S2, cycle 1: Another very high quality and engaging set of episodes with a great eye and ear for life in its comic, but human, detail
I got into this webseries after it had already run all its cycles in the first season – and went through them very quickly as I found them very engaging and enjoyable. The proof of the success of the first set of episodes is that this second season is not just put up on Vimeo, but is for rental/streaming through their on-demand service, as they supported the production this time round. The tone of the show is very much later the later cycles of the first season, with contained character pieces that have some minor character overlap and the central character of The Guy playing a (small) part in all of them.
The first set of episodes of the second season were released in November 2014, and were three episodes. In Geiger we have young couple Andrew and Lucy who are planning their wedding; at a barbecue, Andrew learns about "go bags" (from Qasim's Scott) and being prepared to survive a large emergency situation in NYC, which sparks him and Lucy off on developing their own plans and practicing for the worst; which ironically only adds to Lucy's anxiety. In Genghis, the magician Evan (from episode Elijah) decides to take up teaching as a rewarding profession; which he does find to be an enlightening experience albeit not in the way he had hoped. Finally in Ruth, The Guy hooks up two of his clients – Ellen, a survivor of stomach cancer, and Victor, a burly but lovable guy working several jobs and not making much of a connection with anyone.
For each of these tales the tone is comic but human; so nothing is played for easy laughs but rather things unfold in a way that fits the characters and also sits well with an accepting but bemused view of life. It is all very well balanced and I think the most impressive and pleasing thing is just how quickly we are drawn into the characters. The stories have a sort of realism to them and again the provision and use of drugs is really nothing but a small part of all of the stories – a narrative device to justify putting the viewer into the story. Geiger is great in making us like the couple but also seeing the absurdity of their situation; Genghis is engaging in its naïve spirit and impending reality of the new job; and Ruth is just lovely in what it does and the way it does it, although if I am honest I have no idea why they included a very close up shot of male full-frontal nudity – it was out of place and seemed unnecessarily graphic for what was quite a sweet tale.
The cast are all great; everyone seems to get the tone no matter who they are, and they all seem to "get" their characters really from the very first minute we see them. The Guy continues to be a good presence but he is also continues to be wisely used because these little scenes of life are not about him. Technically the episodes are very well made indeed; very high production standards, great use of locations, great sound, very clear look to the cinematography and clearly a lot of work behind the scenes to make this look as good as it does.
The start of this second season continues the high bar that the series quickly set during its first run; I am really looking forward to the second half, with the only gripe I have not being that I wish I could download the episodes rather than stream them (save pausing to let an episode buffer ahead), but even this is no problem in return for this very high quality show.
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