Quarterlife launched on MySpace yesterday. It’s the story of a melodramatic 20-something writer/blogger, Dylan Kruger, who struggles with her banal existence as a self-righteous women’s magazine employee, a jealous friend and a self-proclaimed mind-reader.
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Steve Bryant called it "riveting" and "the best show [he’s] seen produced for online." Really, Steve? Have you seen We Need Girlfriends or Break A Leg?
Karina Longworth seems to regard the show as unrealistic — with "the guiding assumption that videoblogging and writing are interchangeable" — and, perhaps, unsophisticated — "Quarterlife prevents the viewer from having that experience of interpreting what the characters are thinking by looking at an actor’s face."
This is the highest production-value webshow to date, but riveting? The script is laden with cheese and cliche. The performances are mediocre at best. The filmic devices are inane and sloppy and obvious, and the introverted protagonist is, indeed, unrealistically attractive. But who cares? Did we honestly expect anything better? This ain’t Scorsese — it’s TV meant for teens. So how does it do?
We’ve noted that the trailer "looks, sounds and feels exactly like a television show or a film. But is this really the way to achieve television and film audience numbers on the web, by making the Internet just another medium (albeit with slightly more creative control) so that we can watch more of the same?"
I’m interested to see how audiences react to Quarterlife and, honestly, I have no idea what to expect. Mediocre acting and amature cinematic technique notwithstanding, Quarterlife just may resonate with its desired demographic. Personally, I’d like to see a more innovative application of interactivity that allows viewers to engage with characters–and I’d like to see characters and stories that push the envelope just a little further… even if they are unrealistic and amateurish. This setup feels stale and patronizing, but that seems to work on old TV, so why not on MySpace?
A day in, Quarterlife got 130,820 views and an average viewer rating of just over 50% thumbs up. That doesn’t bode too well for the show’s stickiness moving forward, at least on the internet. There are rumors that NBC might acquire the show.
Anyway, enough about Quarterlife. This is space filled with innovative, interesting, thought-provoking content. I get enough platitude on old TV.