Foreign Body, the new online series from Michael Eisner’s Vuguru and book publisher Putnam, launched the first of 50 episodes today. The series is doing double duty as the prequel to, and a promotional vehicle for the upcoming Robin Cook book of the same name and is created by Big Fantastic, the team behind Vuguru’s previous online hit, Prom Queen.
The story is an “exotic thriller” centered around medical tourism in India, focusing on “a group of dangerous Indian beauties” whose nursing skills will be put to some nefarious use. From the first episode, it’s clear Body is staying true to most popular entertainment on the web by having one of the said beauties stripping down to her underwear for a quick, pointless frolic in the ocean. The trailer shows that this is just one of many, errr, titillating moments to come.
But will people stick around that long?
There are 50, two-minute episodes which will be released daily. That’s 10 weeks. That’s a whole lotta content. Prom Queen racked up 15 million views, but the vast majority of those were at the beginning of the series. Stats won’t matter as much for this series because it’s really more of about the promo for Cook’s upcoming book, but still, could the story have been served better with fewer episodes? We’ll have to watch and see. (Perhaps Foreign Body will be translated into a shot-for-shot remake Japanese.)
Eisner said he made a couple thousand dollars on the first run of Prom Queen, but lost money on its second season, Summer Heat. Whereas Prom Queen cost Vuguru about $3,000 for every 90 seconds, Foreign Body cost upwards of $10,000 per
minute episode, according to Ryan Wise of Big Fantastic.
Eisner recently said that he thinks storytelling is the next killer app for the web, and that we’ve only just begun to see what’s possible. Interestingly, he also said he doesn’t think good content needs to be broken down into bite-sized nuggets, which almost makes you wonder why Vuguru went with such short episodes over a 10-week release schedule.
With its “big” budget and on-location filming in India, Foreign Body is an ambitious project. Now we’ll have to see if the audience is up to the task.
Tip of the hat to ReelPopBlog.