The Peak TV era has officially entered the Age of Quibi, bringing unto us “quick bites” of entertainment designed to be consumed, snacklike, on your mobile device. The irony of an on-the-go platform like Quibi debuting during a pandemic moment, when many viewers are not exactly hard up for free time in which to watch streaming content, phone-based or otherwise, is undeniable. But on the other hand, there is something to be said for the appeal of novel, even occasionally high-concept streaming content that goes down easy, allowing you to metabolize an entire series’ worth of narrative in roughly the same span of time as a single episode of an hourlong drama.
Launching today with 24 narrative and documentary shows that will continue releasing new episodes throughout the week, Quibi is coming out strong on the quantity front, but what of the quality? Sure, you could burn through all three premiere episodes of each of those shows in the span of one eye-straining day and determine that for yourself, but having watched all of said episodes, we at Vulture can confirm that would not be the most efficient use of your precious viewing time — and isn’t efficiency the very heart of the Quibi model? With that in mind, we’ve created our own easily digestible Quibi viewing guide comprised of “review morsels” of one sentence or less, broken down into qualitative tiers. Now go forth and Quibi.
Or at least watchable!
An impressively filmed feminist Wild Kingdom, Fierce Queens focuses on female animals and how they survive and conquer, with narration from Reese Witherspoon that makes living in an ant colony sound like Game of Thrones, which, honestly, it might be. —JC
Matt Rogers and Dave Mizzoni judge two straight men on who’s the gayest; I did chuckle. —KV
What could have been a self-serving series about LeBron James’s public elementary school for at-risk kids quickly turns into a compelling, often heartbreaking look at how hard it is to change the lives of children growing up in difficult circumstances. —JC
Will Arnett walks us through clips of pop-culture disasters from decades past, like Canada’s horrifying SkyDome opening celebration in 1989 and the movie Gymkata, and, if you haven’t guessed already, this is definitely my favorite show on Quibi. —JC
Very pretty drag performances helmed by Sasha Velour. —KV
Nicole Richie half-jokingly transforms into a musical artist making a trap album for “mostly moms and gays.” Possibly a masterwork? —KV
Lena Waithe makes an ideal guide to this exploration of the history and impact of sneaker culture, with episodes that focus on Air Jordans and Run-D.M.C.’s embrace of Adidas; young folks who may not remember the rise of kicks can learn a thing or two. —JC
Worth a Try
Maybe a little uneven? Maybe likely to appeal to a small group of people? We just aren’t sure yet.
This is basically Judge Judy, except Chrissy Teigen is the judge, her mom is the bailiff, and the cases are completely ridiculous. —JC
Tituss Burgess hosts this cooking-competition show in which entrées are blasted out of canons onto a pair of contestants who pick the ’sploded ingredients off of themselves, the floor and the walls, then try to make what they think they’ve just tasted; I kept thinking, Those people are definitely getting the ’rona, yet I was also oddly compelled? —JC
Will Forte and Kaitlin Olson play a clueless, narcissistic couple trying to launch its own house flipping show; the series has potential, though it’s already clear their characters might wear on viewers’ nerves. —JC
These mini-documentary portraits of young, up-and-coming athletes — like high-school basketball star Jalen Green, Olympic skier Red Gerard, and boxer Chantel Navarro — are well shot, but the stories don’t quite feel complete … then again, since they’re all just getting started, maybe that’s the point. —JC
A legitimately interesting documentary about a scandal-plagued young mayor of Fall River, Massachusetts, that manages to be interesting in spite of the Quibi formatting. —KV
A reboot of the old MTV dating show, but with a contemporary twist: All the potential matches are connected to the contestant via social media, and, yeah, I can definitely see people watching this on the subway, if we’re ever allowed to ride those again. —JC
Better Than Nothing
If there’s truly nothing else for you to watch, these are better than just stewing in your own thoughts.
This is supposed to explore the artists behind some of your favorite music, but the shorts come across like slickly produced sponsored ads. —JC
A “mentalist” named Lior performs mentalisms (?) on celebrities like Ben Stiller, which might be impressive but become significantly less so when they’re edited in a way that makes them extra fake. —KV
I never thought I’d say this about a drama whose episodes are less than ten minutes a pop, but Most Dangerous Game — which stars Liam Hemsworth as a husband and expectant dad whose cancer diagnosis prompts him to take an extreme risk — wastes too much time setting up its premise. —JC
If the Punk’d format ever worked for you, it was at least partly because of Ashton Kutcher’s personality as a host; sadly, Chance the Rapper brings very little in this department. —KV
Every moment seems like a parody of a highbrow foodie docuseries, but somehow it’s not a joke. —KV
Offset likes cars! —KV
Worse Than Nothing
If there’s truly nothing else for you to watch, maybe consider reading a book?
I didn’t think it was possible to get bored during five-minute episodes of a series that combines true crime with home renovation, but Murder House Flip proved me wrong. —JC
A street-dance-competition show with some entertaining figures and zero discernible structure, The Sauce is a reminder that the best way to experience the miracle of human physical art is in sliced-together edits on a very tiny screen. —KV
Sophie Turner stars as a suicidal young woman who can’t manage to kill herself because her plane crashes, and it’s honestly hard to say whether the irresponsible suicidal ideation or the “artsy” flashback editing is more upsetting. —KV
If you played any 30 seconds of this celebrity charity show and told me it was actually a commercial for a billion-dollar oil conglomerate masquerading as a nonprofit fund, I would believe you. —KV
Super-serious drama about a dead teen girl, made so poorly that I was occasionally envious of her. —KV