After numerous trailers and press releases that breathlessly announced the latest outlandish premise for a show, Quibi has finally launched with a full lineup of “quick bites.” (Yes, that’s what Quibi is short for.) Quibi creator Jeffrey Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman envisioned a different kind of pivot to video, cutting down episode runtimes so they could be consumed while running errands or after finding a moment’s peace. For Quibi, the second screen is the only screen, as scripted shows have been optimized for your phone, not your laptop or TV. Their plan was to take up less space in a crowded streaming landscape—instead of taking four to 13 hours to finish a new season, you could wander down the Memory Hole or learn what the Most Dangerous Game is in under two hours.
Of course, this was before a pandemic drove us all indoors: Now Quibi and its compact offerings are essentially on the same playing field as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Video, Apple TV+, and fellow purveyors of short-form video YouTube and TikTok. The launch slate for this upstart startup is quite diverse, including unscripted series (game shows, dating shows), documentaries, and scripted series confoundingly branded “Movies In Chapters”—programming that boasts marquee creators including Chrissy Teigen, LeBron James, Jennifer Lopez, and Lena Waithe. The A.V. Club staff logged a lot of screen time on their smartphones to review all the non-daily news shows Quibi offers at launch, and narrow down what’s worth your increasingly abundant free time (look for this icon 📱 for your best options).