Remember the 1995 film Hackers? I'm one of those people who's watched it about a dozen times yet still claims not to like it. I think the reason is that I don't really like metaphors, especially in such a literal medium as live-action video footage. Whereas most people might appreciate mathematical symbols floating around someone's head in order to capture the essence of how they romanticise computer code, I for one would rather see the characters exploit, say, a known vulnerability in the version of SSH installed on a server (a wish the Wachowski Brothers granted moviegoers in 2003 with The Matrix Reloaded). No matter how you try to make hacking look glamorous, the fact remains that hackers spend almost all of their time staring at reams of text on a flat screen.

For better or for worse, The Scene is the first TV drama that isn't just about Internet movie pirates, it actually looks like it's made for people in the hacking community. Almost all of the dialogue is in the form of text on computer screens, specifically on IRC channels and in IM clients, save for the occasional phone call or face-to-face conversation. Even the live-action footage consists of a webcam feed that's shown in a window that takes up less than a quarter of the screen. You don't really watch the show so much as you read it.

Despite how boring this may sound, The Scene is an interesting idea that's actually fairly well executed. Yes, it has a budget that makes Clerks seem epic, but that just gives it an edge of realism comparable to The Blair Witch Project or Cloverfield. Unlike Blair Witch, however, it's written well enough to draw you in, complete with cliffhangers that have you reaching for your BitTorrent client to leech the latest episode. What it lacks in budget it makes up for with characterisation, plot, and the novelty of both its medium and its Creative Commons license.

There's plenty to like about the story. It's about a group of people who have never met in real life, but who nevertheless keep in regular contact in order to release illegal copies of Hollywood movies on the Internet. Such shady characters obviously have a lot of opportunities for conflict, and the show's writer, Mitchell Reichgut, takes good advantage of this fact. They're self serving, lying, and paranoid, yet still loyal friends. The paranoia is with good cause, of course - some of them may not be all that they seem.

The Scene proves - to the people who like it, at least, myself included - that a good script is much more important than a big budget. Most importantly, it gives hope for anyone looking to make or even simply find a gripping show that's licensed under a Creative Commons license. Admittedly, it's not going to have any of the TV networks scared of the competition yet, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.

This is what Internet TV should be all about: trying out new ideas. I think it's safe to say that this one works well. I'd recommend it to the kind of people who already know how to download it, which is kind of the point. It's tailor made to the new distribution medium, not just in terms of delivery but also in its content. If you've ever watched a film or show you dowloaded from the Internet, it's a must.

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