The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

On the Net: Sites aim to be TV Guide for the Web

You’ve seen Will Ferrell’s “The Landlord.” You know what Hulu is. But that much hyped 21st century invention called the Web series remains largely unknown to you.

Fear not.

A host of Web sites can direct you to the best series online, including and – both good blogs that feature knowledgeable seekers of worthy Web series.

It’s a thriving business. The broader online video guide, founded in 2006, earlier this month announced it had received $5 million from venture capital firm Baroda Ventures after the site’s first month of profitability in January.

The site began last week, touting itself as the “TV Guide of the Web.” The way it distinguishes itself is primarily through its Hollywood guest editors. Among them: Damon Lindelof, co-creator of “Lost”; Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara; actor Willie Garson (“Sex and the City”); and Shawn Ryan, the executive producer of “The Shield.”

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

It’s a similar approach of recommendations from well-known personalities like you see on Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s – albeit with a wider purview.

The site was founded by Marc Ostrick, who has done Web series for TV shows such as Fox’s “24” and HBO’s “John From Cincinnati,” and his partner Evangeline Morphos, a theater professor at Columbia University.

After Ostrick mentioned the difficulty he had both distributing video content and finding it online, Morphos noted that TV had had a similar period of programming confusion before the birth of TV Guide in 1953 – which pooled the resources of several earlier regional guides.

“The greatest problem with content on the Internet is people have a hard time knowing where to go to find it,” says Ostrick. “There’s just so much stuff out there.”

David Milch, the creator of “NYPD Blue” and “Deadwood,” is a principal adviser to eGuiders.

Ostrick and Milch collaborated on a Web component for Milch’s “John From Cincinnati,” the confusing drama that was canceled after one season. Ostrick says – and this may further confuse fans – that the show was ultimately about the Internet and whether it might be possible to humanize the Internet.

Milch has said eGuiders is “a good start” toward this goal.

Part of the idea is to appeal to older users who might not know their way around the Internet well.

The 81-year-old Stiller is very much in that category.

“I’m also involved with the FaceSpace now. I’ve picked up a couple of people,” says Stiller, accidentally fusing Facebook with MySpace.

“Facespace? It’s Facebook,” corrects Meara, his longtime comedy partner and (far more computer literate) wife.

(“Seinfeld” fans, though, might recall the brief computer scheme hatched by Stiller’s character, Frank Costanza, after he saw Sandra Bullock in “a provocative movie on cable TV; it was called ‘The Net’ with the girl from ‘The Bus.”’)

“I’m on the computer more than Jerry and I get a kick out of stuff I see on YouTube and Hulu,” says Meara, whose responsible for most of the picks by the couple, including “Faux Baby” and the excellent “Jeannie Tate Show.”

There is some bias, though. Stiller also picked a video created by son Ben for the film “Tropic Thunder.” He calls it “impromptu comedic mayhem” on the site, but explains himself: “I’m speaking as the dad here, Papa Jerry.”

“I guess it’s bringing me closer to cyberspace in some way,” says Stiller. “I can’t wait to turn up an old girlfriend on the Face- … what is it?”

More to Discover
ILLordle: Play now