Every morning, Alex (Topher Grace) wakes up in a new body. Some days he's a virile, chisel-jawed man; others, a prepubescent girl or an overweight hipster. Some days he can speak only Mandarin. The pain of his predicament hits home when we see that he has to measure his feet every morning to find shoes, or when he wakes up next to his sexual conquest of the night before, only to find himself a withered octogenarian.
This is the premise of The Beauty Inside, a breathtaking six-episode series that follows Alex as he tries to woo Leah (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a young antique-store owner. Unlike the steadfast antique pieces they both love, Alex's appearance changes daily, rendering their love impossible.
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The series was funded by Intel and Toshiba and conceived by ad agency Pereira & O'Dell. When it was originally released in 2012 via Facebook and YouTube, audience members could submit photos and videos of themselves as Alex to be used in the filmed episodes and the Facebook timeline. In the series, Alex records his changing identity every day in vlog form on his Toshiba laptop. That's as blatant as the product placement gets.
The quality of the series (it won a Daytime Emmy in 2013) and the fact that viewers are still discovering it today is a testament to the long-term value of companies investing ad dollars in online scripted content and to the potential for the digital space to become a financially viable option for filmmakers. - Stephanie Carrie
The Tangled Web We Watch is our column on what's worth watching online. You can watch The Beauty Inside HERE.