You know that Vin Diesel web series at least one online video journalist was excited about because if the XXX star was able to successfully leverage even just 5% of his now 30+ million(!) Vin Diesel Facebook fans into Vin Diesel online video viewers, it would make for a wildly successful new media program and a model other Hollywood celebrities with similar fan bases would quickly emulate?
It’s that dramatic web series produced by Diesel’s One Race Films and Fox Digital Entertainment that’s loosely based on Diesel’s previous life as a bouncer and centers around the subculture of musclemen who man the lines at New York City’s hottest hotspots. It’s that web series called The Ropes and it premiered today, but not exactly online.
All six, 22-minute episodes of The Ropes debuted on Netflix and Crackle’s Xbox Live app, while the series is set to launch across all Crackle platforms on Thursday, March 8. But if you’re not a Netflix subscriber and don’t plan to visit Crackle.com anytime soon, this is one Diesel vehicle you’re going to miss. Here’s a synopsis of what you won’t see:
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The Ropes follows the young, naïve Martin (Rory Ahern, Unstoppable), who lands a job as a bouncer at New York’s hottest nightclub run by the over-worked Rizzio (Danny A. Abeckaser, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan). Big Vic (F. Valentino Morales, Strays), the club’s legendary head bouncer, takes Martin under his wing to show him ‘the ropes.’ S
oon Martin is tempted towards the bigger scores of the nightlife’s seedy underbelly by Les (Gonzalo Menendez, Act of Valor), another bouncer with his own crooked outlook. Rizzio’s right-hand gal Stacey (Erin Cummings, Spartacus: Blood and Sand) tries to keep control of the behind-the-scenes antics while Martin must wrestle with his head and heart. Will he descend deeper into New York’s underworld, or leave his newfound “brotherhood” behind?
Good for Netflix and Crackle for acquiring original, (at least semi) exclusive programming to add to their content libraries, but I’m a little disappointed Diesel didn’t distribute the series solo or through a YouTube network with a sizable audience within his presumed target demo that’s distributed high-profile web series before.
The Ropes’ initial rollout on subscriber-based platforms isn’t going to be much of a case study for how an individual with an eight-figure social media fan base can create, distribute, and garner a seven-figure audience for a web series (though it may provide a great case study for why such individuals should release content on Netflix and Crackle). I suppose we’ll have to wait until someone like Megan Fox catches the new media religion to see if it can be done.