The specter of House of Cards, the breakout Netflix series, hung over the NewFronts a few weeks ago. In fact, its arguable as to whether the show did more harm than good for the industry, since it radically elevated the expectation of what a "Web series" can be (since it’s really just a $100 million TV show that HBO didn’t produce; its delivery is digital). It’s hardly fair to compare HOC to anything AOL and Crackle are cranking out, at least currently.
But while the buzz for HOC was intense (as was the chatter among the members of the digital ad industry and digital press regarding the show), it’s nothing compared to Arrested Development, the other Web show Netflix is rolling out—this weekend, in fact.
According to the social analytics firm NetBase, a month before the Arrested Development premiere the show had generated 170,431 social media mentions, 77 percent of which were positive. That’s compared to 51,045 mentions of Cards a month before it debuted (68 percent positive).
OMFG cannot wait for Arrested development on netflix. this clip is so so wrong which is why the series is so right. youtube.com/watch?feature=…
— Josh Felser (@Joshmedia) May 19, 2013
Or course, Arrested fans have had seven years to get hopeful, excited and then ecstatic about the show’s long-awaited return. But it also appears that Netflix is gradually becoming a buzz hub for original series.
It’s come a long way. Remember Lilyhammer, the fish out of water show starring former Sopranos star Steven Van Zandt. The show received a mere 1,857 mentions a month before its February 2012 premiere. At least 70 percent were positive. More recently, the niche horror show Hemlock Grove generated nearly 9,000 mentions a month before its debut, 63 percent of which were positive.
Again, it’s hardly apples and oranges to compare Arrested Development, a resurrected former Fox show, to anything churned out by a YouTube native. But the comparison will surely be made.
Compare the trailers for Arrested Development and Lilyhammer: