David Walton, Bitsie Tulloch, Kevin Christy, Michelle Lombardo, Maite Schwartz and Michael Foster, Quarterlife
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 qualit
Quarterlife by Elisabeth Caren/NBC
The when: The series makes its broadcast premiere on NBC Tuesday, Feb. 26. at 10 pm/ET. (Also see related story in Interviews & Features.)Why watch?: If you want to see where original TV content is headed in the next few years, Quarterlife will be a perfect introduction. Developed for the Internet in eight-minute webisodes that began airing last November on MySpace, Facebook and Quarterlife.com (among other sites), Quarterlife explores the trials and angst of six twentysomethings in Los Angeles. Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick, who are known for their sensitive and accurate portrayals of characters from shows like thirtysomething and My So-Called Life (isn't that enough reason for you to watch?), have created a world of blogging, modern technology-savvy people that grow on you with each episode. If you're in your twenties (or remember them well), you'll be able to relate to Dylan and her unrequited love and crazy boss issues, Debra's unhealthy dependence on her family problems,...
As you've probably read by now, quarterlife didn't begin as the web series it's been since last November, as well as a social networking site of some ambition beyond the show itself. As the potential fifth series producers Ed Zwick and Marhall Herskovitz would bring to ABC, after thirtysomething, My So-Called Life, Relativity, and Once and Again, ABC passed, and the producers decided their concept of a series exploring young adults' lives, just after college but before they've actually settled into full-fledged careers and other aspects of "grown-up" existence, would lend itself handsomely to a webisode format, five to nine minute segments rather than 42 or so before the commercial breaks are added. And since Zwick and Herskovitz love to feature characters addressing the audience directly, in voiceover or, as in the brilliant Once and Again, in segments in which the characters' inner monologue is represented by their speaking (or staring silently!) directly into the camera (in bla...