Blame multitasking, blame the age of smartphones, blame the snackable content we're bombarded with daily – we all apparently now have attention spans shorter than that of the average goldfish.

This is probably why, when I sit down to watch a bit of TV at the end of a long day, I've been known to immediately discard anything with a running time of more than 30 minutes. But thankfully there are still plenty of options for short, mindless entertainment when you just don't have the energy to absorb much else.

So, if you're sitting bored in a waiting room, or – like me – have the attention span of a gnat, here are some choice morsels to enjoy one small nibble at a time.

Catastrophe (Neon)

Created by its two lead actors, Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney, Catastrophe is a masterclass in sardonic wit.


Centred on a couple whose relationship moves rapidly from a one night stand to marriage and kids territory, Horgan and Delaney's show is darkly funny, endearing and awkward all at once. The supporting cast, including the late, great Carrie Fisher, is also delightfully bonkers.

At around 23 minutes per episode (and only six episodes per season), it's a quick show to savour – and one I actually wished was a bit longer. Which is why my sarcastic little heart is skipping at the rumours the upcoming fourth season might stretch to 10 episodes.

Poker Face (TVNZ OnDemand)

Matilda Rice in Poker Face.
Matilda Rice in Poker Face.

TVNZ OnDemand is a veritable treasure trove of shows with short episodes, including relative newcomer Poker Face, which sees Kiwi comedians pitted against local celebs.

Over the course of three rounds, each comedian does their best to make their celebrity foe crack a smile. If the celeb manages to keep a stony profile, they win money for their chosen charity – but if they let even the tiniest giggle escape, the cash is given to the comedian's charity instead.

At around four to five minutes per episode, Poker Face is the quickest of guilty pleasures. Not every episode is a winner, but there are some real gems in there. And, among other things, I've learned Matilda Rice will laugh at pretty much anything and that Grace Palmer should be a comedian herself.

The End of the F***ing World (Netflix)

The End of the F**king World screens on Netflix.
The End of the F**king World screens on Netflix.

Soon after this British show's international release on Netflix this year, it was proclaimed to be the streaming service's best series thus far.

That might be a big call, but The End of the F***ing World is certainly unlike many of the other teenage love stories out there.

Following the road-trip misadventures of self-diagnosed psychopath James, and Alyssa, the girl he's planning to murder, I found this series of 20-minute episodes an unsettling watch (although frankly I'd be worried if you didn't find it a bit disturbing). Thankfully, the characters morph into so much more than just angsty (and murderous) teens, making for a very bingeable watch (if your short attention span allows for such things).


Subject: Dad (ThreeNow)

Josh Thomson and his father David star in series Subject: Dad.
Josh Thomson and his father David star in series Subject: Dad.

If you missed comedian Josh Thomson's affectionate ode to his dad's emails when it screened on Three earlier this year, do yourself a favour and catch up on it now.

Broken up into seven-minute vignettes online, each episode sees Thomson reading and dissecting one of his father David's emails alongside comedian buddies such as Jeremy Corbett, Dai Henwood and Urzila Carlson.

As Thomson dryly goes through the emails, then cackles with laughter, his father re-enacts the scenes back at his Timaru farm. My personal favourite is the story about a homemade cannon his dad plans to use to fire fishing bait out to sea (if it doesn't kill the neighbour's horses during testing first).

It is hilarious and endearing and easily one of my favourite shows of the year so far. Watch it. Now.

Friday Night Bites (TVNZ OnDemand)

 Ally Xue, JJ Fong and Perlina Lau star in Friday Night Bites.
Ally Xue, JJ Fong and Perlina Lau star in Friday Night Bites.

Another of TVNZ OnDemand's snackable offerings, Friday Night Bites' entire second season is now online to enjoy.

Based on the Friday night adventures of three Kiwi-Asian flatmates, the series is subversive, sweary, random and funny – so much so that I'm looking forward to now going back and devouring their first season.

And at approximately five minutes per episode, the entire season can be polished off in one evening – meaning my Friday night is now sorted, too.