Quibi, which stands for “Quick Bites,” launched this past April. It was a highly anticipated streaming platform when it was first announced. I decided to look into what it actually was. Quibi has 5-10 minute short episodes of their own original content, which you could view vertically or horizontally. This sounds intriguing but I also wondered why everyone was so excited about it. It seems like they were just cutting up regular shows into smaller pieces and claiming it was revolutionary. However, before I made any further judgments, I finally decided to sign up for a 2-week free trial.
The app itself is quite nice. The UI is accessible and easy to look at. It feels fresh but familiar to other streaming platforms. When you actually start a video, the buttons are simple and easy to use. I was worried that when you switch from vertical watching to landscape watching, it wouldn’t be smooth, but I was mistaken. The transition is seamless and the programmers made it effortless to watch it in the way you prefer. I have no issues with the app itself.
Onto the Original Programming
This is the most important part and, honestly, where they kind of dropped the ball. Quibi has projects featuring big names like Joe Jonas, Sophie Turner, Chrissy Teigen, Anna Kendrick, Queen Latifah, Darren Criss, and so many others. Therefore, it’s odd that the quality of the programming isn’t up to the standard that should be expected from such talented people. Don’t get me wrong, none of it is terrible, but some of the projects are pretty close:
I have read many reviews that trash this show (an overall IMDB rating of 4.1/10). However, I think that these angry reviewers must go into this show expecting some sort of masterpiece. I went into it thinking it was going to be one of those trashy (in a good way), silly shows and I was right. It is dramatic and overexaggerated but that’s what it is supposed to be. It’s a big joke that is made funnier because the participants actually agreed to do whatever “Judge Chrissy” deems for them. It’s ridiculous and that’s what makes it worth watching. Would I recommend this as one of the best shows ever? Obviously not. However, is it a fun show to watch when you don’t want to think too hard? A definite yes.
This is Darren Criss’s show about songwriters. If I’m being honest, I could barely get through the first episode of this show. This might not be my cup of tea or something because I found the humor to be cringey. Perhaps, it gets better after a couple of episodes but I feel like a show’s first episode should be at least bearable if they want people to watch the second one. Darren Criss is insanely talented and it’s disappointing that the show didn’t live up to what I expected.
Musicology with Tim Kash
This is an iHeartRadio show where Kash interviews a variety of celebrities ranging from American Idol winner, Jordan Sparks to Let Me Down Slowly singer, Alec Benjamin. The guests answer questions and sometimes perform as well. At first, I wasn’t sure I would be interested in seeing yet another show interviewing artists, but I found it to be intriguing enough. Kash is a decent interviewer and those who go on his show are great guests. I was pleasantly surprised and this is one of the shows I would gladly check out again.
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Dummy is an Anna Kendrick-executive produced show about the creator, Cody Heller’s real-life experience with her partner and his sex doll. At first glance, I wasn’t sure about the show and it does sound extremely odd. However, I tried it and I’m glad I did. Although it isn’t the best show I’ve ever seen, it’s a rising star compared to the other original content on Quibi. The humor is occasionally funny and Anna Kendrick is amusing as always. The show is weird but not too weird. I would watch more of this.
Cup of Joe
This is Joe Jonas’ travel show where he explores a variety of cities with celebrity guests. I hadn’t heard about this show before I saw it on Quibi, but I was intrigued to see if Joe would be able to host well. To my pleasant surprise, Joe does a pretty good job of creating fun and entertaining moments throughout the short episodes. They pack in quite a lot into them and I think young people with short attention spans would enjoy something like this. I would definitely watch these short episodes when I don’t have time to watch something longer.
So Is Quibi Any Good?
This is a complicated question and I’m not sure if I can say I hate or love Quibi. It’s somewhere in the middle. I found the reality shows to be on par with other reality shows that are on other streaming platforms and cable. They are fun and don’t take themselves too seriously. The scripted shows are not as good as their competitor’s shows, not even close. The best-scripted show I saw was Dummy but even that was nowhere close to 10/10 quality. For such a talented group of actors working on their projects, the standard of quality should definitely be higher. I also found the vertical watching, which is one of the supposed “selling points” of Quibi, to be incredibly irritating. All of the vertical shots are simply cropped wide shots. I believe for such a platform, they have to somehow film a vertical and landscape version separately, because as of right now, not only does it feel like something’s missing in the vertical shots, they also feel claustrophobic. The close-ups are too close and it makes watching an already meh show even worse. If they fix this, perhaps, the majority of shows wouldn’t be received so poorly. Quibi should be better but the good thing is that there’s only room to go up from here.