Stephen Spielberg, a man who thinks that just because a film can be streamed to a TV means it’s a made-for-TV movie, is officially becoming one of the kids! His baseball cap is on backward, and he’s sitting the wrong way on a chair, ready to “rap” with the youths. You can call him The ‘Berg for short. That’s how you know he’s cool now.
The ‘Berg knows kids love a good spookin’, so he’s begun writing a short-form horror series–but get this: You can only watch it at night!
Set to launch as a flagship program on yet another new streaming service called Quibi, Spielberg will write the series in 10 to 12 short chunks, and a countdown timer will stand on the app’s screen awaiting sunset. Once, the sun is officially down (in your geographic area, I assume), the show will be viewable. At the first shade of sunrise, however, it will vanish into the ether once more. Spielberg describes it as “super scary,” so take it as a given that you’ll poop yourself a bunch.
The Quibi app itself doesn’t strike me as a service that will float for very long, however. It sounds like something a bit willfully ignorant to YouTube’s starting scene when short-form fiction series were all the rage. Its founders very much push the idea that telling a story in under-ten-minute chunks is an idea that’s never been done before which will somehow create an entirely new medium for creators to make use of.
Short-form series have dominated the internet since its very beginning, but bafflingly according to founder Jeffery Katzenberg, we’re not even supposed to refer to Quibi series as short-form (even though showing us an entire story in short pieces is the definition of short-form). He likes to capture the imagination of the young people by comparing it to the writing of Dan Brown.
“Dan Brown has spoken about having these 464-page novels with very short chapters, so that if his readers didn’t have 30-40 minutes to sit down and read a big section, they could still have a good reading experience with however amount of time they had,” he said.
I get where he’s coming from, but using something like The Da Vinci Code to explain the lives of young people really strikes as a tone deaf we’ve-only-looked-at-demographics sort of approach. Quibi’s subscription is also supposed to be $5-a-month with ads (on seven-minute videos?) or $8 without. Those are kind of steep prices in such a crowded market, and I wouldn’t expect a whole lot from the service at this point.
Also, it sounds like Quibi will only be available on mobile devices, so I guess you’ll have to crowd around the ol’ iPad if you want to watch Spielberg’s latest horror outing with friends.
Spielberg never struck me as much of a horror guy. Sure, Jaws and Poltergeist are both entertaining and tense, but neither is “super scary.” My opinion doesn’t matter in this case, though, since I’m always in bed by 9:00 and will never pay five buckaroos to watch ads before a short video. That’s dumb.
The series, currently titled Spielberg’s After Dark (which conjures exactly the image I want) will launch at the same time as Quibi sometime next year.