The New York Times reports that Internet television will be taken to the next level this fall by the show ‘Quarterlife.’ Rather than taking the traditional television-pirated YouTube copy-DMCA notice-possible posting at network’s video portal or empty promises route to the Internet for professional video content, ‘Quarterlife’ episodes will premiere on MySpace. The following day, they’ll be available on quarterlife.com, and within a week “generally available on the Web” (I guess this means on YouTube).
Airing Sundays and Thursdays starting in November, the times seems to think the show marks the beginning of a new era for Internet shows. LonelyGirl15 became popular while posing as an authentic vlog; it was only after the show became popular that it was revealed that it was a professional, scripted production. (Incidentally, ‘Quarterlife’ features LonelyGirl15′s character Aunt Alex, Bitsie Tulloch.)
However, I’m not sure the Times makes a good case for ‘Quarterlife’ being substantially different from previous Internet shows (if not LonelyGirl15, then at least is successor, Kate Modern). It actually might hurt the case for Internet TV with this quotation:
The “Quarterlife” series is based on a pilot Mr. Herskovitz and Mr. Zwick created several years ago called “1/4 Life,” which was rejected by ABC. (Mr. Herskovitz rewrote it; it still was not accepted.) “In television, you are regularly humbled by your own work,” Mr. Herskovitz said.
By creating programs for the Web, Mr. Zwick and Mr. Herskovitz can take advantage of union agreements that allow actors and writers to work on terms more favorable to producers than those governing network programs.
So, really, the Internet isn’t the home for daring new shows—it’s just the shows that TV rejected, and for people who want to avoid unions. Yeah, this is really a big step forward. Right.