Cybertainment: New lives, new worlds, new jokes

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Move over, reality TV. Virtual reality TV is on the horizon.

A documentary shot entirely in the Second Life online virtual environment is slated for release sometime next year, with HBO buying the rights to the film.

"My Second Life: The video diaries of Molotov Alva" is the story of a man who disappears from the physical world and resurfaces through video dispatches from Second Life. It's the creation of filmmaker Douglas Gayeton, whose virtual identity in Second Life is Molotov Alva.

"I've always been curious about how technology connects people in ways that would've been otherwise impossible. The impact of those connections lends itself to provocative stories," Gayeton says in an interview posted on his site.

The pilot episode -- "Dispatch #1: Out Of My Skin" is online at the "My Second Life"/Molotov Alva site, YouTube and Google Video, with a high quality version on Submarine Channel.

The potential for using virtual worlds as film and video sets -- a process known as "machinima" -- has huge potential. If nothing else, the prospect of doing away with those expensive location shoots should have network execs salivating.

Still, the pilot for "My Second Life" is an intriguing use of new media and makes the viewer look forward to more episodes.

It also serves as a good introduction to the Second Life environment for first-time visitors. This three-dimensional virtual world has a worldwide user community, whose members assume new identities called avatars, and its own currency and economy.

Second Life via radio

Radio also is staking out a frequency in Second Life.

The Virtual World Radio Network, a 24/7 news network based in Second Life, broadcasts news, cultural programming, financial news and sports stories from this virtual world. Non-Second Life citizens can also listen online.

And like any self-respecting radio station, VWRN also is selling advertising spots.

Design your own galaxy

If your first and second life universes aren't big enough for you, visit this one: Galaxiki, which is billed as "a fictional galaxy that anyone can edit."

Galaxiki is a Web community of "Galaxicians" -- people interested in sci-fi, astronomy and worlds beyond Earth.

Users can create their own fictional solar systems or visit others. Information created about stars and planets can be edited by community members, similar to the way Wikipedia encyclopedia articles are.

Galaxiki launched in July and has more than 1,600 users, with 1.1 million stars to explore.

New comedy channel

Crackle, a streaming video site from Sony Pictures Entertainment Company, has launched a new comedy channel.

Billed as the Web generation's version of "In Living Color" or "Saturday Night Live," Moving Targets features sketch comedy and animation created by both well-known and emerging artists.

Among the highlights: "Mr. Deity," Brian Dalton's irreverent comedy series starring God as a Hawaiian-shirt clad executive [Sample dialogue: "We're trying to decide how dark you want to go with the dark matter." "Take that all the way to void."] and "Script Cops," a parody of a reality-based cop show, where bad script writing is a crime.

Guide to fall TV

Yahoo! TV has launched an online road map to the new fall TV season. The site features show and cast profiles, interviews, previews, entire episodes and past season recaps.

Featured series include "Survivor: China," "Gossip Girl," "Grey's Anatomy," "Heroes" and others.

Adrian McCoy can be reached at .


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