The WB private-beta-launched its anticipated new portal of old shows tonight, and I just had a chance to take a look around. The site looks nice enough and promises some interesting features, but there’s a lot left unfinished — like the original online shows we’d been promised. Features are similar to Hulu — you can link to and embed episodes and clips of episodes — but the layout is less clean and clear. One excellent addition is the capability to search within video transcripts for specific words.
I embedded the pilot for Friends, though it seems to be loading rather slowly. I couldn’t find a way to turn off autoplay, so it’s below the jump. Other included series are All Of Us, Blue Water High, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dangerous, Gilmore Girls, One Tree Hill, Smallville, The OC and The Wayans Bros. A few of them are even still on the air and some of Buffy is already available on Hulu. Veronica Mars is mentioned in some of the literature but I don’t see it on the site. But the selection on TheWB.com is quite limited at this point — there appear to be just the first six episodes from the first season of each show. And nowhere on the site or in the videos did I see any advertising (hurry while you can!).
There’s a dummy page for the six original series, which have titles like Sorority 4 Ever, High Drama Despite All Oz, and Rich Girl, Poor Girl. Also coming soon is the option to “mix – mash – blend” using a “WBlender” tool. What is finished are games associated with each series, like a trivia game for Friends and a surfing game for Blue Water High. There’s also gossip about stars from the shows imported from TMZ.
It looks like if you want to get into the private beta you just have to register and should expect to hear back within a week.