Wachowskis siblings jump on Internet streaming bandwagon with Sense8 for Netflix
There’s a lot of exciting new TV shows headed your way in the coming months, including a new season of Arrested Development, a TV adaptation of Zombieland, and a second season of House of Cards.
The interesting thing is you won’t find any of these TV shows on NBC, ABC, or even HBO. All three shows are going to debut online through premium video-streaming services Amazon and Netflix, and there are more on the way.
The latest addition is a new Sci-Fi series called Sense8 from the Wachowskis, the sibling duo behind The Matrix trilogy and V for Vendetta. It’s not clear what the new show will be about, but it’s being described as a “gripping global tale of minds linked and souls hunted.”
The Wachowskis will team up with J. Michael Straczynski, creator of the Babylon 5, for the new show, which will debut on Netflix in late 2014.
Every day it seems that another online video service is announcing original programming. All told, Amazon has 13 TV pilots (including six children’s shows and the aforementioned Zombieland adaptation) lined up for the coming months.
Viewers will get to watch the pilots for free and review them; Amazon will then take customer feedback into consideration as it decides which shows will become full-season productions.
Other original content
Sense8 joins other original content on Netflix that includes House of Cards, the new season of Arrested Development, and 2012’s Lillyhammer starring Steve Van Zandt.
Hulu, which began producing original content in 2011, is currently pushing a new series from director Richard Linklater called Up to Speed as well as The Awesomes, an animated series from Saturday Night Live’s Seth Meyers and SNL alumnus Michael Shoemaker.
The big push from online services to create their own content comes at an interesting time for the big TV networks and specialty channels.
Once the only distribution channel for new shows, broadcast television now finds itself increasingly at odds with its own audience.
For instance, one of the advantages of online programming is that it can cater to the DVR-centric lifestyle of many viewers. One example: Netflix released the first season of House of Cards all at once, allowing binge viewers to watch as much or as little as they wanted in one sitting. The company reportedly plans to do the same thing in May with Arrested Development.
Broadcast TV, on the other hand, requires you to wait for a new show every week and in some cases limits the availability of previous episodes during the premiere run of a new season. HBO is the most notable legacy broadcaster dealing with this issue thanks to the popularity of its hit show Game of Thrones, which starts its third season Sunday.
GoT earned the dubious distinction of being the most-pirated TV show of 2012, and HBO hopes to counteract that trend by releasing new episodes to worldwide audiences soon after their U.S. debut.
But that won’t really help Americans thirsting for more HBO, especially cord cutters.
To help make it easier to get HBO content stateside, there are reports that HBO is toying with the idea of decoupling the HBO Go streaming service from traditional cable subscriptions.
Disney-owned ABC is also looking at bowing to the desires of an increasingly online audience with a new live-streaming app for mobile devices, according to reports. But ABC’s plan would still require a cable subscription similar to streaming apps from other Disney channels including ESPN.
On-demand streaming may be the future for original content, with Netflix and Amazon showing the way. However, popular content producers, including HBO and the major networks, are still stuck between the old business model—deals with cable companies and big advertising contracts—and the new individual subscriber model growing in popularity online.