quarterlife is premiering on NBC so maybe it’s time to take a look at what they’ve been doing on the web.
quarterlife is the product of writer-heroes Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick who gave us two landmark tv series: thirty-something and My So Called Life. Their web drama series has been available since November. There are currently 32 web episodes on line. New episodes are posted to the web every Sunday and Thursday at midnight.
The web episodes range in length from about 7 minutes to over 10, not counting the 7 second title sequence and the 1:20 of tail credits. Every six episodes share a title, which means that a web episode is the equivalent of one act of a television hour.
quarterlife is the story of a group of twenty-somethings grappling with the beginnings of their careers and with their relationships. It’s something that I’m a sucker for; emotional porn. Herskovitz, who wrote the first (6) episode(s), is a master at coming in close on the feelings and having every character talk about them.
The show is about seven friends. Herskovitz quickly establishes the bonds between each of the characters and also the tensions between them. Dylan shares an apartment with Debra. Debra is going out with Danny who works with his best friend Jed. Jed is in love with Debra and Dylan is in love with Jed. Jed and Danny are trying to make commercials, Jed wants to be artistic, Danny wants to satisfy the client. And everyone talks about how they feel and tries to reveal the truth about themselves and each other.
What follows is part of an exchange in Part/Act 5 between Dylan and her third flatmate, the beautiful but emotionally stunted would-be actress, Lisa:
Dylan: A job is where you check your soul at the door and do the bidding of people who are trying to exploit humanity.
Lisa: Say that again.
Dylan: Where you give up your dignity in order to help strip others of theirs; where your greatest asset is inauthenticity. That’s a job.
Lisa: You know you make me mad.
Dylan: Because I blogged you?
Lisa: Because you walk around acting like a victim when no one’s ever done anything to you. Nobody can do anything to you because you’re the toughest person I’ve ever met.
There are six story threads running through the first hour/6 web episodes. Jed and Danny are making their first commercial. Dylan is experimenting with a video blog and using it to reveal her friends’ secrets. Lisa’s acting teacher tells her she doesn’t know who she is and isn’t in touch with her feelings. Debra and Danny are planning to move in together, but he appears to have cold feet. There’s a story line about Dylan at work and then there’s the major love triangle with Jed in love with Danny’s girlfriend, Debra and Dylan in love.
Online, quarterlife is part of larger site that includes a social network, taglined “A community for artists, thinkers and do-ers”. You can join and put up a profile page, much like your profile on Facebook. You can also look at the characters’ profiles, their blog entries and video uploads.