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Web Comedy Backpackers To Make CW Seed's First Digital-To-TV Leap
While independent cinema has long been the way for filmmakers to get their names out in Hollywood, television has matched that creative model in recent years by utilizing the rapidly expanding library of web series flooding the Internet. The CW network created its own breeding ground for talent through their CW Seed website, currently home to seven digital series, and their first full-length crossover project will be the destination-jumping buddy comedy Backpackers, which received a 10-episode order and will air on The CW this summer. I realize the prospect of a CW sitcom brings horrific laugh track humor to mind, but this is surprisingly enjoyable and largely unlike anything they’ve aired in the past.
The first four Backpackers episodes will contain footage from the already existing mini-sodes, which center on best friends Brandon (Nikita’s Dillon Casey) and Ryan (Titanic’s Noah Reid) trekking across Europe on a pre-wedding agreement that Noah and his fiancé Beth (Blue Mountain State’s Meghan Heffern) made to live out their final fantasies while separately abroad. The problem is, Ryan reneges on the idea almost immediately, and he and Brandon go from city to city trying to find her. The six newly-produced episodes work in a plot where Ryan’s novelist dreams are within reach after his lost journal gets published online, only he has to first track down the person who stole the journal to begin with. For that hunt, the guys team with Brandon’s slacker brother Andrew (Reign’s Giacomo Gianniotti) on a trip from Thailand to Canada.
Oh, and of course the guys' path will be peppered with lots of pretty ladies, handsome fellas, sexual humor and uncomfortable situations. It seems unlikely that a trip to Amsterdam for easy weed jokes will get left out. Still balking at me for calling the show surprisingly enjoyable up top? Judge for yourself in the first two episodes below. (And find the rest here.)
Backpackers is making the web-to-TV transition through producer Jay Bennett, though it’s not clear if writers A.M. and Max Reid (Todd and the Book of Pure Evil) or director Josh Levy (Locker Room) will be back to take over their previous duties. To correspond with the fictional show, the CW Seed is producing a digital travel series called The Real Backpackers, wisely making the most out of their travels to show viewers where to find the best food, drinks and parties in all the locations you see in the series
Chances are this won’t be the last you hear of CW Seed either, as the press release quotes two execs using forms of the word “incubate” when referring to the service. It’s a good way for the drama-heavy channel to branch out into comedy, similar to how it has recently embraced science fiction so firmly. Does that mean the upcoming Veronica Mars spinoff may possibly have a home on TV one day? Let’s make that happen, marshmallows.
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