The major networks are still looking at the success of independent web series and scratching their heads. They’ve tried to jump into this arena before and failed pretty miserably. It’s obvious to fans why the major networks haven’t been able to tap into the success of shows like Ask a Ninja and even the Revision 3 shows. These indie online networks focus on the content more than the presentation. They put together their programs cheap thereby making it cheap for sponsors to get behind the shows and then the series have time to grow in popularity slowly rather than having to be a major success out of the gate or bankrupt the producers. Also, these little networks aren’t locked into all of the behind the scenes trappings that weigh on the shoulders of networks forcing them to hire many lawyers and therefore drive show budgets up even further. The truly important aspect though is just doing shows on a low budget and providing unique content.
Recently, NBC has been working hard to create a unique online presence through ventures such as the successful hulu clip and streaming series portal. The network has apparently decided they can’t do the original web series so instead of wasting money trying it again they’ve just went out and acquired a series called Gemini Division starring Rosario Dawson. The official synopsis goes like this: When Sara's fiancé is killed, she discovers a microchip in her engagement ring that sets her on a journey into a biotech underworld filled with genetically fabricated life forms called Simulants. She locates the Gemini Division, who are trying to reclaim all the Simulant chips and eradicate these rogue terrorists.
Gemini Division will feature a mix of live action scenes and animation. The animation may be a low budget way of handling some of the action scenes and special effects. Rosario Dawson has shown herself over the past few years as a real fan of comics and action/sci-fi not only through her choices in film roles but also her involvement in the production of independent comics. The potential problems with this series also start with her. She’s a known entity therefore even giving all the breaks in the world she still gets paid more than some no name actress playing the part. There’s no doubt that she’ll be worth it because she’ll actually be good in the role - well if the writing is good of course. The other problem is that each episode is only four minutes long. Sure, it’ll be quick to stream but the question is: will you go to the trouble of digging through the NBC website for a four minute episode? Ultimately, NBC should make this series available for download to portable devices. If they were to do that then any issues with the brief episodes would be rendered moot. Finally, the network is promising a game built around the series that’ll be immersive and fully interactive featuring tons of bonus features related to the series. All of a sudden the budget for the series just shot up for something that most fans won’t care about.
Gemini Division hits NBC.com next month with 50 of those four minute episodes. At this point, there’s not much to see as far as previewing the seires. The official website just features a picture of Dawson. There’s a really short teaser on MySpace that says very little about the seires. Check it out here:
Battlestar Galactica on Friday night is really the only must see TV of the week, as it were. Fear Itself has a lot to prove this week after the sub par debut if it hopes to stick around for its full 13 episode schedule and yes, The Venture Brothers is new this week.
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THE VENTURE BROTHERS (TOON, 10;30PM EST) MURDER O’CLOCK
As of the writing of this article there was no description for the episode available. But we awwume it should be good, right?