Bare in mind that I listened to the original Penny Arcade "Acquisition Incorporated" actual play and watched Will Wheaton's original (I assume he's done more since) video series. And that was me done. I'd seen all the actual play I needed to and come away with nothing other than the feeling that Will Wheaton isn't a great GM.
However I suspect these things are not for me, or anyone on this board. Their most potent effect seems to be introducing new people to the hobby.
Naturally they cut out all the going-round-in-circles and Blackadder skits because leaving them in would kill everything stone dead. Likewise they use professional actors because that's how you get compelling video.
The thing which concerns me is that this seems likely to lead to real disappointment when your own game isn't laser focused by experts in improvisation.
So my ideal (and I have no answers here) would be a way to accurately portray actual, actual play while keeping it engaging as a spectator sport.
@Ceramic Badger Couple of points:
- streaming shows are actual games
- I for one enjoy them - please don't generalise
- some of them happen to involve actors, who are as welcome to game as anyone else - the advantage is that they know how to give each other spotlight time
- if you're British, Wheaton (bless his excitable socks) is likely not to be your preferred flavour and others might suit better
Kieron Gillen, Vin Diesel and Sue Perkins play Golden Heroes.
In answer to the OP, not Simon's question, I dunno - just high quality production and better elf ears.
And, honestly, "I watched 2 shows once and so they are all rubbish" doesn't really add anything to the discourse, and is overly dismissive of people who enjoy them.
My experience is it brings no disappointment at all when streaming fans start to play F2F - and they arrive with really good habits of spotlight sharing and taking some responsibility for bringing the fun.