Premieres on 18 August

I haven’t quite sorted out what makes a good web series. Is it characters we just can’t get enough of? Perhaps a dollop of J.J. Abrams-esque mystery to keep us returning to a particular website? Whatever the litmus test is for each of us, the novelty of this new format shows no signs of slowing down. On Monday, NBC Universal Digital Studio will premiere its first effort on NBC.com and SciFi.com for us to take a look. Rosario Dawson stars as detective Anna Diaz, a New York cop in the not-so-distant future who begins her story via web transmissions to an unknown party while on holiday with her boyfriend in Paris. In the first two episodes released to press (each less than ten minutes in length), her beau, Nick (played by a handsome and frequently topless Justin Hartley) proposes. Later, he succumbs to mysterious seizures and tries to attack her in a trance-like state. From the series description, we know that Diaz must soon solve the mystery of his murder, and then gets ensconced in a war between artificial life forms and the agency charged with hunting them down. Series creator and executive producer, Brent Friedman holds a CV that boasts such fare as ‘The Twilight Zone’ and ‘Enterprise.’ For a new weekday series, its story has the potential of reeling us in for a few minutes a day while we ignore the duties of our desks. The production itself is on par with what one would imagine for this experimental format – few locations, few characters, and some background effects that are just…well, a little J.V. Lucky for us, Ms. Dawson (also an exec producer) is very engaging, and we’re willing to go wherever she may be taking us. The opening scenario is a bit on the ‘Alias’ side, but it seems we are destined to go down more of a ‘Battlestar Galactica’ path as we press on. As for me, I’ll watch for a bit. Once you’ve peeked my curiosity, the poor CGI is forgiven. At least as long as my short attention span will allow.