More "The Pretender" on the digital horizon?

by Paul William Tenny

the-pretender.jpgI used to love The Pretender, but not while it was actually on the air. I'd catch an episode or two here and there, when I had the chance, but I wasn't dedicated to putting my butt in a chair once per week at the same hour back at that point. It wasn't anything close to a knockout hit, or anything, but I regret not giving it more of my time. Compared to some of the crap that has replaced it over the years and the stuff airing today, The Pretender seems like a step up.

So, want some more?
Yeah, me too, and we might just get it in the form of online only content. The trend of moving away from the television set to television is showing real signs of life lately. I remember reading that Sanctuary was the first Internet-only show that was produced by real professionals with expensive cameras and editing equipment, SAG actors, and WGA writers. These are the guys that gave us 10 years of Stargate SG-1, and four more of Stargate Atlantis.

Don't know what happened to it, but it was a sign of things to come.

Quarterlife was the next big thing (in so far as these things can be considered "big") and with the writers strike causing a complete dearth of content, NBC actually bought the rights to broadcast the show over the air. Additionally, we know that the Sci Fi channel is working on brand new Farscape "mini" episodes sometime down the line, though they probably won't be as long as Quarterlife or some of these other "shows" have been.

But what about The Pretender? Perhaps in a year of firsts for Internet-based shows, Jarod will mark the first TV series to be resurrected on the 'net with at least some of the original cast coming back for seconds:

"We created the show The Pretender, and we're working on bringing that back in a whole new form, in a digital form and in a digital platform," Mitchell said in an interview while promoting his SCI FI Channel miniseries Tin Man, which he and Van Sickle co-wrote and co-executive-produced.

Van Sickle hinted that the new Pretender could also feature original star Michael T. Weiss, who played Jarod, a man whose ability to assume other people's identities allowed him to assist those in need. The Pretender aired from 1996-2000 and also spawned two 2001 telemovies.

Yeah, it's not much to go on, but people this is a fast changing landscape where nobody knows what the limits are. We don't know how big of a budget ad-supported video can sustain, or how much advertisers are willing to spend for commercial space on Internet-only series. The only thing that is certain is that with potential comes people desperately willing to be the first to exploit it all.

Even if the first 500 Internet shows fail miserably, that's not exactly going to be very different from the world of broadcast television where most networks only salvage a single new show per season, two at best before cheap reality-based programming came into play, anyway.

I'm looking forward to this, and I'd happily sit through commercials (I'm obsessive about being able to fast forward through them on my DVR though) in order to see the content that I want to see versus the content the big media companies want me to see.

Lower budgets and shorter episodes are a good starting point to explore what is possible out here.
in Digital Media, Streaming Video


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