After years of watching online video, something I’d gotten used to is this: Web series that never went beyond a first season. Certainly, notable examples like The Guild EDIT: and Anyone But Me exist, but on the whole many great concepts and series have petered out after the Season 1 finale.
The reasons always vary, from the creators getting higher-profile work to the creators simply not having any more money. Which is why it’s been exciting to see, over the last two months, a number of web series that announced plans for second seasons in 2013, ranging from independent productions to studio-sponsored shows.
Produced by Paramount and Ben Stiller’s Red Hour Digital for Yahoo, Burning Love was already a lot of fun — the dead-on Bachelor parody had an incredible cast, including Rob Marino, Michael Ian Black, Adam Scott, Malin Ackerman, Kristin Bell, and Ken Jeong.
It’s the sort of fun lark you’d expect to peter out after Season 1, especially because everyone involved has plenty of other stuff going on — so, when Marino revealed that a Season 2 and 3 were in the works, it was a delightful surprise.
Season 2, in classic Bachelor tradition, will feature an unsuccessful lady from the first season as a bachelorette being courted by suitors like Michael Cera, Nick Kroll, Paul Scheer, Kumail Nanjiani and Jerry O’Connell.
Possibly the most chill web series of 2012, Jerry Seinfeld’s interests in cars, coffee and other comedians collided in this Crackle (s SNE) series. According to The New York Times, the 10-episode first season, which featured comedy greats including Larry David, Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks, brought more than 10 million unique visitors to Crackle, and will be followed up by 24 new episodes.
While those first 10 episodes were ad-free, the big change for season two will be trying to solve that whole “making money with it” dilemma. “This next go-round we’re going to have to figure out some sort of revenue stream, so it makes more sense,” Seinfeld told the Times. With Seinfeld’s pedigree and the first season’s success, they should have some luck with it.
Matt Enlow’s teen dramedy, starring Mary-Kate Wiles and Kylie Sparks, initially funded its first season with Kickstarter and later partnered with Big Frame for production support. The series has an active social media presence, including Twitter and Tumblr, but one question they’d been very quiet on was where plans for a second season stood.
Until last month, that is, when Enlow and Wiles took to YouTube (s GOOG) to announce that a second season had in fact been shot and would be coming out early 2013.
Viewcounts for Squaresville‘s first season ranged in the solid five figures, but more importantly the show took home three trophies from the IAWTV Awards earlier this month: Best Writing, Best Ensemble Cast, and Best Comedy Series. Season 2, therefore, should attract some attention.
Season 1 of Brandon Laatsch and Freddie Wong’s video game comedy series not only helped launch the Rocket Jump platform, but racked up 31.5 million views in its first month online.
For the second season, the VGHS team has turned once again to Kickstarter, using their first season campaign as a model and asking for $636,010, the exact cost of the first season (which Wong recently revealed in infographic form).
The second season format, according to Kickstarter, will be six “TV-length” episodes with a total runtime of 160-180 minutes. Most intriguingly, they’re offering “stretch” goals should they exceed their funding, including — at the $1,000,000 level — a limited theatrical distribution.
It’s not so much that 2013 is the year of the second season, but more the year of more web series becoming sustainable. And each success story is a positive sign for the web video space.