Imagine a world where you can delete the characters you hate from your favorite TV show. A world in which shows about musical theater aren’t over-produced and make sense. A world in which a cabal of pre-aughts celebrities staff the Burbank IKEA. This isn’t the future, everybody, this is now. Yep, we have a whole lot more than just Dr. Horrible to talk about these days.
While original web programming is still defining itself — from both a creative and business standpoint — it’s also poised to replace traditional TV entirely. But until we get there, we’ll refer to this rapidly growing medium as an entity unto itself. Some web series are excellent because they are so simple in concept, like SNL writer Mike O’Brien interviewing celebrities in his personal closet. Meanwhile, others like Bryan Singer’s H+, which we got to check out at an early screening this week, have special effects people are calling “too good to be on the Internet.”
For those of you who haven’t heard of either of these shows, and are interested in checking the territory out, we’ve rounded up some of the most innovative new series out there, as well as some oldies (which in webisode speak translates to “circa 2008”) that are worth catching up on. And if you’re feeling the weight of your pre-existing TV schedule, never fear! With some episodes clocking in at under five minutes, they’re actually pretty manageable (albeit dangerously addictive). Have a favorite web show you think we should be watching? Please, do share in the comments!
If a greater part of the human population was hardwired to the Internet, you can imagine the mishegas that would ensue — everyone walking around, swiping at the invisible computer in their brain; Skype sex reaching dangerous new levels of intimacy; more marital disputes than ever over a spouse “watching the game” while they were supposed to be “listening” and/or “driving”; and a third of Earth getting infected and instantaneously wiped out by a digital virus. That’s the basic premise of H+, a new web series premiering August 8th on YouTube, starring some people you might recognize from the traditional tube, including Buffy’s Alexis Denisof and New Girl’s Hannah Simone.
A common feature of the latest Web TV, as you’ll see later in this list, are “immersive” offerings, which both Warner Bros. and the creative forces behind H+ were especially excited about at this week’s screening. Viewers of the show will have the ability to create their own playlist (as they would on YouTube regularly) and re-cut the series in the order they wish. Or they can mash up the episodes into feature-length movie format by removing in/out points. And if they only want episodes from the point of view of one character, they can do that, too (although we wouldn’t recommend cutting anyone initially — each storyline we previewed was pretty interesting, not to mention too short to ever get boring). The big question now is whether or not viewers will want control of their viewing experience, and if so, does it portend a wonderful new level of geekdom or TV apocalypse?