Internet companies look to old television formulas as they create original content for the Web. As streaming television tries to compete with cable companies and television networks, companies like YouTube, Netflix and Hulu have commissioned original, Internet-only shows, hoping to add some unique value to their offerings.
Though the idea seems forward thinking, the actual content, it turns out, is not. Instead we get these blasts from the past:
Show: All the programming on myISH
Era: The mid '90s.
What It Reminds Us Of: Early MTV and VH1. Like a pre-Teen Mom, pre-Jersey Shore MTV, the channel, one of YouTube's 100 entertainment channels, focuses on just music (with a little cultural commentary on the side). "myISH is your channel for discovering NEW MUSIC DAILY. No matter what you're into at the moment (electro-pop? hip hop? garage rock?), our music-maniacal hosts will turn you on to just-released singles, new bands, never-seen performances, exclusive artist interviews, emerging YouTube stars, and more," explains the channels about section. And, heading over there, the channel has a bunch of music videos, commentary shows and countdown lists, reminiscent of VH1's weekly top 20 or MTV's TRL. And, it even has the veneer of the early Music Television station, notes The New York Times' Ben Sisaro. "MyIsh tries to capture the low-budget charm of early MTV, with sets that consist of a few painted pallets and three young hosts who trade unscripted zingers about the day’s pop-culture news," he writes.
Show: Larry King Redux (Real name TBD)
Era: Mid '80s
What It Reminds Us Of: Larry King Live. With the announcement happening just this weekend, the Carlos Slim Hélu-financed network to be has yet to fully explain the premise of the show. But, King did the same shtick for 25 years, so we imagine it will look something like his long running CNN talk show. Plus, King told The Times' Brian Stelter that the show would resemble his former program, with him returning to the interviewer's chair. "I run into people everyday who tell me they miss my show. And a lot of times I miss it too," he said.
Shows: Arrested Development, Lillyhammer
Era: The early-Aughts
What It Reminds Us Of: Arrested Development; The Sopranos. Netflix has taken two tactics for its original programming strategy, both commissioning completely, brand new programs, like Lillyhammer, and then getting the newest iteration of Arrested Development. Both shows remind us of favorite programs in the 2000s, with Arrested Development, obviously feeling a lot like the original Arrested Development and Lillyhammer superficially resembling HBO's The Sopranos. Not only does the latter feature Steve Van Zandt, who played Silvio Dante, one of that show's mobster characters, but he plays the same part, explains The Hollywood Reporter's Tim Goodman. "Van Zandt is essentially recycling his Sopranos character. It's all you can think aobut while watching him," he writes.
Era: The late-Aughts
What It Reminds Us Of: Parks and Recreation; The Office. Like those NBC programs, this show follows an odd slice of American life in that single camera mockumentary style that's so hot right now. Instead of Leslie Knope and her parks department we get campaign manager Tak (played by Jay Hayden) and a campaign staff for Wisconsin State senator.