When the show is actually better online…

March 2, 2008 at 2:50 pm Leave a comment

quarterlife, a series developed for the internet generation, recently had its network broadcast premiere last week on NBC. I knew about the show when it first launched on Myspace, but avoided it, primarily because I wanted to do a serialized show that would broadcast online (although instead of quarterlife‘s 7-10 minute runtime, I wanted 20-30 minutes) and because it looked like the horrendous Roommates show that was also online-only. And I also never got into the whole ‘lonelygirl15’ thing. Anyway, last night I was on NBC’s website and I decided to watch the pilot. And I enjoyed it. This isn’t groundbreaking storytelling, and the characters would probably get on my nerves if they were real people, especially the artsy film brat kid who got all pissy when his friend.

Well, the ratings were apparently horrible, but there is a lot of hope for the series as it moves from NBC to Bravo. According to this article written for the ‘Hollywood Reporter’, the show may actually be better suited for broadcast television. I disagree. While I think the show could survive on TV with a better timeslot and a better marketing push toward the demographic (18-30 year-old tech savvy viewers), I think the way it tells it’s story feels more like it should be meant for online. The ‘Pilot’ episode is told in 6 parts, each one about 8 minutes in length, which sounds like it was made for TV. However, each part does feel like it’s own story. At the end of the hour-long broadcast ‘Pilot’, I felt like I just watched a third of the entire season. There was more character development and conflict than was needed for an hour-long primetime drama. Basically, I felt like I was watching the DVD of season 1 with the ‘play all’ feature turned on.

So what I’m trying to get at is that the way the the show is being told (and not necessarily the story itself) seems more suited for the internet crowd, those that wouldn’t mind going to the website a couple of times a week to watch a new episode. Granted, the show was originally developed for ABC, but when Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick (one of my favorite directors) picked it up and decided to reformat the show for the Myspace crowd, the style of storytelling changed. If they really wanted to do the show for primetime television, I believe it would give them greater creative freedom to grow each character slowly and let us take the time to like or dislike them. But, if they did that, then there wouldn’t be a need for the internet show. Would I watch the primetime version if NBC decided to air all the episodes? Probably not, but since the pilot did get me hooked, I may just go ahead and watch the episodes online, the way it was meant to be seen.

(images found through Google)

Since I’m on the subject of quarterlife, I just want to continue to say that the character of Jed really really gets on me nerves. So far, he’s everything I hate about film students, even though I am one. That whole thing with the car commercial he and Danny were trying to shoot? Dude, it’s a friggin’ commercial! You’re trying to sell something, not win an Independent Spirit Award.

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