Far more people waste time on the Internet than make up the audience of a network TV program. And attention spans have diminished so much that people can't summon enough motivation to text the first two letters of the word "your"--so a show with five-minute episodes seems like a pretty good idea.
Kiefer Sutherland's new series, The Confession, is produced by the Digital Broadcasting Group and available only on Hulu. Each episode--or, to use the modern vernacular, "webisode"--lasts no more than seven minutes. All 10 chapters were filmed in nine days, and it looks like a work of cinema, as opposed to the raw twaddle typically associated with the Internet.
The digital format, while new, is similar to 19th century novels that were often serialized in magazines--except instead of Dickensian meditations on social reform, The Confession features drug dealers getting shot for wearing wires.
The show focuses on Sutherland's unnamed hitman confessing multiple murders to a priest (John Hurt, looking, as usual, like a dehydrated hobo). The killings are revealed through derivative flashbacks. (By the way, if you're ever being interrogated, don't spit in your interrogator's face. It just makes people mad.) The most interesting scenes occur in the confession booth when the characters debate faith vs. hope, free will and the convenience of believing in God.
"We're so frightened that this is all there is, we've created the illusion of an eternal soul," a confessor says.
The show fits more substantive dialogue into seven minutes than the entire DVD collection of Grey's Anatomy.
Most shows on Hulu just require clicking the play button. But because The Confession is intended for mature audiences, you need to set up a free account. For some reason, the Hulu people don't think you should be able to hear the word "fuck" without giving them your email address, and they apparently don't think immature people use email.