YouTube has announced its own subscription service, YouTube Red. For $9.99, people can have no ads on YouTube and, eventually, access to original programming. One of these shows has been announced, and it’s Scare PewDiePie . It’s a reality series starring Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg, the YouTube livestreaming personality, and put together by Skybound Entertainment, Robert The Walking Dead Kirkman’s production company. It also doesn’t sound very interesting.
Allow me to explain. PewDiePie is a livestreamer. He got famous and made his millions by playing video games and showing people footage on YouTube while he did. Sometimes these were horror games, sometimes not. There was a mix of content. Scare PewDiePie isn’t about video gaming. It’s about taking a YouTube icon and constantly scaring him.
The reason this seems suspect in terms of entertainment is that it’s too focused on one thing, and that thing isn’t even something PewDiePie is known for. Yes, he’s played horror games like Kholat and Five Nights at Freddy’s , but that’s not all he’s done. You need to intersperse material to keep it fresh. Focusing only on it for an entire show could end up making Scare PewDiePie feel stale or forced.
It’s not that a premise like this can’t work. MTV’s Fear lasted two seasons and followed people left in supposedly haunted spots. It was well received, but cancelled due to how much it cost to make the episodes scary enough to be interesting. Scare Tactics is another, similar show that’s still running, but it doesn’t focus on one person and specific conditions. It’s carefully arranged and involves different people each time, allowing for different reactions.
PewDiePie has his talents and you have to admire his success, but he may not have the range to pull off a show like Scare PewDiePie . If this were something related to what he’s known for and good at, video games, then I would be ready to say yes. This could be a hit. Maybe it’d even help make that $9.99 monthly YouTube Red subscription worthwhile. But he’s attempting to do something completely outside of his comfort zone.
That kind of risk can be applauded, but not when the initial trailer seems to suggest Scare PewDiePie could basically be people watching the performer go through haunted houses and Fear Factor sorts of challenges each week. There may not be enough diversity or experiences to make it worthwhile, leaving people wondering when PewDiePie is going to stop messing around and go back to what he’s good at. But then, if we had made $7.4 million last year, we could probably afford to take this kind of risk too.