Monday, August 18, 2008


More and more, TV networks are looking to come up with Web-specific content. Sometimes, it's to augment shows currently on the air, such as the mini-sodes of "Heroes" and "The Office" that are used to bridge the gap into the upcoming seasons.

But there's also original content being done, Web-only shows that are designed to run in two- or three-minute bits, about the average attention span for the average Web user.

Much in the tradition of "Quarterlife," which ran disastrously on NBC for one episode after building itself up on the Web, the Peacock is having a go online again with "Gemini Division," about a NYPD undercover cop, Anna Diaz (Rosario Dawson).

The comparison to "Quarterlife" is deliberate on my part, because both that and "Gemini" bored me to tears, a remarkable feat considering the installments last about three minutes.

"Gemini" is told through a series of Web phone calls from Dawson to an unknown friend, detailing about her romantic getaway with her boyfriend Nick (Justin Hartley, "Smallville") and the mysterious guy following them (Kevin Alejandro, "Shark"). Unfortunately, the plot device is more annoying than informative, shot this way no doubt as a budget saving measure.

Anyway, the press notes lead me to believe that Anna's personal and professional lives will intersect, causing all sorts of mayhem. Where is this series going? Don't know, don't care.

I'm all for alternative forms of entertainment, and obviously the influence of the Web is only going to continue to grow, but the shows have to be good, at least. Maybe the networks should stick to the Webisodes from series that are already established, like "The Office," where we know the characters already and the plots aren't especially complex.

OLYMPICS RATINGS: It's not all bad news for NBC, which got 31.1 million viewers for Michael Phelps' record-breaking eighth gold medal Saturday night. So far, the Games have gotten 191 million viewers through the first nine days, more than the totals for the previous two Games' entire runs.

MONDAY'S BEST BETS: Kevin Bacon directs his wife, Kyra Sedgwick, in tonight's "The Closer" (TNT, 9 p.m.), no doubt helping all those "Six Degree" players out there. It's followed by a new "Saving Grace" at 10 p.m.

Also new is "The Middleman" (ABC Family, 10 p.m.), plus more Olympics, but no more Michael Phelps.


zodin2008 said...

The problem with webisodes is I simply don't think about them. I love "The Office" but I keep forgetting to go to to watch these - which I am sure are enjoyable.

The reason I have been watching the "Rescue Me" minisodes this Summer, the little 5 minute deals every Tuesday, is FX is actually airing them and my DVR knew to record them because I have my DVR set so that any new content for "Rescue Me", gets recorded. Normal or five minutes in length.

Frankly, we're all still having to be creative in our TV viewing because the new Fall TV season still is a few weeks or a month away (depending on which shows) and football still has another week and a half.

"Mad Men" and "Burn Notice" again are the only two shows the last few weeks I really have looked forward to. Even the very funny "My Boys" was good but not stellar this season - but still very entertaining.

"Monk" and "Psych" would be off my DVR altogether if there was better choices out there.

Phillip Ramati said...

It depends on whether you're a glass-is-half-empty or half-full kind of guy.

On the one hand, the summer has seemed slow, probably a carryover from the strike which shortened the regular TV season.

At the same time, the quality of stuff like Burn Notice and Mad Men is hard to match at any time during the year.

But yes, I too am eager for the fall to get here already.