As I'm sure you've heard by now quarterlife was a huge failure on network television. Those of you who read my unfavorable review of the show last week know that I didn't see much of a future for the show anyway and yet, I feel that the show was still treated unfairly by the people in charge, i.e. NBC.
Producers Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz designed this show to appeal to a very specific audience, men and women in their mid-twenties who spend a lot of time online. Now, that may seem like a very small demographic if you're a 40-year-old TV addict like me. but I actually know people in their mid-twenties who don't watch network TV. One of my friends, who is chronically hip insists that the only time he watches network television is online or on DVD. Aside from making me feel very old, his revelation cleared up some things for me.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Herskovitz told an audience at Harvard Business School that after watching quarterlife on the big screen, he realized that the show about twentysomething angst should have never aired on NBC. In fact, within three minutes, he knew that the tight shots and intimate stories he and his partner Ed Zwick used were inappropriate for a broadcast network show; it might have worked better on cable, he thought, but not on NBC.
(S01E01) Generally, when I watch a new show, I try to give it the benefit of the doubt before I make a decision. First episodes of new shows are often full of bad choices. Poor casting, too much exposition, bad hair styles. all of which are usually remedied by the second episode. With that in mind, i have to say that I found the first ten minutes of quarterlife incredibly irritating. First of all, the title and premise of the show is insulting to me. I assume since Zwick and Herskovitz already did thirtysomething, they were hesitant to call this show twentysomething. Unfortunately, that's all the show is, a bunch of friends in their twenties, trying to make their mark.
Herskovitz and Zwick reportedly launched the series (about a twentysomething video blogger and her friends) directly on the web in order to maintain complete creative control. However, after viewing the series online , I began to suspect that quarterlife simply wasn't good enough for primetime. In fact, I doubted it would ever gain a strong fanbase or end up on network television.
Shows how much I know.
I mentioned last week, that I am a huge fan of Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick (creators of thirtysomething, My So-Called Life, and Once and Again), and I was eagerly anticipating the launch of their new webseries, quarterlife. Lots of people have talked about producing programming for the internet, but nobody has been able to launch a completely original successful series with mass appeal and excellent production value -- yet. So, I put a lot of faith behind the professional team of Herskovitz and Zwick, and applauded their bold experiment.
Unfortunately, their experiment, at least to me, went horribly wrong.
Luckily, Herskovitz and Zwick are back with a brand new series, called quarterlife. The series, however, will not currently be available on ABC or any other network. Herskovitz and Zwick are bringing this new series to life on the web. And in a recent L.A. Times item, Herskovitz explains why they've left traditional television behind.
Herskovitz believes "the business of television has become an exclusive club, closed to new members," which has some producers "turning to the internet to have a voice."
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