie/ Meemaw (Annie Potts) is their grandmother and is most patient with Sheldon’s quirkiness. She often advises his mom to trust in Sheldon that he’ll find his path and be okay.

  8. 8. Superstore

    - 5 seasons, about 22 episodes each; ongoing, renewed for season 6

    This workplace comedy follows a group of employees working at the “Cloud 9” super-sized megastore. The unique family that consists of bright-eyed newcomers, experienced and battle-worn veterans, insensible temporary hires, and managers for life, work together to tackle the hustle and bustle of insane shoppers. The series focuses on Amy (America Ferrera), the store’s most dedicated employee and the only thing keeping the store together, and Johan (Ben Feldman) who is a new hire and a dreamer who is determined to prove that work can be enjoyable. Their co-workers include Dina (Lauren Ash) who is the aggressive and by-the-book assistant manager; Garrett (Colton Dunn), who is sardonic and in a wheelchair; Mateo (Nico Santos) is a gay Filipino who tries to keep it a secret that he’s an undocumented immigrant; Cheyenne (Nichole Bloom), a pregnant high school student; and Glenn Sturgis (Mark McKinney) who is a constantly positive and clueless manager.

  9. 9. AP Bio

    - 2 seasons, 13 episodes each; ongoing, renewed for season 3 

    Jack Carson Griffin (Glenn Howerton) was a Havard philosophy professor before he was disgracefully fired for causing a scene when he loses his dream job to his rival, Miles Leonard (Tom Bennett). After being fired, he is forced to take a job in Toledo, OH as an AP Biology teacher. Jack is a sardonic character and scornful of his current job. He makes it clear that he will not be teaching the class any biology, to the disdain of many high-achieving students. Instead, he will give them all A’s to be quiet, leave him alone, and not snitch on him. However, after he realizes that he has a room full of honor-roll students at his disposal, he decides to use them in his plots. His ultimate goal is being able to get revenge on Miles. Jack and his class full of minions, who reluctantly follow him due to fear of failing if they don’t comply, work under the nose of Pricipa Durbin (Patton Oswalt). Principal Durbin, a lonely middle aged man, struggles to assert his dominance over the school and tries to be buddies with Jack in attempts to keep him under control. 

  10. 10. Perfect Harmony

    - 1 season, 13 episodes; not renewed or cancelled

    This musical comedy television series stars Bradley Whitford as Dr. Arthur Cochran. Arthur was a once famous music director at Princeton before he got fired for throwing a desk at a student for not performing up to his standards. He goes to Conley Fork, KY to visit his dead wife in a church’s graveyard in her hometown. It just so happened that this church has a choir that he believes desperately needs help. He is blunt and ruthless in his attempts to better the choir through his unorthodox, yet very effective means (the same methods that got him discharged from Princeton). The lead vocal of the choir as a soprano is Ginny, who is played by Anna Camp from the renowned Pitch Perfect movies. Ginny is a single mother and waitress who is divorced from Wayne (Will Greenberg), a tenor who is very country. Together, they have a son named Cash (Spencer Allport), who Arthur discovers struggles with dyslexia. Adams (Tymberlee Hill) sings alto and is a local businesswoman; she also happens to manage the restaurant Ginny works at. Dwayne (Geno Segers) is Wayne’s best friend and a gentle giant who sings bass. Reverend Jax (Rizwan Manji) is a kind and non-confrontational missionary that runs the church they all sing for.