TV 2.0: What to Watch When There’s Nothing to Watch
In the spirit of Media Morgue’s cutting-edge reporting of trends and phenomena in media, I have been asked to delve into the brand new, never-heard-of-before concept of original TV programming on the internet, which has been going on now for about three years. (really, more like 11 years, but its really taken off recently.)
The concept is simple. TV programming that premiers on the internet instead of the television. It holds certain advantages, such as 24-7 availability, relatively cheap production, and little-to-no FCC regulation. The flip-side of this concept is expansion web-episodes of existing television programming. That comes with a lot of the baggage from TV, commercials and editing for content being a couple of them. (Heroes, Smallville, and many others have done this)
The networks are attempting, it seems, to replace the expensive, and often fruitless process of creating television pilots with the cheaper, lower-risk airing of “web-isodes” and Web Series. A first blush response to this is: the stuff ain’t bad, but its hard to know how well it will translate to regular TV. (right, “Half-Life”?)
We begin the journey of on-line mini-episode genius with a series called: Clark and Michael. This series, produced by CBS, premiered in 2006 and consists of ten “web-isodes” starring the dudes from “Superbad”, Michael Cena and Clark Duke. (Hence, the catchy title).
The plot is a veritable Matrushka doll (look it up). It consists of a mock-documentary (or “mocumentary”, if you are a Hollywood douchebag) of two guys who are…get this…writing a series for TV (based on them trying to sell a script), and …get this…trying to sell the script to a network. If you think you’ve heard this premise before, well you’d be wrong. (Unless you’ve ever watched Seinfeld…) The actual attempts to sell the script come up about once every three episodes, or so. The rest of the time is spent essentially, doing nothing. A show about nothing! How original. (See previous parenthetical aside)
Concept originality aside, the strength of this series is in the characters. According to their site, Clark and Michael play “Themselves, except…dorkier and more clueless”. The humor is very much along the lines of Arrested Development and The Office. Fans can load up on quotes that no one but them will understand.
Each episode runs between eight and ten minutes (which doesn’t bode well for expanding to a half-hour format). One gets the sense that not a lot was left on the editing room floor.
As far as an opinion on the quality of this series: if you like these guys, and this particular type of humor, you’ll love this little series. If you don’t know them, you’ll still get a chuckle or two out of some of the bits, but if you’re looking for virtuoso comedy, then, dude, you are in the wrong medium.
See ep. 5-10 on http://www.clarkandmichael.com/
Find the rest on youtube!
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