The streaming era introduced viewers to a serial format that defied tradition. The new Spanish series “The Time It Takes” plays in the traditional romantic drama format in two ways. The each episode is of only 11 minutes long, and each spends some time in the past and the rest in the present.
Is the format working or annoying?
The Time It Takes is a ten-episode 11-minute series exploring the nine-year relationship. Between Lina (Nadia de Santiago) and Nico (Alvaro Cervantes) and how Lina continues after their breakup. The time spent in the present and the past changes with each episode. As Lina is more in the present and less concerned about the past.
But in the first episode, the breakup was new and still challenging. Nico almost told Lina that he didn’t love her anymore. And asked her if she wanted to say that she had wasted the last nine years. Lina went back to the day they met. They both work at an island resort; she is a housekeeper on the night shift and gets up early to organize diving trips.
He asks for a cup of coffee and helps him clean the pool while they both discuss their life plans. On the way, he tries to understand why he never goes diving; her feeling was because she was afraid of “getting that damn wetsuit peed on someone”. As they spend the night together, eat cereal in the kitchen and generally get to know each other, they fall in love. As the sun rose over the sea, he put on his new wetsuit, and they kissed.
The Time It Takes (original titled to be: El Tiempo Que Te Doy) was created by Nadia de Santiago, Ines Pintor, Pablo Santridrian, and Pablo Fernandez and is more of a thought experiment than a drama with clearly defined characters through significant conflicts. He mainly works for as-is, which is more like a complex game for two because the main show is so engaging. But if you’re looking for a really romantic drama to treat your teeth, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
The series format defines the story:
If this is the case, it is especially character development that suffers. This is due to the limitations of the “X minutes in the past and X minutes in the present” format. And because the episodes themselves are now only 11 minutes long. There aren’t many opportunities to get to know characters when the scriptwriter falls within one but two major creative boundaries.
Again, not because de Santiago and Cervantes were unconvincing. Even in conflict, there is annoying chemistry between them that we don’t see when de Santiago is alone in the “current” part of the next episode. In these episodes, Lina talks to Nico’s boyfriend as she puts Nico’s things down or tries to “get back there” with a colleague but realizes she’s not ready.
Yes, we have the idea that Lina is rebuilding her life, and it hurts. And we understand that as the episode goes on, we’ll get a better idea of how their instant chemistry got so bad. But we also wanted the story to be played out more linearly, with more traditional episode durations – like 25-30 minutes – that allowed a bit more exploration of the two of them made to the relationship, ultimately helping that tore it to pieces.
Due to its “time-consuming” form, it feels more like a drama than a television series. But the hosts’ performances made it a delightful game. Just don’t expect anything profound or severe from the show.