If you’re old enough to remember using MySpace in its prime, you’re probably also familiar with the early YouTube sensation of Lonelygirl15. It started off exactly 10 years ago as just an everyday teenager speaking into webcam in a simple format that become known as the “vlog.” This was long before everyone knew what “web series” or “going viral” meant. It went on to be revealed as a scripted series, and still survived for two years before fizzling out. But now it’s back, with Lonelygirl15 posting her first video in eight years.
In its original form, Lonelygirl15 was based around 16-year-old Bree, who lived in a small town and struggled with typical teenage issues. But then it started to become something deeper, with Bree making mysterious references to her parents’ cult-like religion and being chosen for some kind of ceremony. Check out the very first upload below for an idea what it was like.
The building mystery and drama not only caused viewership to soar, but it also erupted in debate about whether it was real or a hoax. It eventually came out that Lonelygirl15 was fake, but it was still trying to tell a story, with actress Jessica Lee Rose playing Bree. Even with the truth revealed, more and more people began watching, fueling its growth.
Towards the end, the series was clearly into territory comparable with movies like The Hunger Games and Divergent. Bree was running from something called “The Order,” for example. The new two-minute entry, titled “Whatever Happened To lonelygirl15?,” features the return of Lee Rose, apparently playing a grown-up Bree.
While the events that make up the world of Lonelygirl15 are still unknown, the new episode makes it clear it’s looking to continue the story. Bree is now addressing others who have been “selected” to undergo the “ceremony,” complete with talk about when she was in their position, scared and running, obviously referencing the early years of Lonelygirl15.
It’s not clear if this new Lonelygirl15 has what it takes to go viral in the current age, but there’s definitely more social services available to take advantage of with its vlog/webcam story-telling technique. There’s already a Facebook page linked in the new video’s description, and the creators would be crazy not to use Snapchat or Periscope in this mobile-first world.