Oh now I get it - Disney was financing this series via their Stage9 studio. Here's some info on how it all works.
With Disney backing this production, I'm surprised it isn't a lot slicker. They could have thrown a lot more money at it, and never noticed it on their balance sheet, just as a way of testing the waters for made-for-web productions, made it on par with the best cable productions, not just something that wouldn't be out of place on SyFy on a Saturday night.
Programming that is made for new media has different economics than film or television; our projects are made for 4-6% of what it costs to produce one episode of a primetime TV drama.
That's not a shoestring, that's a mouse whisker. How about something that's made for 50% of one episode of a primetime drama? 5% or 50%, it's nothing to Disney.
They should get a little bolder, do a fair
test of web productions, make something that would really stand out as a departure from the low budget productions everyone's used to, and see if it takes off strongly enough that it can be ad-supported, or at least get a read on how close it gets to being ad-supported. I'm a bit astonished that the studios aren't doing more experiments just for market research purposes, but I guess I shouldn't be amazed at dinosaurs acting like dinosaurs...
Given that the most recent "news" item is from 2008, is Stage9 even still in business?