As announced this spring, TheWB.com has finally launched! Basically, it’s a resurrection of the original WB network, but entirely online. They’re streaming full episodes of classic WB series, as well as Warner Bros. shows like Friends (and some random FOX shows like Firefly)… as well as original web series, like the reality show A Boy Wearing Makeup, and scripted shows like Sorority Forever.
Even if you’re not a WB fan, this is interesting news. As TV evolves and migrates to the Internet, this is the biggest yet attempt to create a legitimate TV network online. Sure, NBC, ABC, and most other networks have websites streaming shows (and sometimes original content). But most of those sites are designed to drive viewers back to the original TV distributor. (In fact, this spring, in a move of sheer stupidity, the CW tried removing streams of its hit show Gossip Girl in hopes of forcing viewers back to the network. It failed.)
But theWB.com is not only well-funded with a certain degree of built-in audience, it’s branding and positioning itself as a destination for well-produced young adult programming.
Now, to be fair– it’s still in beta stage, and the interface still feels a little clunky. The streaming isn’t great… it’s slow and herky-jerky. Having said that… I still just sat here and watched “Witch” from Buffy season one. Damn, I miss that show. (Side note: all you TV-writers… wanna learn how to write great TV? Study the shit out of Joss Whedon.)
Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see how– or if— thewb.com helps advance TV-web convergence. But in the mean time, at least we can we visit Sunnydale again.