I am a fairly recent convert to watching ‘television’ on the web, but a quick web search reveals an absolutely huge mine of web series’ some are great, some are good, some are terrible! If you don’t know what a web series is – then I would explain it as a way for independent actors, writers, directors and producers to get their work made and viewed. Invariably they start off with little or no budget, and this can show. However if they are very successful they are can picked up and sponsored, which of course brings cries of ‘sell out’ from the purists!
As an ex-gamer I was recommended initially to The Guild, which is arguably one of the absolutely most successful web series ever made. If you haven’t found it, or watched it, then you must (no really you must), if you have ever played World of Warcraft, or any MMORP game then you will have met every single one of the characters. I watched all episodes of The Guild over two weekends and loved them – web series episodes are invariably short – from about 6 to 12 minutes long each, with the entire season making up perhaps an hour or so. They make for a great way to while away the odd few minutes of time, or if you are greedy like me, and the web series is successful head off to You Tube where some helpful fan will have popped the whole season into one long episode.
But however good The Guild is, so so much has been written about said about it, I wanted to review another web series, one I found on the home of The Guild (written by the exceptionally savvy and talented Felicia Day who has taken the idea of the web series and made herself in a web icon)! Geek&Sundy.com is a great resource, with the web series’ featured being ones made with a little more funding than lots of others (this is great for the viewer, but don’t deny yourself some of the more shaky camera home-made stuff, there is some gold).
Space Janitors is a web series which follows the luck and lives of two janitors – Darby and Mike who live and work aboard a space station whizzing through space destroying planets and killing rebels (there is much of the Star Wars parody about it, with storm troopers (called Squall Troopers), and a Dark Lord appearing as a hologram (called…..Dark Lord).
All in all, it’s extremely funny, well written and crucially the acting is very good, and not over the top. If you go searching looking for a web series to watch (and check out below some links for places to start), then some you find are incredibly badly acted, the American made ones can suffer from over acting whilst the British made ones can suffer from a need to parody themselves. But Space Janitors is Canadian, and suffers from neither of these issues, there are a few laugh out loud moments, with the stories flowing well.
The main characters – Darby and Mike are likeable, a bit stupid at times and very funny (played excellently by Pat Thornton & Brendan Halloran). While Mike is happy with his lot mopping floors and cleaning out space loos, Darby wants to make more of his life, janitors don’t even get shot at by rebels, and Darby dreams of life as an officer, unfortunately he is unable to pass tests needed, and life continues as a janitor.
Mike and Darby have been assigned to social group 417 (a computer program determines who is in which social group), and it is the rest of this social group who comprise the other main characters – Edith a computer psychologist, slightly hysterical and not without the compunction to reprogram things to suit herself, she is however very loyal to the empire and absolutely despises all the rebels, I think Edith is actually my favourite character, almost underplayed by Evany Rosen, she manages some brilliant one-liners.
LNK-6(Elle) is a self-aware android (played stylishly by Tess Degenstein) , and the ex-girlfriend of Darby, convinced she should not be in social group 417, she can appear human but is of course a machine (and one which Edith can manipulate)!
Dennis 4862 is a clone and a squall trooper – virtually all squall troopers are clones and are extremely expendable, Dennis is only three years out of the vat and played by Scott Yamamura very much in the vein of an over enthusiastic Labrador puppy.
Writers Geoff Lapaire and Andy Hull, have created a brilliant web series which although it is a parody of Star Wars, even if you have never seen Star Wars (unlikely perhaps) it is still very funny.
My favourite episode, and the one which had me splitting my sides with laugher involves a light sabre and the removal of arms!
There are currently just two seasons of Space Janitors with the hope there will be more.
You can check out the first episode of Space Janitors here, and then head off to the bottom of the article for links to go and watch the rest!!
SpaceJanitors.com – the official home of Space Janitors
GeekandSundry.com – find The Guild, Space Janitors and other great web series here
WebSeriesChannel.com – find web series' and web movies here a huge amount of choice, the good, the bad and the ugly!
BritishWebSeries.blogspot.co.uk – for specifically British web series' there is some great stuff here!