As the Internet inches its way closer and closer to becoming the center of American life, an increasing amount of techno-terms are breaking into our everyday vocabulary. Blogging, IMing, DVRing, texting, Facebooking, Googling, Digging, and YouTubing are just a sampling of digital language spoken today. One particular term that is starting to make some serious headway in cyberspace is ‘Webisode,’ which is used in reference to Web series.
Today’s video-centered Internet gives aspiring filmmakers a stage of limitless opportunities in which to showcase their material. Because the Web does not discriminate based on experience, or lack thereof, any regular Joe with a story to tell has an unfiltered means to broadcast how and what they wish. Given this ability, many filmmakers have taken advantage of the Web to create and produce not only short films, but full-fledged series as well.
The wave of Web-only series was started in 2006 with the wildly popular Lonelygirl15, distributed independently on YouTube. Several Web series were able to capitalize on the success of social-networking Web sites like MySpace, which brought us 2007’s Prom Queen and Quarter Life, and Bebo, which distributed Lonelygirl15 spin-off Katemodern.
As Americans are now spending more time online than ever before, network studios and sponsors have taken notice and are recognizing the value in Web-exclusive content. Earlier this year ABC released the comedy series “Squeegies,” and big-time networks, producers, and even actors have followed as a new wave of Web series take off this fall:
LG15: The Resistance.
This Lonelygirl15 spin-off, by creators Miles Beckett and Greg Goodfried, takes a closer look into the cult-like organization known as “The Order,” introduced in the original series. This creepy society hunts for special girls whose blood holds special powers. Like its predecessors, The Resistance will not have a polished look but will continue its messy camera movement and reliance on the Web cam angle that made Lonelygirl15 famous. The Resistance debuted on Sept. 20, on LG15.com
This mystery series, polished by producer McG (THE OC), centers around the sexy sisters of Phi Chi Kappa, a controlling house that keeps a very close eye on its members. Freshman Julie, played by Jessica Rose (Lonelygirl15‘s Bree), is particularly skeptical about the practices of this alpha sorority. In the opening scene, Julie’s older sister Natalie tells her, “Phi Chi Kappa will change your life.” Sorority Forever releases a new 3-minute episode every weekday until the Halloween Finale. It premiered on TheWB.com on Sept. 8.
NBC Universal’s much-hyped sci-fi melodrama stars Rosario Dawson as a future cop who discovers an underground world of genetically modified bad guys and the secret tactics squad trying to defeat them. In a slightly different twist, this series is shot completely in front of a green screen, which seriously limits what can happen onscreen, and serves as a serious distraction. Gemini Division premiered on Aug. 18, releases 4 new 3-minute episodes or “files” per week, and can be watched on NBC.com
This series is set at the fictional Bask Univeristy, and features all sorts of “stars” from YouTube’s craziest viral hits. Lonelygirl15‘s Jessica Rose also appears in this series as freshman Meg Henley. Hooking Up takes a silly light-hearted look into campus escapades. It premiered last week, Oct. 1, and can be watched at HookingUpShow.com