Isn’t it ironic that while the WGA strike has put a stranglehold on fresh television episodes, a new Web TV series has launched that may be as good or better than anything (except “Pushing Daisies”) that we’ve seen this year on the standard tube?
The strike boils down to writers getting their just earnings from the Web, and some say that the strike might allow for some cosmic shifts in the TV universe. Like viewers moving away from their television sets to watch series produced, and shown, on the Internet.
Like “Quarterlife” by TV veterans Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick (“My So-Called Life,” “thirtysomething” ) about aspiring writer Dylan Krieger (Bitsie Tulloch, known to YouTubers as Alex from lonelygirl15), who vlogs her life, and the life of her twentysomething friends, for the entire world wide web to read.
Before we get too rah-rah-y over this being the death of television as we know it, we should mention that Variety has already reported that NBC might buy the whole dang thing – which means this may just be a clever way of getting a show backdoored.
And in fact, the eight-minute segments tantalize rather than satisfy. We’d like to see this series play as an hour drama, and apparently so would the producers, who have told anyone who would listen that they would prefer this series be shown on television.
And even for eight minutes, the look of the show is very much high quality network drama standard issue. They’ve even signed on Toyota as a sponsor, and the cast includes the Prius in a substantial co-starring role.
But if it is difficult to determine if a pilot will fly, it’s downright dangerous to watch eight minutes and determine it’s the next cool show. But since it comes from Herskovitz and Zwick, who have a proven track record for quality shows, we think it has more than a good shot at being better than most new fall shows.
The series centers on Dylan, her life at 25 not quite as she expected. As bloggers often do, she reveals a bit too much about herself and her friends, including sexy roommate Lisa (Maite Schwartz).
“When Lisa wlaks into a room, the gravitational field changes,” vlogs Dylan. “Did I mention she drinks more than she should?”
Not only drinks more, but as Dylan’s webcam shows, sleeps with inappropriate people.
Dylan’s own crush is Jed (Scott Michael Foster, “Greek”) who “is in love with his best friend’s girlfriend. What could be more unhappy than that?”
The problem with showing this on the Web is the quality, at least of the MySpace version. We’ll check out the quarterlife.com version on Monday. If you run it in a half-postcard frame, the picture is crisp and clear. Go for the full screen, and it’s out of focus. They’ll have to do better than this if they want to show high quality series on the Web.
The series was originally shopped in 2005 to ABC, which passed. Herskovitz and Zwick then revamped the series for the Internet. The series comes in 36 eight-minute webisodes airing today on MySpace, then shifting to quarterlife.com on Monday. Two webisodes air each week, on Sunday and Thursday on MySpace and the day after on quarterlife.com.