So. Much. Online. Content.
This week Tilzy.tv brought us the first annual Onfronts, a presentation of what the year ahead has to offer in online video. Like the oldteevee upfronts from which they get their name, the Onfronts are a way for content providers to show potential advertisers just where their money could be going, and just how many eyeballs could be taking a gander at those logos. Of course, we here at NewTeeVee Station aren’t looking to invest big bucks for big traffic; we just wanna see all the previews and judge which will be the most squee-worthy.
It’s a noble calling, really. And we do it all for you. So here’s what’s coming up.
What looks good:
New seasons of old favorites. The promo for Prom Queen: The Homecoming was full of quick cuts and short on plot points, but, much like actual prom queens, the series doesn’t need details to get us to show up. They have us at Prom Queen. Likewise, new seasons of The Legend of Neil and Wainy Days seem like they’re going to bring more of the quirky fun that hooked viewers in the first place.
Take180 presented an impressive slate — I <3 Vampires pokes a little fun at Twilight-level fandom, My Date turns viewer-submitted dating horror stories into guffaw-worthy sketches, and Electric Spoofaloo, well, spoofs stuff.
Also intriguing are The Mercury Men, which did for retro-cool in one brief preview what “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow” failed to do in an entire film, and Hillers, a dark comedy about a man in an ever-faster downward spiral. (Plus, there’s a mysterious and possibly evil hot chick who keeps talking to him, but where she fits in remains to be seen.)
What’s not so exciting:
Since the Onfronts are meant to lure advertisers more than viewers, a lot of content partners went for promos rather than previews — meaning faster-than-lightning quick cuts of shows and stars only the already converted would recognize, overlaid with statistics and traffic figures. Great for showing off your revenue potential, guys, but not great for those of us who are trying to get a glimpse of what to watch.
They’re slickly produced shows that spend more time looking good than selling us on story. The previews for The Bannen Way and The Fall of Kaden, for instance, look gorgeous but gloss over their own hooks. Would it really have given away too much to actually mention one of the iron-clad family rules the protagonist of The Bannen Way violates, if the consequences of his breaking those rules are the entire premise of the series? Similarly, the Kaden preview dances around its own premise with oblique narration — it looks awfully pretty, but what’s it really about? Newteevee has proven that it can compete with oldteevee when it comes to star power and production values; if you want to win over viewers, you have to do it with story, too.
What looks so awesome we can’t even stand it:
A new season of Easy to Assemble. Surreal Swedish-flavored musical numbers? Check. Celeb guest stars aplenty? Check. Illeana Douglas’ hilarious look at how famous folk might try to live “normal” lives continues to be the most fun you can have in an Ikea.
Angel of Death. Technically, this promo was not for new content, but probably meant to tie into next month’s DVD release of Season 1. But we here at NTVS will watch Zoe Bell pulverize everyone in her path until our eyes glaze over, and we’re not a bit ashamed of it. New or not, there’s just no limit to the number of times you can watch a badass female assassin with a big knife in her head.
Detention. Quicker than you can say, “Hey…this looks kinda like a Breakfast Club ripoff,” the preview gets funny all on its own terms. Plus, the series promises a level of clickable interactivity that makes us happy in our nerdy places.
Cambridge Prep. It’s a soap! At a prep school! With vampires! A vampire prep school soap opera. That is simply the maximum amount of awesomeness that web video can provide.
With all of the above going on, plus the quality standbys we’ve come to expect from regular standouts like MyDamnChannel, Atom, and Revision3, viewers have an impressive depth of online content from which to pick and choose. The message at the Onfronts seemed to be that web television is serious business now — and that serious business is translating into some seriously good entertainment.