There's nothing particularly distinctive about Syfy's "Viral Video Showdown" — a half-hour series premiering Oct. 30, after "Total Blackout" — except for what the producers had the chutzpah to call their "Grand prize."
To the victor in each week's contest to create a web video with limited time and a meager budget goes — drum roll, please — a whopping $5,000!
The show itself has the potential to be interesting, at least for aspiring filmmakers. Still, the premiere doesn't really do much to illustrate the process of cobbling together a 90-second video — here, a cheeky movie trailer — for $4,000 in just four days.
What really made me chuckle, though, was sitting there watching one team consisting of six people, who — should they come out on top — would walk away with a cool $833 each.
Of course, based on the minimalist set and talent (in addition to three guest judges with some sort of web-video credentials, "Attack of the Show's" Kevin Pereira hosts), "Viral Video Showdown" is an exercise in economy all the way around. In fact, my guess is producer SallyAnn Salsano has a higher craft-services/tanning/protein-supplement/hair-gel budget on her best-known enterprise, "Jersey Shore."
In that respect, give Syfy some credit for ingenuity in terms of concocting original programming on the cheap, I suppose. As for the contenders, well, if you do walk away with the grand prize, try not to spend it all in one place — like filling up the car in order to get home.