Daisy Dons Her Critic's Cap
August 21, 2008 7:46 AM
Last week on Twitter I invited followers to submit one episode of a Web series for me to review in TVWeek. The rules were simple. I’d take the first five submissions. I didn’t specify who could submit shows; just that you needed to be fast. Some were submitted by the show’s star, some by the show’s producer and some simply by fans. I’ll run this contest every week or so on Twitter.
I’m not going to review the Web shows according to my personal taste because taste is completely subjective and what makes me laugh may make you yawn. I’ll instead critique the show’s presentation, explication, and potential market.
"Mahalo Daily": The episode submitted covered BestFest, a student film festival for high school and college students. “Mahalo Daily” has always been a well-produced show and remains so with new host Leah D'Emilio, but the show seems too broad. "Mahalo Daily" bills itself as a pop culture show. That description has become catch-all Internet lingo for “permission to cover whatever you want,” so I’m not entirely sure who the audience is. That said, "Mahalo Daily" continues to pull in sizable numbers.
"Directors Notes": The show is a combination audio podcast and Web video show. The audio podcast is an in-depth interview with an independent film director, while the video portion is a compilation of clips and scenes from those movies. As a result, the show feels like a well-constructed documentary—because it is. The problem is that the point of the show isn’t clear to me at first. This could be solved by a simple explanation at the start of each episode. This combo audio-video show would be most appealing to hard-core independent film fans and filmmakers. I suspect the audience will be most drawn to the audio portion, especially since host MarBelle with his British accent is easy to listen to. (Sorry, you'll have to go to the Web site to sample the video.)
"Scam School": I have to admit, this episode made me smile a lot. Host Brian Brushwood teaches bar tricks for viewers to scam free drinks. But in this edition, he plays puzzle games with a cute woman at the bar. The lower-thirds are like winks to the audience: “Encouragement is key even if the answer is wrong” and “Always appear helpful.” This show is so clearly hitting in the sweet spot for young men in their 20s, it seems like a sin if they don’t watch.
"Web Drifter": Host Martin Sargent travels around the country and visits the people behind some of the most outlandish sites on the Internet, including one run by a man who dresses only in leather, rubber and vinyl and maintains a log of which leather outfits he has worn every single solitary day. OK, this is a little weird. And it’s definitely explicit. But watching this episode is kind of like rubbernecking: You really can’t take your eyes off it. “Web Drifter” is definitely for people who aren’t squeamish, aren’t judgmental and are interested in the underbelly of the Internet and of, well, people.
"Bottles, Blends and Brews": Host and creator Zack Luye provided a sneak preview for TVWeek readers of this new show rolling out this week. The show is a weekly review of teas, sodas and other non-alcoholic beverages. The show is targeted to beverage aficionados. The show has potential but needs to be shortened to about five minutes or less. If we can see more of the cool production moments (like when he fast-forwards the tea being brewed) and shorter reviews, the audience can grow. Luye said future episodes will be five minutes or less.