Today The Bannen Way rolled out with a wide release today of its first four episodes across a number of distribution outlets including Sony’s online video network Crackle, on its gaming system through the PlayStation Store and through internet-enabled Sony BRAVIA TVs. Though three episodes were released early to US viewers on Crackle last week, presumably for awards consideration, the wider release is the first that has synced up all three of its broadband outlets—web site, gaming consoles, and Sony’s built-in internet video network on its new TVs.
There’s been no shortage of build up for the slick, adrenaline-fueled drama from creators Mark Gantt and Jesse Warren. The origins of the project are well known now as well, with the pair shooting a low budget spec trailer for the series in Summer 2008 in hopes of landing a production and distribution deal. After months of back and forth, the two had a firm offer from Sony Pictures Television to craft the series as one of their most ambitious web series to date. Still, the production falls well below that of traditional studio-backed television pilots or films, and many of the cast brought on were working below their typical rates.
Gantt stars of course as the smooth talking con man Neal Bannen, with Vanessa Marcil as his potential love interest, a sly street thief named Madison. There’s also Michael Ironside, who also popped up online in Level 26 earlier this year, as Bannen’s police chief father. And then there’s Robert Forster as Bannen’s mob boss uncle, Mr. B.
The story unfolds in 5-7 minute episodes, and having a handful to watch at once helps to draw viewers in. The rollout, with new episodes of the 16-episode first season of The Bannen Way premiering every weekday through January 22, is similar to drama web series Compulsions two-week release on Dailymotion earlier this winter. That series chose to give fans a daily release rather than drawing it out over a 10-week run as other web series, including those from Crackle, have done in the past. The online release is only in the US for now, as additional territories will be added later this year.