On one level, the news here is rather straightforward—a new comedy web series, The Suffersons, debuted online today from creator Blair Singer. The New York based playwright and staff writer on TV hits Weeds and Monk, has crafted a minimalist comedy about an out-of-work accountant arduously trying to pen his first novel under the chastising eye of his acerbic wife.
Michael Chernus (Bored to Death, Mercy) stars as the budding novelist Josh Sufferson alongside Susan Pourfar as his mocking wife Dana. As it unfolds, Dana’s mocking turns competitive as she learns he’s writing about their marriage, prompting her to start crafting her own account of the state of their affairs.
The production is low-fi web series to its core, shot on a handheld consumer camera using just a bare bones two-person crew and freely available locations like the couple’s tight Brooklyn apartment. Singer who himself had written season three of web drama lonelygirl15, has his share of experience in the blessings of writing within the boundaries of web budgets.
But on another level, we’re seeing what could be the start of one of the big trends in web series for 2010. Well known, established web brands like Rocketboom acting as umbrellas under which whole networks of original web shows are birthed. And in this case it is indeed Rcoketboom that is brining The Suffersons to market.
Rocketboom’s flagship is still its Daily News series, itself still the standard in minimalist production with the same staple world map backdrop it has been using since its debut in 2004. New host Molly Windam (mememolly) now runs the anchor desk made famous by past hosts Amanda Cogndon and Joanne Colan. The popular internet culture series even spawned a possibly more popular spin-off, Know Your Meme, that dissects internet memes with near scientific rigor.
For Rocketboom creator Andrew Baron, this marks the brand’s “first foray into fictional series content.” And the move to try incubating new series under a known and respected web series brand is something we’ll probably be seeing a lot more of in the next year. Even tech-host-heavy network Revision3 rolled out its first original comedy series Web Zeroes earlier this fall.
“We are focused on informational content for the most part, so this is pretty unique,” Baron told us. “As with all of our programming, we like to test the waters on Rocketboom and see how it goes before making any commitments. While I personally love it, it’s hard to know how our particular audience will like it, because it is so different. I assume some people will be confused and many won’t like it, just because it’s different.”
Two episodes of the 11 episode season of The Suffersons debuted today, with new ones running through Sunday January 3rd on rocketboom.com.