‘The Patient’: Viewers Are Underwhelmed by the Hulu Show’s Short Runtimes


  • Steve Carell’s new show, The Patient, just debuted on Hulu.
  • Viewers are feeling underwhelmed by The Patient‘s short runtimes.
  • Hulu is billing The Patient as a miniseries, so it will wrap its story in 10 episodes.
Steve Carell as Alan Strauss in Hulu's 'The Patient,' which has short runtimes. In the photo, he's wearing a white shirt and green cardigan and sitting in a chair. He's got gray hair, a gray beard, and glasses.
Steve Carell in ‘The Patient’ | Suzanne Tenner/FX

The Patient has finally landed on Hulu, and Steve Carell’s new FX show promises to take viewers on a wild ride — albeit a short one. The psychological thriller series dropped its first two episodes on Aug. 30, and both were under 30 minutes long. Needless to say, The Patient is likely to be a fast-paced adventure — and fans are feeling a little underwhelmed by its runtimes.

Steve Carell’s new show is fast-paced and thrilling

After the cancellation of Space Force, fans have been eager to see what Steve Carell does next — and his new FX show, The Patient, is off to a strong start.

Rarely do viewers see Carell take on a serious role, but that’s exactly what he’s tasked with in this Hulu series. Carell plays psychotherapist Alan Strauss, who finds himself abducted by one of his patients. The patient in question — Sam Fortner (Domhnall Gleeson) — is struggling with murderous compulsions. He wants treatment so he can control them. And he kidnaps Alan and holds him captive, hoping he’ll be able to help.

With no real choice in the matter, Alan provides Sam with therapy, even as he’s chained up in a house in the middle of the woods. Of course, there’s always the threat of Sam turning on him as well. In fact, there are many places this story could go. And that’s why fans of The Patient wish the Hulu series’ runtimes were a tad longer.

Fans are feeling underwhelmed by ‘The Patient’s runtimes

Although The Patient is off to a promising start on Hulu, viewers aren’t sure about its short runtimes. The first two chapters clocked in at 21 and 23 minutes, respectively. And even The Patient Episode 3 is listed as 24 minutes long. With that in mind, it seems the entire series will stick to this setup.

In a Reddit thread discussing The Patient premiere, many commenters questioned the Hulu show’s approach to the story. Although they understood why the creators might keep the episodes short, they found themselves wanting more.

“I’m loathing the 20-minute run time,” one Redditor wrote. “I get it’s meant to build tension but it’s ruining momentum for me so far. I guess we’ll see how it progresses.”

Another added, “I was instantly deflated when I saw the 1st episode was like 20 mins. I really do like the show, but I’ll just wait until all episodes are up.”

Other comments echoed those sentiments, with Redditors agreeing that they might binge the whole series at once. Of course, not all viewers disliked the shorter runtimes; a couple were on board with the idea.

“I actually kind of liked the short runtime,” one commenter admitted. “I think that a focused 22-minute drama actually has potential.”

Still, the majority of commenters seemed disappointed with how short The Patient will be. And with Hulu billing it as a miniseries, it’s unlikely the story will continue in another season.

Hulu is billing ‘The Patient’ as a miniseries

Regardless of its shorter runtimes, The Patient will have to wrap up Alan and Sam’s story by the end of its 10-episode run. Hulu currently has the show billed as a miniseries, so it likely won’t get the chance to continue its story in a second season.

That’s a shame, especially since there’s plenty to explore here. Not only could the main premise be dragged out further, but the show could easily delve into the psychology behind Sam’s compulsions. And while it may still do that, it’s hard to see how it can cover everything thoroughly in just 10 half-hour episodes.

Of course, we’ll have to wait until all 10 installments are out before making a final judgment. Perhaps The Patient will prove concerned viewers wrong. Here’s to hoping.

New episodes of The Patient debut every Tuesday on Hulu.

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