Foreign Body is the 50-part online video prequel to the eponymous upcoming novel by bestselling author Robin Cook – a doctor, who, like John Grisham and his legal dramas, has combined penning thrillers with his medical profession to great success.
 

The show was produced at a breakneck pace by the Michael-Eisner-backed new media studio, Vuguru and web video auteurs, Big Fantastic, who are no strangers to bloodstained dramatic series (the two created Prom Queen and Big Fantastic got internet notoriety after making Sam Has 7 Friends). The first episode premiered today:

 

This is no home set operation. In 24 days of shooting, the crew jetted from Delhi to LA to Malibu, using the big studio resources to put together a sleek, hard-hitting artillery of two-minute webisodes designed to leave viewers in suspense. Presumably, a true mark of the show’s success will be whether it hooks its audience enough into the world of “medical tourism” – seeking discounted surgery and body parts in high risk locations abroad – that they’ll pick up Cook’s book to explore it further.

Vuguru has also developed an interesting business model.  They created an elongated advertisement for a novel that, in turn., is sponsored by a car company.  Honda Ads can be seen across foreignbody.tv‘s header and drive the message that niche entertainment brands, not shows or books or print alone, are the next-generation entertainment product.

###The initial episode certainly hits the right notes – the production values of a reported  $10,000 per minute, beautiful women, bathing suits, and fantastic landscapes provide enough eye candy to satiate the audience through a tightly-spun, and so far elusive, storyline.  It’s consistent with Big Fantastic’s MO.  Throw some sexy into a complex story where murder is no stranger, and then slowly feed the audience intrigue, a minute or two at a time.

But are online video junkies the target here? Will the series be judged by how many of us peel our eyes away from the video screen to preorder on Amazon after watching, or will the series make rabid Robin Cook readers flock to the web?  And if the series does sell more books or bring more readers online, will publishing houses soon need to employ video production teams?  Will we start to see books that promote a web series?

We’ll find out some answers to our questions on August 5th when the series concludes and ‘Foreign Body’ the book hits the shelves.  

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