At its digital content newfront presentation yesterday, online video platform Machinima unveiled a slate of upcoming "heroic" programming targeting fandom and gamer culture, and developed with industry heavy hitters such as DC Comics, Bruce Timm, Roberto Orci and Clive Barker.
In a presentation intended to generate interest from advertisers, and that included appearances by actor Orlando Jones and RoboCop (you read it right), CEO Chad Gutstein said Machinima is the ninth largest video entertainment platform in the United States, and the second most-watched programmer on YouTube. He added that "Machinima is back" with a slate that includes three DC Comics-related projects, an original series from Barker based on Internet Creepypasta stories and Orci's sci-fi/high school series set on Area 51.
Here's a breakdown of what we're most intrigued about from Machinima, based on the newfront unveiling:
Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles Season 2
The man behind modern classic series Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series, Bruce Timm, is bringing Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles to Machinima. In a darker, alternate universe, the good guys are not always so good. Superman is the son of Zod, not Jor-El, and raised by Mexican migrant workers. Wonder Woman hails from New Genesis, not Themyscira. And Batman is a vampire who feeds on criminals. Season one is already set to launch in June, but Machinima, Blue Ribbon Content and DC Entertainment have already begun development on season two, a 10-episode followup to the initial limited series. For season two, an African-American Mary Marvel will be introduced, as will Steel (looking a bit like Iron Patriot) and a very alien-looking Green Lantern.
In the promo debuted here, the audience saw a really cool clip of Batman biting into Harley's neck (turning her into a vamp?) and goateed Superman unleashing some wicked heat vision through a building in an apparent act of rage. Also, Lex Luthor figures in in a way that is still kept under wraps. Check out our gallery below for more of a look at the alternate 'verse versions of our heroes.
Clive Barker's Creepy Pasta
The sizzle shown off at the newfront used the horror legend's own monsters, such as Hellraiser's Pinhead, juxtaposed with Internet creations to sell just how cool this short-film series might be. Barker will curate and adapt submissions from the creepypasta community to create live-action stories based on viral urban legends such as Jeff the Killer, Slender Man and Ben Drowned. This looked really fun and scary, and Barker's name adds serious cred to the project. Hopefully, he will have such sights to show us.
The comic Dial H For Hero, about people gaining random powers via a mysterious telephone, has been a cult hit for DC Comics, and Machinima aims to update the concept for the smartphone era. A live-action action comedy, #4Hero focuses on a young woman named Nellie Tribble who uses an app that grants her superhero abilities for a short amount of time. According to the show description, "The problem is her super powers are dictated by whatever is trending on social media at that moment, and they are always only semi-useful."
High School 51
Area 51 is not just a place for aliens to crash, it's also where they've built a home and had kids -- kids who need to go to school. Created and produced by Roberto Orci (Transformers, Amazing Spider-Man 2, Star Trek, Sleepy Hollow, Lost, Fringe) and starring Orlando Jones (Sleepy Hollow, Evolution), High School 51 focuses on Dream Lake High School, where aliens, and one human, attend a sci-fi school hidden in the government facility. We didn't see much from the show, but this seems like the kind of series that would easily catch on. Jones took the stage to share his excitement about the project, and we'll share more about that in an upcoming interview.
DC's Hero Project
Also a partnership between Machinima, Blue Ribbon Content and DC Entertainment, the Hero Project is an elimination challenge series between eight contestants setting out to develop a live-action short based on DC's Starman comics. According to Machinima, they are "setting out to discover the next great creator for the world of DC Comics" and will introduce guest judges and celebrity guests on a panel with DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns to oversee the proceedings.
When RoboCop takes the stage to harass a Machimima exec, you can't help but pay attention, and the platform hopes he'll continue to draw chuckles with their short-form Web series based on the 1987 classic film (and borrowing from the old Fox show COPS). The concept is that Delta City is patrolled by standard-issue RoboCops, and viewers will tag along for the ride as they respond to calls in a mock-reality-TV series. According to Machinima, "The series is shot from the first person point of view of the RoboCop officers' heads up display, along with security cameras, dash-cams, and drones."
What do you think of Machinima's upcoming slate?