This is honestly something I’ve been feeling with contemporary TV for several years at this point (and not just television, but video games and comic books as well). Netflix in particular is masterful in taking eight episodes to tell one episode’s worth of story.
Have you watched Netflix’s Sandman? Every episode feels like it’s own thing, but part of the larger whole. I was really impressed with just home much of the original story they were able to get in there, I felt for sure some stuff would have been left out, but nope. Pretty much every plot point from the books is there, even if it’s truncated a little. It’s actually really impressive.
Modern superhero shows for instance, want to spend an entire 24-episode season on a single plot.
I do wonder if the whole decompressed storytelling thing is very much an American thing as series from other countries don’t seem to do it as much. I do think the 24 episode format is a big reason as there is so much time to fill they have to stretch things out. Most UK shows are much shorter at 8-12 episodes, similar to many AU and Asian shows. Look at The Boys, Squid Game or (post-Chibnall) Doctor Who. All short-ish seasons, each episode packed with stuff that really pushes the stories along but still can be watched (mostly) on its own merit. In regards to superhero shows specifically, I think the Disney stuff has been really good in this regard with the possible exception of Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
In the comic book world this is called “writing for the trade.” As of the late 00s, it became common practice to use five or six issues to tell a story which would have previously been a one-and-done.
Oh man, did you read Bendis’ Ultimate Spider-Man when it game out? That bloke perfected the written-for-the-trade method. Didn’t help that every conversation went something like
“Oh, hey, yeah. So, like, this thing, like, happened, and it was, you know, a thing.”
“Yeah, I saw that thing. It certainly was thing. At first I didn’t think it was a thing, but the it turns out it was a thing. I even said, like, to my, like, friend, like ‘is that a thing?’ and there were, like, ‘yeah, I’m pretty sure that is, you know, a thing.’” SO frustrating.
(Having said that, I do own all the US-M trades and think it’s a great series, but it definitely reads better collected. Also, since leaving Australia for the UK I’ve gone 100% trade. Just easier.)
I’ve not watched any of the Star Wars shows as it’s not my thing but I have heard they are good. However, what you describe there is what pretty much every episode of the Doctor Who revival has done and I’ve loved it. When the show didn’t do that (first Chibnall season) I, and many others, found it incredibly boring.