Tonight marks the premiere of Quarterlife (10 pm/ET, NBC), a new series from Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick that chronicles the angst-ridden lives of creative twentysomething pals. But what sets the drama apart is its unique gestation — it was ultimately developed specifically for the Web.
According to Herskovitz, a Quarterlife pilot was originally filmed for ABC in 2005, but, dissatisfied with the results, he overhauled the concept. "It became more about a girl [Bitsie Tulloch's Dylan] who blogs and tells the secrets of her friends," Herskovitz explains. "It was a perfect vehicle for an Internet series." Herskovitz and Zwick took their self-financed pilot to MySpace, which began airing the show in 8- to 15-minute installments last November. The results attracted 250,000 viewers per webisode. Says Herskovitz, "Our theory was if you brought the same level of quality to the Internet that you bring to TV, people would watch it and advertisers would buy it."
NBC agreed, and, with the specter of a writers' strike, it licensed the series in September before its premiere on the Web. (On TV, the 36 webisodes will air as six hour-long stories.) Regardless of Quarterlife's origins, as they did in thirtysomething, My So-Called Life and Once and Again, Herskovitz and Zwick have used their gifts for realism and introspective dialogue to create a stylish, insightful portrait of an emerging generation that's worth logging on to.
For TVGuide.com's own take on Quarterlife, read our Strike Recovery Guide.
Check out Quarterlife clips in our Online Video Guide.
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