And just like that: everyone and their mother is getting in on the digital series game. First came the announcement that Jason Katims’ two stalwart series — Parenthood and Friday Night Lights — were getting the tiny tube treatment, and now it seems that several other NBC series are getting the same in the wake of their series’ hiatuses, including Parks and Recreation, Grimm, and Chicago Fire. It’s almost as if the networks are taking the Internet seriously or something.
Keeping up with the Internet Joneses is serious business, and executive vice president of digital media at NBC, Rob Hayes, believes that tapping into preexisting audiences’ desire for content on content on content will secure them during hiatus moments. "We worked closely with the writers on these series and want to give our audience a chance to stay in touch with their favorite shows. These digital series provide a great way to give our loyal audience even more original programming.” All series will be available on Hulu, NBC.com, and YouTube.
The series in question include several things work getting excited about. Including the aforementioned Parenthood/Friday Night Lights mash-up, there will also be a Parks and Recreation spin-off featuring lovably incompetent nincompoop Perd Hapley, a training-centric Chicago Fire digital mini, and a Valentine’s Day themed series for Grimm. Let’s do a rundown of each, shall we?
Friday Night at the Luncheonette
The most anticipated of the three will undoubtedly be the Katims’ mash-up. Featuring Mae Whitman’s Amber and Max Burkholder’s Max putting in overtime at the Luncheonette, the duo will find themselves in the presence of FNL greatness by the way of Jesse Plemmons’ Landry Clarke (taking a break from making meth with Walter White) and Billy Riggins (known in the real world as Derek Phillips) and Clarke’s now-iconic group, Crucifictorious. Things take a turn for the rollick-y after the band shows up and causes some sort of ruckus, forcing Amber to try and hold down the fort while Max documents the whole shebang. The four-part digital series will kick off on Thursday, February 13th.
The Hapley Group
Centering around Pawnee, Indiana’s iconic and incompetent newsman Perd Hapley (Jay Jackson), the web series will also feature some other fan favorite side characters, including radio hosts Crazy Ira (Matt Besser) and The Douche (Nik Kroll), as well as Joan Callamezzo (Mo Collins), and a new character entirely, Mike Patterson (Seth Morris). The incorrigibly crazy cavalcade of kookery will spend their time discussing the hot topics going on in Pawnee. Get ready for a lot of declarative statements and audacious sound effects — and probably Joan hitting on whoever this newbie Mike Patterson turns out to be, because Joan. The series will hit the web on Thursday, February 20th.
I Am a Firefighter
The details are scarce on the Chicago Fire web series, but we do know this much: it will follow Monica Raymond’s character Dawson as she is put through her paces when a sudden emergency derails her firefighter training. This series debuted today and you can watch the first installment below.
Love is in the Air
The Grimm-centric series has a bit of a lighter premise to it — though who knows for how long that’ll last — as it follows Rosalee and Juliette (Bree Turner and Bitsie Tulloch, respectively) as they and their lady friends gather ‘round for a Valentine’s Day spa party that, woopsies, gets a bit turned upsidedown thanks to a love spell. Appropriately, the series debuts on Friday, February 14th.