Magazine article Variety

'Net Gain Still Short

Magazine article Variety

'Net Gain Still Short

Article excerpt


Given all the attention showered on "House of Cards" - Netflix's high-profile voyage into prestige drama, with Kevin Spacey and director David Fincher onboard - one could easily assume Web-originated content has officially turned a corner.

Such an assumption would be partly right, and mostly wrong.

Original production for the Web has steadily been gaining steam, with experimentation becoming more ambitious. Produceis are investing more, and asking viewers to watch longer - a big leap over the byte-sized bits that initially characterized such efforts.

That said most of these productions are characterized by deficiencies on one front or another, reflecting some of the Web's offBroad way -sty le limitations.

Two recent efforts are illustrative in this regard.

Crackle's "Chosen," starring and produced by "Heroes" alum Milo Vent imiglia, features a tautly constructed little story resembling a "The Twilight Zone" episode: An ordinary guy is tapped by unseen forces to participate in a "game," which requires the players to kill random strangers.

Yet while the six roughly 20-minute chapters have the feel of an indie thriller, they also exhibit some of the challenges producing for the Web can Impose. Although the performances are strong and the ethical consideritions in Intriguing, BCeneS drag on a little too long, presumably due in part to production demands that don't allow for sprawling casts or multiple locations and sets.

By contrast, this weekend. Syfy will premiere "Battlestar Galáctica: Blood & Chrome," a TV movie ie assembled from 10 webisodes produced for Youlube'fl premium channel Machinima Prime. Extending one of the network's signature franchises, the show actually looks great - using using virtual sets and CGI to create action seqi enees alinosi comparable with the original (or rather, rebooted) series; it's in the so-so acting and writing where the project feels a noticeable cut below its predecessor.

Both programa have been deemed successful by their (list ribul ors, even il the niel ries remain atad confusing to I host· accustomed to a Nielsen yardstick. In the case of "Chosen," for example, Crackle was touting both the number of streams and the lael more than half the people who watched the first installment hung around for the rest. …

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