Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Horrors!: 4 Webseries that bring Halloween to the small screen

Big Bother is still on hiatus for a bit, so be sure to watch (and tell all of your friends to watch) the first 10 episodes if you haven't done so already. I can tell you that housemates will be "checking out" at a faster pace in upcoming episodes, be it by way of eviction or more dangerous challenges. But while you wait for the BB season to continue, check out our next selection of other great webseries. This month we feature horror webshows that set out to make you nervous, make you shiver and, some of them, even make you laugh.

Circle of Ei8ht

Today marks the official launch of Circle of Ei8ht, the new horror series from MySpace (and a list of other producing partners). Jessica (Austin Highsmith) has just moved into the Dante, a creepy apartment building whose residents include Ed (John Bishop), the superintendent who anticipates your EVERY need, Bale and Elaine (Josh Kelly and Katie Lowes), the expectant couple with TMI, and the always comforting stranger-with the camera, Randall (D.J. Qualls of "Hustle and Flow" fame). We first believe Jessica's only problem is neighbors with boundary issues. But by Episode 3, she'll learn what horrors lie in the Dante.

The Occulterers

Another long-awaited horror series releasing this week is Babelgum.com's The Occulterers -- a comedy of terrors. It features paranormal "experts" Jennica (Ellen Sandweiss of "Evil Dead"), Kevin ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer"'s James C. Leary), Chelsea (Amy Kline) and Herve (Not that one) Villechez (Hayden Black). The foursome investigates the dark secrets of Count Vampire's Castle and receive help from audience members who tweet about ghostly activity in various rooms. Black, who also produces, directs, and composes for The Occulterers, is widely known in the WebTV world for his webseries: Goodnight Burbank, Abigail's Teen Diary and the upcoming The Cabonauts.

Bumps in the Night

Continuing with the comedy-horror genre, we come to Strike.TV's Bumps in the Night. Got ghosts? Hard water? Look no further! Pool cleaners Emmet (Furey), John (Reha) and Greg (Benevent) discover a haunted swimming pool on their first day of work. Though John remains skeptical, it's hard to disprove paranormal activity when Emmett is dragged into the pool by unseen forces and Greg has his own wet nightmare. Unfortunately, catching their haunting on film will be difficult with a camera man afraid of ghosts. Furey is also the creator and star of the "Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-Long Blog"-inspired webseries: Fury of Solace.

Penny Dreadfuls

Finally, we return to true tales of horror with Penny Dreadfuls, another Strike.TV offering. We almost expect to see Rod Serling lighting a cigarette and offering his two cents in this Twilight Zone-esque collection of short films. Penny Dreadfuls is written and shot beautifully. But that's where the beauty ends. These tales of neglect, abduction and apocolypse have one thing in common -- their lovers suffer a gruesome fate. Creator James Arnall paints a grim picture of what love can do to castmates Carolyn Hennesy, Donald Agnelli, Christopher Collard and Michele Boyd (from The Guild).

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Dice vs. Mice: 4 Webseries That Turn Geek to Chic

Hey Big Bother fans, we're continuing to feature other webseries we hope you'll enjoy with a different theme each month. Wondering what's with WoW? Don't know your charisma from your constitution? Are you baffled by dice with more than six sides? Then RPG webseries can help. From the traditional table-top games like "Dungeons and Dragons" to the high-tech, online versions like "World of Warcraft," role playing games have provided a fountain of source material for some of the internet's most popular webseries (Upon completion of this bblog, you will be awarded 400 experience points).

The Guild

If you know WebTV, then you know “The Guild.” This viral series attained legions of fans and even a sponsorship from Microsoft. You may have caught creator/star Felicia Day in the Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-Long Blog sketch on last month's Emmy Awards (Look for "Dr. Horrible" in a future, musical-focused BBlog). The show centers around Day and her "guild" of online gamers, including Sandeep Parikh, whose other webseries, The Legend of Neil, was featured in last month's BBlog. Other cast members include Jeff Lewis, Robin Thorsen, Vincent Caso, Amy Okuda and new to this (third) season – “Star Trek: TNG”'s Wil Wheaton.


The "World 'Goblins & Gold' Role Playing Game Championship" is only a few short weeks away. The perennial second-place American team has undergone an upheaval -- their longtime team leader, Jonathan Drake (Webseries creator David Nett), has suffered a tragic, gaming-related accident. Maverick player Richard Wright (Rick Robinson) takes the reigns and tries to wrestle his new team (Nathan Mobley, James Paul Xavier and Gary Karp) into shape before the competition. Writers Nett and Andrew Deutsch pull us into the world of table-top RPG. "GOLD" was recently featured in the 2009 New York Television Festival.

Project Lore

If you're a serious gamer and interested in play rather than the players, then "Project Lore" is for you. This unscripted webseries provides strategy tips and other vital information for "World of Warcraft" fans. Each episode, we watch Joshua Brentano play
a Draenei Warrior, Zand Broumand play a Dwarf Hunter, Jeff Cannata play a Draenei Paladin and Brandon Sato play a Draenei Shaman. Several roles are also played by host/creator Alex Albrecht. Albrecht also co-hosts the podcast Diggnation and is a member of improv troupe Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em along with "Guild"'s Day, Lewis and Parikh (small world wide web).

Chaotic Good Online

Finally, we return to the table-top with newcomer "Chaotic Good Online." In this RPG webseries, the game of "Magic and Monsters" is ruthlessly played out by "Game Master" Bri (
Amy Vorpahl), Grant as "Fortinall" (Matthew Buchholtz), Taylor as "Nefariel" (Barbara King), Anthony as "Ra'Assinmatta" (Jake Regal) and Kyle (Ian Gary). Vorpahl also cowrote the webseries along with Essiem Buchholtz. Jason Axinn directs this geeky realm where "emotions run high and dice roll higher." Episodes 1 & 2 are available now. Keep an eye out for a "rockin'" third episode this fall.