Enlarge /. They want us to pronounce it "kwib-ee". We'll pronounce it "Kee-Bee" to annoy her. But as silly as the name is, the service is not that bad.
If you watch TV frequently, you may have noticed a significant change in daily and weekly series over the past month. TV teams have struggled to generate content without their usual tools or studios given corona virus shutdowns, and, gosh, it was sloppy. The results of most large networks showed problems with lighting, microphones, camera resolutions and general editing when hosts are filming from home.
Even at the time of printing, many of these shows still have uncomfortable pauses and silence, not to mention granular, compression-filled video feeds picked up by online chat platforms. Networks don't seem to know what to do in a world where "social distancing" means not recording in front of a live studio audience, and the results look pretty poor compared to the home movie stars on YouTube . Large television stations have long been accused of failing to understand the streaming landscape, and this accusation has come true all the more recently.
This brings us to the latest exclusive streaming service: Quibi. In contrast to most other streaming services of recent years, which were largely about which classic TV exclusive products you can secure, this was developed from a new series filled with celebrities, which has one thing in common: the "mini Sode "concept. Each Quibi video runs for a maximum of 10 minutes.
We know that there are serious questions here, and the most important is that a ridiculous acronym does not immediately disqualify a start service? (If this is the beginning and end of this review for you, we will not blame you.) But at a time when television, as we know it, is changing before our eyes, the long experimentation of this new service has changed proven with serendipity shown on the page. Quibi may not be for you, and I went into the preview catalog with great skepticism. But I was surprised at how charming the Scattershot lineup turned out to be.
But wait a minute, WTF is a "quibi" anyway?
Prepare your barf bags. Quibi is the result of two compressed words: "quick bite". Yes, okay, wait, erp, oof, hrm … sip. Okay, I can hold it together here. I hate this combination of words for several reasons, but most importantly because it undercuts the platform's greatest success.
The public selling point of "Quick Bite" television sounds like a lot of fast-paced, disposable videos that may be full of poor production values and clickbait concepts. Sure enough, one of the platform's starter series has surfaced quite a few times on the Ars Technica chat channel in the past few weeks, but not necessarily for good reasons. We privately made fun of Murder House Flip, which is about houses notorious for murder and crime … and then let decorators come in to fix the houses. All in nine minutes or less!
My assumptions worsened when I looked at the series list, which arrived without explanation. "Gayme Show." "Memory Hole, hosted by Will Arnett." "Cup of Joe with Joe Jonas." Pooh.
After getting access to Quibi's start list, which was shared in a dump of video files in a web browser (as opposed to the official Quibi app), I realized what was really going on here. Quibi is not an attempt to appease television by breaking whole episodes into tiny, idiotic pieces. No, Quibi is more of a surprise: an adult version of Sesame Street.
The MTV of yore, just shorter and better
Quibi's selection of the press preview was presented in a funky way: with portrait and landscape format side by side. When you watch the Quibi series on a smartphone, you will see very different changes depending on how you hold your phone. Here is the selective focus of Most Dangerous Game on Christoph Waltz in one scene.
The surprisingly funny Culture Hole places its retrospective picture-in-picture parts based on the orientation of your screen.
Some moments have completely different footage based on screen orientation, like Survive with Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones).
The orientation differences of other series are more subtle, like in Murder House Flip. The bodies were buried there if you were wondering.
Another zoom for the comedic effect in flipped.
Dance movements appear different in The Sauce depending on the screen orientation.
That doesn't mean that Quibi has a group of friendly faces that put concepts together with a letter of the day. Rather, all series producers have received the memo to "pace" the pace of an average sesame street, which, as you can remember, is somewhere between "a Muppet hanging out with a small child to learn and reinforce a stupid lesson" and "A camera team follows someone in their real life and takes their little things seriously."
Take the shape of pasta. In this series of miniature documentaries, a chef travels to remote corners of Italy to learn about forgotten pasta making techniques that are usually hidden in small villages and passed down from generation to generation. It's a sweet catch to see parts of Italy that you might otherwise never be interested in, and the pasta hours of the three episodes are actually quite appetizing. With a strangely specific premise, The Shape of Pasta avoids feeling like another damn TV cooking series. With each eight-minute piece, you can immerse yourself in a region, see its history, see its only prestige dish, and get rid of hell.
Or let's go with the Gayme Show, in which two comedians sarcastically compete against each other in a mixture of trivia questions and extravagant dance-offs. That would have drained me in a 22-minute format, but condensing this exaggerated, hellishly gay comedy show into eight-minute explosions means we get it all: laughing every minute and getting out at the right time.
Again and again I clicked on things that I would never have watched, such as a documentary series about concert production staff or quick dance-offs between street dance crews or mini-sods about aspiring high school athletes and getting away charmed. The "big" names on Quibi, on the other hand, didn't influence me that much, including MTV's nostalgic double strike from Singled Out (a 90s dating series, only now much better) and Punk & # 39; d (the) 00s string show, only now much shorter).
From tiny, child-friendly street cars to … oh … oh god
But it's also a strange lineup on the whole map, which means that you shouldn't consider Quibi to be the equivalent of a single TV channel. Quibi's taste and series concepts vary widely.
In a minute I watch a "street race" show where little kids drive hot cars in versions of expensive cars. Next time I'm going to Game of Thrones' Sophie Turner in an exciting screenplay series, Survive, which is divided into five mini-Sodes. But I couldn't survive the first eight minutes without stopping and leaving because a character's battle against mental illness was plotted as the character's bloody self-harm fantasies depict it. How did I get from "cute kids in wrong cars" to "dramatic actress who cuts herself" so quickly?
As long as you go to Quibi with this kind of warning, you'll be fine. Only Survive has a warning about "discretion of viewers with mental health problems" before each of its mini-sods, and the network is otherwise not a smorgasbord of self-harming content.
When I was over Survive's shocking intro, I felt otherwise overwhelmed by this "Quibi Film" approach. With a total of about 43 minutes, this series played more like a British TV special with a single, extra long episode. The same applies to the pleasantly silly flipped with Will Forte (SNL) and Kaitlin Olson (It's always sunny) – a quality series that is not looking forward to a few mini-sodas.
Quibi is at least able to deliver arbitrary series lengths instead of being tied to a time prescribed by television, which can prove more convincing if the service prevails when filmmakers and television producers find inventive ways to play with the format. At least one scripted series at start fits well with the Quibi premise: Most Dangerous Game, which quickly forwards to its Whackadoodle premise within four minutes. I mean four minutes after pressing the "Play" button without a long end sequence or character-driven display. Archetypes appear, and Liam Hemsworth immediately takes on Christoph Waltz's calm yet threatening acting. Right, let's get down to business. This service is not "slow-bi".
All in all, Quibi's preview kept me entertained so that I could recommend installing the generous 90-day trial version of the service at launch, although Murder House Flip was one of the platform's more boring options, "this could have been done on normal TV can "ultimately. After the trial ends, the service will cost $ 5 a month with ads or $ 8 a month without ads. Until then, we will see how the daily, message-driven content (not available in the preview) fits into the Quibi entertainment promise Developed around smartphone consumption. And in the meantime, I hope Quibi doubles this Sesame Street-like quality and boosts the nerdy content. YouTube is proof that the eight-minute format is great for gadgets, games, science, and health, which Quibi is painfully lacking at press time.
(Full disclosure: Cup of Joe wasn't included in my preview of the content, and despite my surprising appreciation for much of Quibi, I'm not ready to raise my hopes for it.)