Emmys, You’re Old. Meet the Streamys: The Award Show For the Next Generation

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The latest step in our march to topple over traditional media, this weekend’s Streamy Awards honor the very best in original web television programming. Just let that concept sink in.

I lived without a television for a couple years, relying solely on web-based TV programming – and online movie streaming – and I think we’re quickly heading towards a future where all you’ll need is a laptop. No need for DVD players, TVs, CDs or books. Just a computer screen, and an Internet connection.

I know that when it comes to buzz on the streets, and popular conversation, we’ve already crossed this precipice. Recently, I’ve heard my friends talking more about YouTube videos and online comedy skits than they’ve been talking about traditional TV broadcasts, or live comedy. Nowadays, streaming programming connects with a core audiences, quickly goes viral, and drives the discourse of the mainstream media. When was the last time you flipped on a cable news channel, only to see them covering the web video you had watched yesterday?

A comedian can have a bigger impact today by making a funny web video than by touring a couple hundred comedy gigs. (More at Techland: 8 Netbooks Worth Buying Right Now)

Anyway: I dig the Streamys because they are leading the charge towards recognizing the web as a first-run platform. This is year number two for the ceremony, and judging by the talent signed up to appear (Zach Galifianakis, David Wain, Tony Hale) and the sponsors that have lined up to support (Kodak, IKEA, Trident), it’s clear there’s a whole lot of energy in the industry being pointed this direction. Appropriately enough, you can watch the second annual Streamys live on the web. Just log on at 8:30 p.m. ET Sunday night to streamys.org, and I think you’ll be surprised by the strength of the 2010 nominees…many of which you’ve probably already seen.

You can see all this year’s nominees here but I must admit that I have a few personal favorites. How will Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis (see below) not win for Best Comedy Web Series? I’m putting my money on The Secret Life of Scientists for Best Reality or Documentary Web Series. And how about Auto-Tune the News for Best News or Politics Web Series? That’s the series that taught me the true value of turtle fences.

Dorm Life probably has the inside edge for Best Ensemble Cast. The Office: Subtle Sexuality is my pick for Best Companion Web Series. And of course: Playboy: Interns for Best Mobile Experience. Just guessing on that one. Yeah.

Sure, this is an emerging area of entertainment. And there are no doubt some who might write off the Streamys as something operating at the fringes of the industry. But then again, there were times when movies were not considered a real art, or when TV was viewed as little more than a vehicle for news, sitcoms and quiz shows. And we now all accept that the best of cinema, and the best of television, can rise to a level worth appreciating.

I think the same thing will happen for web video, and web series in general. There’s great work being done – both dramatic and comedic – and it’s finally time that these artists get their due.

So those are just a couple reasons why it’s worth watching the Streamys: Sunday night, 8:30. Here’s hoping that Galifianakis bring some ferns too: