A few months ago, Yahoo! announced their first original series, Electric City.  And like all big, huge, announced web series, we were given a vague release date (I’m still looking for that Ben Stiller fake trailer series that was announced, oh, nearly a year ago).  Well, it looks like Yahoo! and producer Tom Hanks aren’t messing around, as the series is slated to hit a computer near you on Tuesday, July 17 on Yahoo Screen.  Also, as if the two shows were aware of each others’ presence, Machinima released a teaser for Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, another giant web show coming before the big game release.

A Glimpse at Two Very Important Web Shows: Springboards For Video’s Legitimacy

The thing about these two web shows is that a lot of video’s legitimacy as a big player for advertising dollars rides somewhat on the success of shows like this.  Halo is a tent-pole franchise and Hollywood has bandied about the idea of turning it into a movie, but it has been circling around in development hell for awhile now.  But with Machinima, one of the most popular YouTube channels behind it, it has a great chance for success.

And with a big name like Tom Hanks and his Playtone label getting behind a buzzed-about animated series, it seems like video has a lot to gain and perhaps learn where it stands when it comes to original, scripted entertainment.  It also is a big deal for Yahoo! as they try to compete with the big boys like Hulu and YouTube when it comes to landing those ad dollars.

Here’s Electric City‘s promo:

And here’s Halo: Forward Unto Dawn:

These are two very exciting web series vying for attention this year, and it will be fun to follow them as they release episodes.  Electric City is going to follow the Lost model and be a big interactive experience, going for life outside of just the episodes.

And according to Allen Debevoise, CEO of Machinima concerning Halo (via Tubefilter):

“This program has the potential to be for Machinima what Oz was for HBO,” he said, before he noted how the one-hour drama put HBO on the map as a major player in the original entertainment industry and laid a solid foundation for future HBO mega hits like The Sopranos.

So, indeed, there is a lot of interest in how these two series perform and they are much more than just interesting diversions looking for a small, devoted following.