Welcome to the first in a new series of blog posts about web series. We know how much time and effort goes into making a web series, and how good it is to get constructive feedback. So now we will be running regular reviews of other web-based series, some old and some new, as they appear. We’re starting with the first episode of a brand new web series that’s currently five episodes into its run, the darkly comic Job Hunters.
“Job Hunters is a Seattle-based original web series set in the near future, where college graduates must fight (potentially to the death) to be placed by the MAEWIN corporation into careers. With a pass-rate of about 20%, this process is also a form of population control.
During their time at MAEWIN, recruits fight in an arena from 9-5 — while the rest of their time is their own (provided they stay in the MAEWIN-run Safe Houses). Our series follows a particular set of Job Hunters as they deal with adjusting to life in the Safe Houses, dealing with room mate issues, as well as sorting through feelings of their own impending doom.” (Job Hunters official site – About)
Job Hunters is an exciting new dystopian web series based in Seattle and set in a near future where graduates are made to fight to the death to earn placements in careers. Following a genre tradition that encompasses Battle Royale and, more recently, The Hunger Games, the series carves out its own identity as somewhat quirky and with a fairly dark sense of humour.
The first episode of a web series is always difficult as it has to introduce the concept and characters, whilst also entertaining the audience and featuring action, if that’s what the genre involves. This uses a time jumping device to perfection, allowing for tense, violent scenes to be cut in amongst the more exposition based sequences. The juxtaposition works well, and helps drive the tension, and keeps the audience engaged. The cast play their roles well, and never feel forced, and we get broadly drawn characters we can straight away identify with, but with potential for greater depth as the series progresses.
There are a few niggles. Whilst the website and behind the scenes information do set out the concept well enough, taken on its own terms, episode one is not entirely clear. The premise is established well, but the way the jobs are allocated and how long they serve before obtaining work is somewhat uncertain. The acting, as stated, is generally excellent, although the woman who introduces them to the household perhaps doesn’t quite the tone right, leaning just slightly too much towards just plain cheese.
However, aside from these small moments of note, there really is nothing to fault in this excellent opening episode. The characters are well established and interesting, the the tension is already being felt. By the end of the episode the viewer is desperate to see what happens next and, in the end, this is the key to a successful web series. Fantastic stuff