A New Standard in Entertainment? "Quarterlife" Premieres Online
This weekend a new "show" called Quarterlife premiered and with its premiere, the realization of web-based entertainment was brought one step closer. Have there been other attempts at creating episodic (webisode) programming for the internet? Yes, but not with the calibre of participants or the level of funding that was brought to Quarterlife. The actors in Quarterlife are actors that you may have already seen in television programs like The West Wing, Ugly Betty, and CSI. The directors, writers, and producers of Quarterlife have been responsible for presenting successes such as: thirtysomething, My So-Called Life, Traffic, and Blood Diamond just to name a few.
The professionalism and aesthetics of the Hollywood elite are evident when viewing the first episode at the Quarterlife website. The video quality and presentation is probably the best I've seen online. The creators of Quarterlife are banking on the expectation that web users want a better experience than Bazooka Joe comic-sized YouTube viewerpanes with crappy sound and amateurish antics. The question is, are people so fed up with what is currently available (yay, I can now finally watch The Office reruns online) that they are willing to invest the time to get to know a plotline that was introduced to them exclusively on the web.
Quarterlife already has a distribution deal with MySpace where each episode premieres first and then 24 hours later on the Quarterlife website (so on MySpace on Sundays and Thursdays, on Quarterlife on Mondays and Fridays). I think it's a brilliant idea and the episodes are a pleasure to watch on either venue but I much preferred to watch them in the vastly superior viewer at Quarterlife.com. But it's at Quarterlife.com that I feel a bit of a disconnect since it is billed as both the home for the online series and as a social network place "to find information and resources for your creative life". I understand how a social network would help expand and continue interest in the series but it seems a bit like putting the cart before the horse. In my following interview with series creator and director Marshall Herskovitz, he said that Qlife social network participants can use the space to show off their stuff, to the extent that Quarterlife, the show, will seriously consider mining the social network for new talent.
My discussion with Herskovitz (check out his IMDB) included the origins of the show, the content of the show (porn/no porn?), and the future of entertainment.
Interview with producer, writer, director: Marshall Herskovitz:
Photo credit: Elisabeth Caren