When a web series awash with cash, created by innovative web producers with a track record and backed by a big name with uber experience, fails to impress, or… uhh… performs below our bleakest expectations, it’s time for some reflection. So, what went wrong?
ForeignBody, a 50-episode series created by Big Fantastic and backed by Michael Eisner’s Vuguru is unloved and unwatched, reports Silicon Alley Insider.
First, lets note that in a film studio-like model, winners (think Dark Night) pay for losers (think Speed Racer). This is a hits driven model. Variable returns on individual projects are expected, and huge success can mitigate many nonsuccesses, so this isn’t necessarily a bad sign for the business. There’s no sure bet in something so subjective as web drama, and we applaud Vuguru for testing the boundaries of the waters in which we all have begun to sail. Experimentation is key.
But, again, why has this particular series underperformed?
Simple answer: it’s not good. Drama on the web can work. Dr. Horrible has engaged us for 40 minutes at a time, but as a Silicon Alley commenter astutely notes, Foreign Body “feels like a cheesy Spanish soap” with ridiculous, spot-on dialogue, bland, amateur performances and a script that yearns to grip with characters that are neither interesting nor likable. It’s a big-budget concept made on a small-budget and crammed to fit the prism of web video.
You know, stuff like this can work on TV, but on the web — the celebrated breeding ground for creative innovation — authenticity is key. Concept comes before craft and production value alone can rarely drive eyeballs.
This story just doesn’t match its storytellers, and so they fumbled, but we’re confident they’ll get their bearings again soon.