After years of being considered a lesser form of online video, web series are finally starting to get their due. The recent Mortal Kombat: Legacy series is going strong, attracting millions of viewers. The Guild has a total of 45 million views for its combined episodes, and has won multiple awards. And now The Confession, a Kiefer Sutherland-led web series about an assassin having a change of heart, has been given a movie deal from L.A.-based Image Entertainment.
The Confession is a ten-part series, with each episode running between 5 and 9 minutes. In it, Sutherland’s hitman character enters a church confession booth, and confesses his sins to a priest played by John Hurt. Much of the rest of the story is filled in through flashbacks.
The entire series is on Hulu, which means that we can’t really know how many viewers it’s had, but we can probably assume it’s a lot. There aren’t a lot of web series getting movie deals these days… it makes sense that it must have found some kind of audience. Plus, the official Facebook page for The Confession has over 24,000 fans.
Now, I guess it would be easy to detract from this accomplishment by pointing out that most web series don’t have major Hollywood stars in them. And that’s true. The Confession probably gained some audience members just on Sutherland’s pre-existing fame alone. So getting a movie deal isn’t maybe as impressive as if my neighbor and I started a web series that got a movie deal.
But it’s still impressive. It’s still an important development. The Confession never ran on television… it was created specifically for web audiences. And historically, that kind of serial content has struggled to find an audience. That this series was popular enough to warrant a feature film suggests maybe web series are gaining more acceptance among viewers.
Besides, over time… most viewers who tuned in because they already loved Sutherland would eventually move on if there wasn’t something engaging about the series.
Ultimately, viewers will watch what they think is good. It just seems to me that web series are shedding some of the labels the genre has carried for years and beginning to be seen as another legitimate source for quality video entertainment.