Quibi, the new micro programming streaming service from Jeffrey Katzenberg is up and running and like it’s choices in programs, the results are mixed. Instead of showing movies or TV series at regular length, Quibi offers bite-size episodes of many shows every day. Whether you are standing in line at the grocery store or waiting in the doctor’s office, you’ll have time to watch these series that run anywhere from five to ten minutes. If you are familiar with “webisodes,” you already have an idea on how this all works.
But Katzenberg is taking a big leap of faith with this project. It’s a gamble to be sure. For one, all of the programming is new. Well, there are a few that borrow ideas from previous productions or they are related to a specific network, but the point is, unlike most streaming platforms, there isn’t any “classic” TV series or syndicated content.
Quibi is not meant for the big screen. It’s meant for a really small screen. Was anyone asking for more content for their phone? (If this takes off, I’m glad I didn’t invest in a large flastscreen TV.) Quibi is pretty much relying on its star power for its success. And there are a lot of big (or big-ish) names appearing in the various projects including Liam Hemsworth, Chrissy Tegan, Chance the Rapper, Nicole Richie, Titus Burgess, Jennifer Lopez, Will Forte, Kaitlin Olson, Jerry O’Connell, etc. Still, it all comes down to content.
I’m not sure if the Quibi crew have a handle on who their audience is supposed to be. Or maybe there isn’t just one type of audience for the new service which would make sense since there are many different types of programming on here from sit-coms to thrillers and from game shows to documentaries, there is a little bit of everything. And you don’t have to worry about investing a lot of time into something that ultimately might not interest you.
One is for sure – this is not a place for families. A lot of the content is for “mature audiences only” (Interestingly, they can say the “s” word but not the “f” word) and nothing appears to be for kids, which is probably for the best anyway. The shows that seem to work the best are the ones that have a continuing story. Each epiosode plays out like a short chapter in a book and the trick here is you’ll have to wait another day to see what happens next.
So, here’s a rundown of the good, the bad and the ugly of Qubi with new additions added every day or so just like the service:
Thanks a Million
I wasn’t expecting to like this show as much as I do. Jennifer Lopez is the executive producer where she starts a “chain of kindness” by giving away $100,000 to someone in her life that made a positive impact on her life. The catch is that person is expected to give $50,000 of that money to someone else who make an impact in their life and that person is expected to give $25,000 of that money to yet another person. The cameras follow each interaction and it is terribly heart-warming. The best part of the pilot is when the little girl that Lopez gives her money to in turn blesses Lopez. Nine other stars follow suit (which makes a million) including Kevin Hart, Nick Jonas, Kristen Bell, Aaron Rodgers, Yara Shahidi, Tracy Morgan, Anthony Davis, Karlie Kloss and Gabriel Iglesias. The show is worth 8 minutes of your time.
The Most Dangerous Game
This thriller appears to be a modern take on Richard Connell’s story of the same name (which interestingly went into public domain this year. Coincidence?) Liam Hemsworth plays Dodge, a man who is dying and is drowning in debt. Christoph Waltz plays a rich man that offers him a huge payoff that will take care of his wife and unborn child after he dies. All he has to do is allow himself to be hunted by other rich men. It’s too soon to say, but this might be the best show on the streaming service.
This one feels like it was brainstormed at a dinner party that John Legend and Chrissy Teigen were attending with Chrissy telling some producer how much better she could do a court show. The show states that “the people are real” and “the cases are real” even if the judge is not. Chrissy listens to the people’s stories, she asks a few questions and then gives a verdict all in under seven minutes. The cases are dumb and show seems pointless unless you are a fan of Teigen, but Judge Judy this ain’t.
This “wacky” sitcom features Jann and Cricket Melfi (Will Forte and Kaitlin Olson) who have just lost their jobs becomes others could not capture their vision. (Jann was a middle school drama teacher and Cricket worked at a Home Depot-ish like warehouse.) Now they think that they have what it takes to become TV’s next great house-flipping couple and somehow find themselves renovating a Mexican drug cartel’s mansion. Everything about this is over-the-top silliness that just isn’t funny. Even if the script got a remodel, I’m not sure it would work.
This cooking competition show is just stupid but I’m sure it will find some fans. Hosted by Tituss Burgess, two contestants are blindfolded and placed in a chamber where some dish is litterally blasted into their faces. Then, the two have 30 minutes to try to recreate what was thrown at them in hopes of winning a large cash prize. The show also features two judges (one chef and one celebrity) who will decide which contestant came closest to recreating the dish. The show is loud, silly and takes cooking shows to an all new level – downward.
Gayme Show Gayme Show is another awful competition show, only with a lot more glitter and rainbows. I know that I’m not the target audience, but I just didn’t get this one at all. The show is hosted by Matt Rogers and Dave Mizzoni (and I have no idea who they are) and the contestants are two straight men who compete in a series of challenges to test their “gay knowledge.” In the end, it seems that the goal here is for one to pretend to be more “gayer” than the other in hopes of receiving the title, “Queen of the Straights.”
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.