Streaming giant Netflix has become a home for originally produced content and with the success of "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," a place that can embrace a program discarded by its original network. Now with the limited series "Residue," it's also become a place for projects that are best described as "proof of concept productions."
"Residue" consists of three 45-minute episodes that feature "Game of Thrones" actors Natalie Tena and Iwan Rheonand. The story centers around the aftermath of a devastating explosion in London and the government conspiracy that might be concealing the truth.
Here's the official synopsis:
Renowned photojournalist Jennifer Preston is investigating the aftermath of a freak explosion of unknown origin at the center of her hedonistic city. Known simply as ‘the Catastrophe,” this shocking tragedy has left behind a festering wound on the city’s psyche: a several-square-mile Quarantine Zone, known as the QZ, of evacuated buildings and abandoned streets. Nobody in, nobody out!
With unexplained and increasingly bizarre acts of violence happening across the city, Jennifer begins to see strange ephemeral phantoms in her photographs. She soon becomes obsessed with the idea that a paranormal phenomenon has been unleashed. Jennifer’s investigations become a race against time to uncover the truth before her career, and eventually her own life, are in danger...
It's a gripping and well-made project, but it's also interesting because of the multi-format nature of how it was released.
The series was originally written and shot as a feature film, and it got a limited release in that format in the U.K. earlier this month. But during post-production the decision was made to also release it as a limited run series, in hopes of driving enough interest to finance a full ten-episode season. Creator John Harrison then wrote some additional scenes to bring in the mythology that would drive a full-blown series. And the results are the three episodes now available globally on Netflix.
It's a natural progression of the TV business and Residue's path to the audience is a mash-up on Amazon's "let's produce a bunch of pilots and see what sticks" and a traditional series order. If it works, expect to see other independently-financed TV shows coming to streaming media sites in hopes of becoming the next buzzworthy TV series.