When ARGs Take Over Movies And TV, Gemini Division Is Born

Super sexy vice cop Anna Diaz gets hella pissed when the government kills off her cyborg boyfriend, but before she can enact her revenge, she has to use all her smartypants police skills as well as a futuristic PDA to uncover the massive government cover-up that is the Gemini Division. That's the set-up of NBC's new series of webisodes of the same name (closely tied to a gigantic ARG) starring Rosario Dawson launching tomorrow, but does it have the goods to be worth your time? Click through for our review of the project and pictures of cyborg Nick Korda (Smallville's Justin Hartley) almost naked.While I've previously called Gemini a poor-man's Blade Runner, after watching the first two episodes, it looks like the only thing it takes from that sci-fi classic is the premise. Korda is a military cyborg (known as a SIM) that was built in secret with a handful of others. After fighting for his country, he and a bunch of other man-bots go AWOL. Korda shacks up with NYC detective Diaz... which is exactly where Gemini begins.


The Gemini story is told entirely from the point of view of Diaz, who's played by Dawson. Each episode is a series of video "transmissions" sent from Diaz's PDA to an unknown recipient, and with this PDA as almost the cornerstone of the project, whether people will get annoyed with the letter style story-telling completely rests on their believing in this "near-future" PDA device.

Her first transmission puts the couple in Paris, where - surprise! - Korda has popped the question, but streetwise Diaz has second thoughts. Why? Maybe because she lied to him about being a cop, and when Korda got naked and surprised her with flowers, she almost shot his head off. So she had to tell him about being an undercover police officer, and Korda then told her that he had a pacemaker. She proceeds to tell her unknown friend how much that freaked her out but, I'm sorry, but I think being a secret cop would trump that particular argument on the weirdness scale.


But that's not important, because they're in love and in Paris... which you can tell because of the cheesy background on her PDA (which I hope they ease up on in the future). But it's not all cheese and wine in France, sadly; Diaz gets the feeling that they are being stalked, and then a lot of strange things start to happen to her boytoy, like having seizures and then trying to strangle her.


Anywho, Diaz starts to freak out and pick up on little clues to Korda's secret lifestyle, because, you know, she's a cop and all. Which is where the first two episodes end. It's mostly background work to give you a feel for each character, but already you can start to see where they will be tying in the ARG/video game component. For example, when Diaz finds yellow goo in the bath after Korda is finished using it, she holds it up to the screen. Immediately the PDA begins to analyze the bio-materials of the goo. Breaking down clues like the goo will be one of the many mysteries you get to crack in the ARG, according to Executive Producer Brent Friedman. Friedman, who is writing and producing with Electric Farm, explained that each property and story is going to open up different opportunities for how you can interact with Gemini. After they debut the first four episodes (two next week, and another two the following week), the ARG begins on Friday the 29th. In the game, audience members, "can become a Gemini Agent," according to Friedman, "so you can get recruited and face the same moral choices [as the characters]. When you join Gemini Division through the ARG, you get your own PDA [and] the longer you spend on the site and on your PDA, you get widget upgrades. So it enhances your experience. We want to be able to replicate the way Anna uses her PDA on the show. You're going to be sent on investigatory missions that will ask you to find different things that will lead you to different sites." Gemini isn't entirely new territory for Electric Farm. Before Gemini, they released Afterworld, the scifi post-apocalyptic YouTube series that had a small but loyal cult following. But this new NBC webseries is a much larger undertaking - especially when you add the famous leading lady, embedded product placement, mobile video game, and planned comic book. After the first two premiere weeks of Gemini new episodes will be released Mon through Thursday (around 50 episodes are planned for the season) and every Friday the ARG will be updated. There's original material filmed just for the ARG as well, so you'll be able to explore deeper into the Gemini world. While I commend NBC for making better web-product than the awful Heroes mailman drek, it's doing to be interesting to see how this plays out. It very well could be the future of television. And with the rise in video game success it wouldn't be a colossal surprise if ARGs became the new way to watch original material. As for the series itself, it's hard to say if it's entertaining. The first two clips felt like filler, and if this is what they're trying to sell the world on, they may want to throw in a little more drama besides Nick Korda's almost-naked surprise. It's wonderful having good actors carry the weight of the storytelling on their shoulders, but right now it's all sizzle and no steak, and in order for something like this to really explode, I fear they should have given the viewers a little bit more to chew on. The series premieres tomorrow. Click to view

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