There are far too many sets of enumerations to click through (especially since Time puts each separate item on it’s own impression-gaming page), so I’ll just relate the most relevant parts: an installment of My Damn Channel’s You Suck at Photoshop placed tenth in Top TV Episodes and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog ranked #4 in Top TV Series. This, too, after Joss Whedon‘s online sensation took home the honor of being one of Time’s Best Inventions of the Year.
For Dr. Horrible, I think the honor at least kinda makes sense. The show has all the trappings of a quality TV series (Hollywood stars, top-notch production quality, excellent writing, etc.), just with a shorter season and on a smaller budget. In other words, it’s something you could picture actually seeing on television. You Suck at Photoshop, however, is not.
There’s no way this series would ever be on TV, and it’s not because of any deficiency in quality. You Suck at Photoshop is fantastic, but it’s sooooooo much an internet show that putting in a category with 30 Rock and Mad Men seems a misnomer, like Time’s critic James Poniewozik included the series to fulfill a new media quota.
The video elements of the “small-scale serial [that] packed in as much comedy and pathos as a TV series twenty times its length” are just a single portion of the product, an entry point for a more interactive entertainment experience. Creators Troy Hitch and Matt Beldsoe told me the best part about the show was the eBay auction for Donnie’s ring and the fact that users could contact Donnie and Sn4tchBuckl3r via Skype and have a conversation. The inherent interactivity of the inherent drove the look of the show and its storyline. It’s definitely not TV. It’s something different.
It’s great to see traditional media outlets take notice of online original web series and put them alongside traditional forms of entertainment (and in the not-so-distant future, there will be lists where you won’t be sure which shows are from what medium), but it still seems odd. It’s not a bad thing, just a bit off….like if I said Lost was one helluva web series.
I suppose that while the mediums converge and online video further develops, I’ll have to suffer some uncomfortable lists and less-than-perfect vocabulary. For now, I’ll just be thankful that Time included some internet video in its lists that goes beyond the Viral category.