The Rise of Webisodes

20Nov07

Although I rarely watched TV back in Canada, I really don’t watch it now that I have moved to Italy. Besides not having a television in my apartment, there are no english channels other than CNN anyway. So when I am in the “TV mood” I usually watch a DVD or listen to a podcast, however I have now found a new addiction: online TV.

Video podcasts have been around for a few years now but they really don’t compare to traditional TV on multiple levels. On the other hand, services like Joost are just putting regular TV shows online. However a couple of recent finds have made me rethink online TV by combining the best of both worlds. Here are some of my best finds.

Quarterlife
This is an interesting show, which was recently bought by NBC. Although it is professionally produced, it manages to break new ground and provide a more innovative approach to TV for the web.

The plot basically follows a group of 20 somethings as they try and figure out their lives. The script is pretty predictable, except the main character also happens to be video blogging the lives of her friends. This twist serves to illustrate how the digital world and reality intersect; not your typical TV fare. The site also features a social network for creative 20 somethings.

Young American Bodies
This show is already 2 seasons in and very original. I also follows a group of 20 somethings, but is a little more realistic than the hyper-produced Quarterlife. It is also rather focused on the sex lives of the friends, revealing maybe a bit too much. Quite entertaining and the evolving cast is a very unique take.

The Burg
A little lighter than the others, The Burg is a comedic take on life in hipper-than-thou Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The show might as well be based in any urban area’s hip quarter and provides a hilarious parody of the “hipster” cliche.

The Whitest Kids You Know
Now this show is actually a regular TV show put on the web, but I still needed to mention it. Broadcast on IFC in the US, this is a sketch comedy show in the same realm as Monty Python or Mr. Show. The material is pretty original and also pretty dark; ie. good!

So check them out for some online entertainment worthy of replacing your TV set. It will be interesting to see what NBC does with Quarterlife and just how this medium evolves over time. More to come, stay tuned.

photo: chris watkins

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2 Responses to “The Rise of Webisodes”

  1. I love watching TV on the internet. For one thing, you don’t have to schedule a specific time to watch. You watch at your own leisure.

  2. very true marsha! i’m not quite sure why more networks don’t put their shows online.


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