Yes, Sister Beatrice aka (filling a Willow-esque role, except she’s kinda cooler) was definitely key to making that very short transition remotely believable. All of the sisters were pretty awesome by like episode 5-6. Also the lack of fighting was made more frustrating by the final smackdown which was extremely badass and showed all of them with cool skills (even the little one who wasn’t very important and whose name I forget, did awesome crossbow stuff, proving that forgetting your quiver and only bringing one bolt is not an insurmountable obstacle). If it was on Buffy it would have been like in the top 5 fights ever.
The Marvel shows are interesting because they did drag and take too long to get going, almost universally, and would pretty much all (maybe not the last season of Daredevil or the first season of Jessica Jones) would have been better off with 6 episodes instead of 10. I don’t know exactly what the problem was, but normally if you can do a story in 6 episodes (and you could) but you have 10, you either do two stories, or you really explore the characters and world. But they didn’t do that much. Flashbacks aren’t that, they’re something else, and often feel really like wheel-spinning, rather than being entertaining. I remember Ironfist in S2 (I think) had one remarkable “dinner party” episode where they actually did do that, and I really liked it (it was let down a bit by the writing, and the wooden lead, but everyone else was good). But they did a lot of what felt like genuine “filler” episodes, where a thing happened that just served to stymie or reverse the plot temporarily, and maybe there was some entertaining fisticuffs (or not), but it was mostly just wheel-spinning.
10 episodes is probably partly due to binge-ing, but I think it’s also due to budget. The budget on a lot of Netflix and Prime originals is clearly FUCKING STAGGERING, like “is this is a movie!?”-type budgets. Like Cursed, for example, isn’t a perfect show but good god have they clearly spent a lot of money on it (and it’s filmed in England and Wales). And even stuff like the Marvel shows had absolutely shit-tons of location-shooting in NYC, which is eye-wateringly expensive. Hell even Warrior Nun which presumably got EU/Spanish tax breaks and stuff has so much location shooting, and a lot of expensive-looking sets that it must not have been cheap. Plus all have expensive cinematography/post-processing and lighting and so on (you can see the difference compared to a lot of network shows or BBC shows or the like).
If you tried to do 22+ episodes on the same budget, you’d probably end up looking downright cheap. And given things like Altered Carbon S1 had a budget of $150m (!!!) I don’t think Netflix would spring for double-budget (I strongly suspect S2 had less than half the budget, given the massive and clumsy re-use of sets, generally cheaper look, lower-grade talent apart from the leads, and so on, though maybe the location shooting was more expensive than I thought).
And I would guess 22 episodes series are no more likely to make someone sign up for or stay signed up to Netflix than 10 episode ones.
It’s a pity though. I’d love to just more variance. Dead to Me worked really well with 10 30 minute episodes, I notice (haven’t watched S2 yet).
I finally watched the first four episodes of The Mandalorian. It’s… less exciting than I was expecting. The music is decent. The visual design is generally excellent. The cinematography is great, but… mostly it just feels like a live-action Dave Filoni cartoon. Which, given he’s involved, probably shouldn’t surprise me, but… it does. Not in a good way, either. But the plots are very simple and not terribly compelling (which is a downgrade from a lot of Clone Wars/Rebels), there’s often a lack of nuance and some of it just isn’t very believeable even by SW standards (which is somehow more forgivable in a cartoon). There’s an over-reliance on catchphrases/sayings, too. And they’re not good sayings. Carl Weathers did give a shockingly good performance though, I didn’t know he had it in him, and it never not be funny to see Werner Herzog in Star Wars. It’s like having David Lynch appear in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit or something. Plus even I am not immune to the plastic charms of Baby Yoda. How can something so obviously made of rubber and plastic be so cute?
I guess you could sum it up as “It acts like it’s For a Fistful of Dollars, but it’s actually The Lone Ranger”. It’s not bad, it’s just a bit meh.
Also like it’s super-annoying that you can’t just go to the next episode, you have to either sit through literally five minutes of credits, or fiddle around with Disney+ to get to the next one (it’s like ten clicks). I know they were trying to avoid over-binge-in but good god.