Creator Bernie Su Wins an Emmy for Groundbreaking Twitch Series ‘Artificial’

Executive Producer Bernie Su is set to receive an Emmy award for his groundbreaking interactive science fiction series “Artificial” on September 14 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

Image Courtesy of Bernie Su

The show, which is exclusively broadcast live on Twitch, nabbed the Juried 2019 award for “Outstanding Innovation in Interactive Media” for series creator Su, the Television Academy announced last month.

 

The award is the live-streaming video platform’s first Emmy and the third for Su. He won his first via his YouTube hit “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries”, a reimagining of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” and his second for “Emma Approved”, an adaptation of Austen’s “Emma”.

Image Courtesy of Bernie Su

The recognition is well deserved for the program as it cleverly utilizes live audience participation to change the show’s story on the fly. Along with Su, the show is backed by a talented group of executive producers: Evan Mandery, Michael Y. Chow, Bonnie Buckner, and Ken Kalopsis. 

“Artificial” follows Dr. Matt Lin (Tohoru Masamune) and his artificial human Sophie Lin (Tiffany Chu) who, as the story progresses, tries to become a real human.The live, bi-weekly sci-fi series starts with a scripted storyline but then incorporate live audience feedback into the ongoing narrative foundation.

Image Courtesy of Bernie Su

Dr. Lin, Sophie, and other characters stream hour-long episodes live on Twitch. Audience members can interact with the characters. Twitch viewers affect the story’s direction by voting in real-time polls, submitting questions, sharing input with fan mail and others. “Artificial’s” season 2 finale aired on August 29. 

Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin praised “Artificial” for devising next-level entertainment.

“What we love about Artificial is that its audience can truly evolve the story both during and outside of the live broadcast over the course of the series to take full direction of the show,” Lin told Deadline in an interview earlier this year. “In the many alternate universes that the creators of the series have envisioned and developed, the audience gets to see only one, but their impact, through the many polls and clever interactive prompts, is what makes every episode exciting.”

In an interview with NextShark, Su revealed how “Artificial” came to showcase a story starring Asian American actors:

“It was very deliberately story-driven. My co-creator, Evan Mandery, brought up the idea of whether Matt (Tohoru Masamune) would be Asian, thus by default making the AI daughter Sophie (Tiffany Chu) Asian.

“I remember discussing it from the lens of Artificial Intelligence humans and where the excitement in the industry was coming from. At that time I saw a lot of it coming out of Asia, for example, the work of Hiroshi Ishiguro. So Asian representation or not, it made story sense to make them Asian.”

Su also reflected on the rise of Asian representation in mainstream media and Hollywood:

“I’m really inspired by it, it’s given me confidence, and it now influences my own work. In earlier projects, ‘The Lizzie Bennet Diaries’ and ‘Emma Approved’, I would write, develop and cast color-blind. That’s generally fine, but the result you get is that the characters are also culture-blind.  In ‘Emma Approved’, Joanna Sotomura, who is the first Asian American to play Emma in a westernized adaptation of the novel, displays no ethnic cultural traits in her performance or character history, and that’s a result of none of that being developed for her. But now, with the rise of representation, and more importantly the rise of cultural representation, that has evolved me into a creator who develops towards culture from the start, like in Artificial.”

Su then told NextShark about his plans for future projects:

“I won’t be telling exclusively Asian American stories, I’ve just never been that type of storyteller, but I will definitely be telling lots of stories that will feature Asian American characters in amazing roles.

“As for the future, something I’d love to do would be a multi-cam sitcom using the Artificial live-audience interactive methods. Imagine a fun, hilarious multi-cam sitcom where it is presented live and the audience gets to participate in the story in real-time. And if that central core of characters were Asian-American, all the better!”

Feature image via YouTube/Artificial Next

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