At this point, it is fair to say that there is a specific genre of webseries featuring actors with varying levels of existing exposure playing slightly modified versions of themselves.
The best of these, in my opinion, remains Mayne Street on ESPN.com, but these things tend to be pretty subjective.
This certainly isn’t a genre birthed by the web. In fact, most of these series owe a certain creative debt to “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Of course, with the relatively low costs of creating a webseries, many of these stars are free to basically do whatever they want without the pressure of creating a hit.
One of the latest entries into this genre is “Keith Powell Directs a Play,” starring Toofer from 30 Rock. A funny premise in which a (we hope) egotisically enhanced version of Keith Powell sets off to direct a regional theater production of Uncle Vanya.
Here’s episode one:
Unfortunately, it looks like this series is facing a problem similar to so many attempts at episodic online content – a massive dropoff in viewership after the first episode. In this case, on YouTube, episode one has been viewed just over 100,000 times. Episode 2 sees that number drop to just over 10,000.
This will remain the biggest challenge facing webseries creators both large and small – how to maintain an audience after the buzz of episode one wears off.
Those who answer that challenge will be the winners.