Quibi, the long awaited and much-mocked streaming platform dedicated to short-form entertainment, finally launches on April 6. (That is, assuming a lawsuit doesn’t derail the launch.) I don’t think anything they have on tap will top Daniel Spencer’s TikTok, but I also think a short-form streaming platform is a smart idea. Have you met a teen? They LOVE internet videos, and Quibi is basically fancy internet videos. Will it appeal to teens? We’ll see, but at least someone is trying to meet the younger audience where they live. Quibi’s marquee show at launch is Chrissy’s Court, which I expect to be their biggest hit when they go live. But there are many other shows, scripted and unscripted, coming to Quibi, so let’s take a look at a sampling of Quibi’s premiere shows, whether the first month starts next week or some indeterminate time in a post-lawsuit future.
Quibi’s content comes in two formats, scripted and unscripted. Either way, shows drop in 7-10 minutes increments, which, to be honest, seems a LOT kinder to unscripted shows than scripted ones. But they have some interesting things on their scripted slate, including…
You certainly can’t accuse Quibi of skimping on talent when every project is stocked with A-listers. #FreeRayshawn stars Stephan James and Laurence Fishburne, and it’s produced by Antoine Fuqua. It has a The Negotiator crossed with The Hate U Give vibe.
Maybe it’s my current, borderline desperate need to laugh talking, but it seems like Quibi’s bite-sized format is more forgiving of comedies than it is drama and action. Case in point: the best trailer they have for scripted shows is Flipped, a comedy starring Will Forte and Kailtin Olson. Not only is that a great casting combination—they’re both GREAT physical comedians—but I can actually wrap my head around how this will work in ten minutes or less. It’s basically a sketch show that builds up one ongoing sketch. (Also, I wish we had a trailer for Anna Kendrick’s Dummy, due later in the month, but alas, we do not.)
When I first saw this teaser, I thought it was a revival of 24, and now I think 24, with its “real time” format, would work very well on Quibi. Probably better than The Fugitive.
Most Dangerous Game
Someone in the casting department understands Christoph Waltz’s sexy yet stern professorial appeal. Unfortunately, he is not the star of this adaptation of The Most Dangerous Game, Liam Hemsworth is.
I’m already having anxiety dreams about plane crashes, I don’t need to watch something about plane crashes, too. I don’t DO plane crashes. That said, this is the best looking non-comedy scripted show trailer Quibi has released so far. Also, Sophie Turner’s lesser half, Joe Jonas, has a Quibi show, too, Cup of Joe, but there is no trailer yet.
This is where it seems like Quibi is destined to shine, though they could probably pay TikTok teens a fraction of what they’re paying Hollywood stars and get at least as many promising shows. Quibi is launching with 50 shows, so you can check out their site if you’d like to see the full calendar. This is just an amuse bouche.
Elba vs. Block
Idris Elba pulled an Adam Sandler and got a production company to pay for his hobby. Clearly imspired by Top Gear, Elba vs. Block pits the actor against professional driver Ken Block—aka Top Gear’s “Officer Block”—in a series of rally tests. I would watch an entire documentary about getting this show insured.
Fierce Queens with Reese Witherspoon
A recent episode of Show Your Work was all about Reese Witherspoon and her empire, and since she is a legit mogul, OF COURSE she has a show on the newest streaming platform. Fierce Queens is a nature documentary focused on the matriarchs of the animal kingdom—or queendom, as Reese would have it.
I Promise is a docu-series about the first year at Lebron James’s I Promise School in Ohio. This looks like the uplifting spirit booster we need right now. The question is, will enough people subscribe to Quibi for it to make a difference?
Murder House Flip
I debated including this one, because it strikes me in very bad taste. I love real estate blogs and true crime, but Murder House Flip, a reno show dedicated to murder houses, is the worst possible combination of those two things. It’s gruesome tourism and exploitative, and they should really rethink the “maybe we’ll find a body!” tone of this trailer.
NightGowns with Sasha Velour
This trailer doesn’t really explain what NightGowns is—if you don’t already know who Sasha Velour is, what are you supposed to get from this?—but it’s a behind-the-scenes documentary about Sasha updating her drag revue into a full-blown stage show. It’s obviously meant to appeal to fans of Drag Race, but I’m still wondering who, exactly, is subscribing to Quibi.
Chance the Rapper takes over Punk’d, which sure, okay. He’s got a twinkle in his eye that supports it. But nothing will ever, EVER, top the time Justin Timberlake got punked.
Speaking of MTV revivals, Keke Palmer and Joel Kim Booster host a new version of Singled Out. Booster also has a second show in development at Quibi called Fire, described as a modern-day Pride and Prejudice set on Fire Island. That sounds more interesting than Singled Out.
Skrrt with Offset
At least this show acknowledges its Top Gear connection up top. Another car show, this time starring Offset—and featuring a glimpse of Cardi B in the trailer—Skrrt basically looks like Offset got Quibi to send him to one of those rich people luxury car camps. Hey, Quibi, have I ever told you about my abiding interest in pirates and maritime history? Send me to the Caribbean and I’ll shoot an hour’s worth of footage—that’s six episodes!—about where pirate ships might be sunk.
Thanks a Million
Another one of the uplifting set, this is a show where celebrities give people who inspire them money, and then immediately take half of that money away. I mean, technically the deal is the person has to “pay it forward” by giving half their money to someone who inspires them, but really, this is like watching someone win the lottery and then pay taxes.
You Ain’t Got These
Sneaker culture is FASCINATING, so I cannot wait for Lena Waithe’s series about just that. Besides comedy shorts, this seems like the best use of Quibi: interesting topics delivered as morsels of entertainment, like mini-docs optimized for your commute. If, you know, we ever start commuting again.
Attached - Reese Witherspoon out for a walk today in LA.