Saturday, April 5, 2014

Web Series: High Maintenance

This web series, High Maintenance, has been getting a bit of buzz around the Internet and I've been really enjoying it. I've tried and tried to get into some web series but none has really done much for me. This one has really been the first one I have liked a lot.

The Outs started out well but the acting was iffy at best and the script was just plain bad in long sections.
Ben Sinclair as the dealer

Little Horribles had really funny moments but a little bit goes a very very long way.

But High Maintenance is different: it doesn't follow any set running gag and it's creative in its structure. The basic premise centers around a marijuana dealer in Brooklyn. Each episode features a totally different cast of characters and the only thing each episode really has in common is that at some point, the weed dealer will show up. Sometimes he plays a major role in the episode, sometimes he's just on screen for a few minutes. And there is a lot of overlap: certain characters show up again in later episodes and there are some running motifs that continue to show up (magic, secrets, petty crime). Many episodes are funny, some are haunting, often moving. Some characters are sweet, some damaged, some really horrible people. And Brooklyn is both lauded and laughed at throughout (as Slate noted aptly: it has aspects of Portlandia to it but also Lena Dunham's Girls. Personally, I find the web series better than both.)

Dan Steves in High Maintenance
And a bonus: a few episodes ago featured Dan Stevens aka the late Matthew Crawley from Downton Abbey. And what a great episode it was! The thing I love about the writing generally of this show is they have this ability to make you think the episode is going on one direction when suddenly you realize you've been had and things have taken a dramatic turn in an unexpected way.

Another series that looks promising is Ghost Girls though I've only seen one episode so far.

I find that at this time of year, I have little patience for movies or TV series. So 6-10 minute episodes of web series work really well.

If you haven't seen it yet, check it out. There are like 14 episodes available now and they are all under 12 minutes (most under 10). And better still: you don't have to watch them in any order. Just pick and choose by name (each episode is titled with a person's name).

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