The Cell (not to be confused with that serial killer dreamscapade that starred J-Lo) started off promising enough when it debuted on Sony’s Crackle on June 4.

Good-looking girls and guys, stylized production and 88,000 views are always a good way to kick off a web show. But by the time the 7th episode of the weekly two-minute series rolled around, the view count had dipped to around 7,500.

Of course, nearly 42,000 people watched the sixth installment, but that one had a thumbnail of a girl in bikini.

Produced by Endemol, The Cell bills itself as a series about “a man who finds himself locked in a lawless prison, with no notion of how he got there, who is holding him or why, and with no hope of escape.”  It has a striking, sepia-toned, Sin City-aesthetic with characters out of a Guy Ritchie flick, but unfortunately by episode 10, no enticing plot has yet to surface.

Instead there’s some muddled storyline about a guy with a buzz-cut named Spence who shows up in Colombia to find that his old friend David has gotten super-rich running a fighting ring. David also keeps a cute personal assistant named Lucy, who eventually falls into the arms of Spence, infuriating her boss.  Then she puts on a bikini. There’s also some old guy named the General who loves watching muscle-bound dudes with trendy tribal tattoos throw down.

Looks pretty cool, right?  So, what’s the blame for the view count nosedive? Most glaringly, the main characters are devoid of any charisma or individuality. Besides their names and who they’re betraying, we really don’t learn anything about them over the course of The Cell‘s first 10 episodes.  And even if the plot wasn’t loosely strung together, it’s hours too involved for what amounts to 18 minutes of video.

Somehow, though, all this has led to even more online syndication, as The Hollywood Reporter writes that Fox International Channels has acquired The Cell to run it across its network of websites in October. Granted, the last 10 installments of the show could be absolutely spectacular, but, unless there’s a shot of a girl in a bathing suit in each new episode, no viewers will be there to see it on Crackle.

Maybe The Cell will find a more welcoming audience on Fox’s network, but if Cackle just wanted a series without a storyline where oversized men face each other as god intended, sporsmanlike Crackle should’ve just picked up Kimbo Slice Fights.

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