NBC will begin a new experiment, one that weds the Internet to old-fashioned television. Wouldn't you know that the series making its debut in February focuses on a wannabe writer.
The show will be run in short spurts on MySpace before hitting the airwaves. What could be the point, except to lure Internet users to their dusty, unused televisions? That's where the commercials are, the source of money that pays for the programs, and if no one is watching, the advertisers aren't interested in buying air time.
Quarterlife will have its own dedicated website where viewers can pick up streaming video of the program, but it gets better. The site is going to become a social network destination for "artists, thinkers and doers." That describes all of us in the literary community, doesn't it?
Blogs are hot, hot, hot, and the lead character in Quarterlife is blogging away. He wants to be a writer, so he writes what he knows, which is all about the fascinating lives of his twenty-something friends. Picture Seinfeld, but on line, or Friends, but with computers.
The show won't make it unless the lead's friends have some interesting events to report. Face it, a writer's life is not the least bit interesting. You sit in front of a computer, hands on keyboard, or you pick up a pen and put it to paper, and then you compose sentences. For at least an hour every day if you're to get anywhere. Who'd watch that on television, let alone on line?
There could be dramatic moments. The wannabe writer gets a request for a partial manuscript and experiences elation. His partial is rejected with a form letter that suggests the partial was never read and he experiences deep depression. Might as well blog about the mates, who are having a much better time of it, unless his colleagues are wannabe Broadway actors or dancers. Then everyone's having a miserable time of it, and there's a limit to the entertainment value.
What of the website, the social networking place? Will it be a variation on the Zoetrope theme that Francis Coppola put together? Will it be a new and improved forum akin to WritersNet? One thing is certain. It will be a new place for potential novelists to waste time when they should be writing.