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Summary:

After blowing up the chemistry lab at her old high school and being caught with some Ecstasy (which she swears does not belong to her), the titular Sofia of Sofia’s Diary is sent by her mother to live with her father in London. Being the new […]

After blowing up the chemistry lab at her old high school and being caught with some Ecstasy (which she swears does not belong to her), the titular Sofia of Sofia’s Diary is sent by her mother to live with her father in London. Being the new girl at school sucks, living with her dad’s new wife and toddler son sucks, not having any friends sucks. But social media sites are great, and so Sofia finds some comfort in producing webisodes about her life to send out to her friend Jo (and all her other Bebo pals).

Fortunately for her — and her audience — Sofia apparently has professional lighting and sound equipment, and opportunities for multicamera set-ups. It’s nice to see this level of production brought to the web, but the writing isn’t up to par: Sofia’s complaints for the most part lack any originality (whining about the cafeteria food is an especially uninspired touch). Watching the first two episodes, I can’t help but feel that the series would be greatly improved if Sofia were some sort of vampire slayer.

Sofia’s Diary takes a straight-up Choose Your Own Adventure approach to interactive storytelling, yet I wonder if the choices aren’t rigged to avoid deviation from a clearly planned storyline. When I voted for Sofia to attend Thursday’s party, 92 percent of other users at that point agreed with me. Have the creators actually plotted and shot an episode in which Sofia sits at home on Thursday night and surfs around on Bebo? Or have they wisely guessed that even if its audience might personally make the choice to stay home, they want to see Sofia do something different?

A co-production between BeActive and Sony TV UK, Sofia’s Diary is only new in English — the original Portugese concept began in 2003 as a fictional blog that eventually moved to radio, TV and mobile formats. According to comScore, new AOL acquisition Bebo.com had 11.4 million unique visitors from the United Kingdom in January. What better place, then, to host a web series from the point of view of a British teenager?

But while the first two episodes are well-paced and well-produced, the constant breaks with the first-person format become frustrating — in a media community where series like Lonelygirl15 fully exploited it, this halfway commitment to playing with the vlog style is more than a little disappointing. But the damage being done to the fourth wall apparently has little impact on the show’s audience, whose Bebo comments are numerous and enthusiastic. Those following Sofia’s Diary will at the least find themselves exposed to the very latest in British teen slang. “Well guud,” indeed.

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  1. Yeah, Sofia’s Diary is a weird beast. To the choose your own adventure point: when I asked for reviewer’s copies I received eps one and four, which suggested to me that the producers had main plot points mapped out and were leaving the interval for the audience to influence.

  2. The Generation Gap and Web Series « MyMediaMusings Wednesday, March 19, 2008

    [...] Generation Gap and Web Series Jump to Comments There is another review of the new Bebo web series, Sophia’s Diary, up at NewTeeVee.  For the most part, they agree [...]

  3. Sofia’s Diary « t a i l s l a t i n g Wednesday, March 19, 2008

    [...] Sofia’s Diary 19 03 2008 Another new girl video blogging series his the Internet. See NewTeeVee’s article here. [...]

  4. Sofia’s story is extremely dull, and just hearing a teenager complain is extremely boring… But the thing that keeps me watching is purely that I’m a long-time Rachel Harvey fan.

    Believe me, I’ve seen her in worse.

  5. New Web-to-TV Prospects on Deck « NewTeeVee Thursday, April 17, 2008

    [...] starring Rosario Dawson; and across the pond, Channel Five has picked up Bebo’s web drama Sofia’s Diary. NBC’s deal with production company Electric Farm Entertainment is the first deal from its [...]

  6. Abigail’s Teen Diary: For All Her BFFs – NewTeeVee Station Saturday, June 21, 2008

    [...] Medium More details » Fictional vlog series have been done before, as have stories about teen girls trapped in older men’s bodies — but that doesn’t keep [...]

  7. Prom Queen – NewTeeVee Station Monday, June 30, 2008

    [...] web series targeted at a young audience — a trend that continues today with shows like Sofia’s Diary. The ultimate surprise at the end of Prom Queen is the discovery that web series are, if nothing [...]

  8. Bebo Launches Sam King Series With UMG « NewTeeVee Tuesday, August 5, 2008

    [...] Bebo Launches Sam King Series With UMG The social network Bebo will launch on Wednesday its latest original video series, The Secret World Of Sam King, which promises to be another interactive, product-integrated show in the vein of past successes Kate Modern and Sofia’s Diary. [...]

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