We knew we hadn’t seen the last of the engine room on the US Azureas when things left in a black hole cliffhanger this past spring. Sci-fi comedy web series The Crew is coming back for a second season next week after singing an exclusive deal with online video site Babelgum.
For creator Brett Register, who had been using the hiatus from the show to roll out a number of short experimental web series like Craig and the Werewolf, he said he is excited to be able to pay his talent and crew this time around.
“We were indeed able to pay everyone who worked on the show this season, which was amazing as the tagline when producing season one was, ‘don’t worry about money, we’ll all get paid in season two,’” quipped Register. “Who knew that’d turn out to be true!”
While it’s not exactly TV-level money going around, it is in fact a step up in terms of production budgets and actors’ salaries. The indie mockumentary series had previously camped out with online network KoldCast TV before signing the larger money deal, reportedly in the mid-five figures, with Babelgum for the twelve-episode new season.
For Season 2, the full original cast will be returning, including Craig Frank, Philip Bache, Ariel Lazarus and Register himself. As with most web series on their second go-round, some new notables have joined the cast, like former lonelygirl15 star Jessica Rose, and a slew of web names as guest stars—Robin Thorsen (The Guild), Benny Fine (The Fine Brothers), Tom Konkle (Safety Geeks: SVI) and Payman Benz (Awkward Pictures). Register’s longtime cohort Tim Riese is back as DP of the green screen comedy.
We asked Register about what to expect for the new season, and just what to make of all these new cast additions. “Well to not give too much away I’ll say that the end of the black hole from the finale of season one lands The Crew on the other side of the galaxy,” he told us. “So the primary storyline revolves around the voyage home (Star Trek reference intended).”
In terms of the deal itself, it’s partly a licensing deal and partly a purchase of the content itself. Essentially, Babelgum is commissioning the new season and will own the rights to those new episodes. The overall show itself, including the characters and all previous episodes remain owned by RegisteredFilms.
“We are actually purchasing series and phasing out the licensing deal,” said Babelgum’s Amber J. Lawson. “So moving forward I am building out a slate of Babelgum Original ‘Smart’ Comedy Content that we will commission to cross all platforms.” The European-hubbed company is trying to carve out a position as a home for “innovative, professionally produced content” somewhere between unvetted user-generated content and the big-budget network TV-style shows.
“We definitely found ourselves in an uphill battle finding the money for season two between the lackluster economy and finding a company that actually understood The Crew and it’s audience,” said Register. “Luckily Babelgum came through in the clutch and is actually committed to creating quality content for the web. I hate to use the phrase ‘match made in Heaven’ but when they said they were looking for ‘smart’ Sci-Fi comedy, I knew we were in the right place.”
The first season notched around 250,000 combined views, according to Register, who says they didn’t do any view inflation or artificial tricks to distort that number. It was enough to get on Babelgum’s radar however, and there is an audience growing for the series. “Our intention with launching with Season 1 is to bring the current fans over to Babelgum and start bringing in new fans to The Crew from the success of our exclusive content partnership,” said Babelgum’s Lawson.
“The hope is to remain at Babelgum for the life of the series,” added Register.
Abrams Artists new media agent Brandon Martinez brokered the deal for RegisteredFilms. Season one (above) of the show is now up on Babelbum with the new 12-episode season set to premiere October 12.
Photos courtesy of RegisteredFilms.