Internet-based or not, it usually takes a while for a good idea to be consumed by Hollywood before inching its way through the system’s heated bowels and resulting in (an) actual movement. However, the excitement around Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog two years ago would have led me to guess a studio would go for the immediate regurgitation of said idea in the form of a clumsily thrown together rip-off, rather than an attempt for full digestion followed by the excretion of a nice steaming pile of project. In any event, Warner Brothers is moving ahead with two simultaneous efforts that will result in hour-long shows, exclusively for online distribution. They’re tapping two name directors, Bryan Singer and McG, to shepherd the projects into being.

What was once a pitch for a network television show, H+ has become the first of the two projects and it centers around a virus that tears through the world a decade from now, once we’re all connected to the internet directly and constantly. Bad Hat Harry, Singer’s TV shingle that produces House, will be behind the hour-long short, which is to be directed by Stewart Hendler (Sorority Row).

McG and his company Wonderland Sound+Vision will produce the short Aim High, which is an espionage story that takes place in a high school, focusing on a “teen operative simultaneously conducting hits and falling in love with a girl in his class.” I assume this will be going for a more Brick-ian semi-serious tone, unless they’re just looking for an Agent Cody Banks-styled kid’s short.

2011 is the target roll-out date, as these projects look to match more of a TV pace of production.

I must admit, as “progressive” as my views might be towards digital distribution, the antiquity of the traditional cable platform, etc., I remain skeptical that these kinds of small, one-off projects are going to do much trend-setting. If these two projects are wildly successful then we may finally see a gold-rush of sorts as the studios fall over themselves to produce serious web-content. More likely I think, is that these projects will do modestly and remain a very small concentration of effort. The real shift will continue to be the steady growth in the online distribution of traditionally produced content, until all of those services really are robust enough to start seriously hacking away at cable subscription numbers. It’s wise for WB to gear up this kind of production though, as one day the change will come, and they’ll be all the more ready for it.

Source | LA Times – 24 Frames

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