Zombie Thursdays is a weekly feature with guest blogger, Miranda. You can read more about her here.
It seems like web series and ‘webisodes’ are all the rage these days. I’m guessing they are cheaper, quicker, and easier to produce than a full length television series, and they don’t require a huge studio backer or even a channel to air them. Anyone with the drive and talent can create these series and put them up on the internet to be viewed by millions. Even major television shows are jumping on the band wagon by producing the short ‘webisodes’ to post online during the week before a new episode airs on the station.
It’s no surprise to me that zombies are also infecting the internet airwaves with their own web series!
This week, I’m going to feature one such show called Semi-Dead, a web based horror/comedy series created by Chris Wiltz (who also independently financed the project). I first heard of this show randomly. Because of my Twitter account, I’m constantly followed by spam bots that pick out one word of something I have ‘tweeted’ and latch on to me like parasites. More often than not, I block these accounts. Due to my consistent tweeting about zombies and Zombie Thursdays, I was followed once by an account called Semi-Dead. I checked them out and learned about the show. Rather than block them, I thought, “okay, I’ll bite!” and decided to check out their creation.
What I found was a pretty funny little series that takes place in a city that is ravaged by zombies. The story focuses on two roommates, Chris and Joe, played by Keith Arthur Bolden and Andrew McMennamy. Joe is everything you’d expect someone to be like during a zombie outbreak. He fashions weapons out of everything, including a fairly useless mop and at one point a pizza slicer, ties zombies up in the closet in an effort to cook them later, and goes out on hunting trips during the day. Chris is the exact opposite. Chris continues to go about his daily business running errands, going to work, and trying to find dates on the internet. He seems completely unaware of what is happening around him and refuses to acknowledge anything is out of the ordinary; he’s more concerned with getting a signal on his Blackberry than with the zombie that is trying to eat him.
In one really humorous scene, Chris is complaining to Joe that they need to find a new roommate since their friend Brian “left.” Joe has to remind Chris about what actually happened to Brian-- when a zombie rings the bell and moans, “bbrraaaiinnns,” Chris confuses this with one of *Brian’s* friends. Brian opens the door and... well, let’s just say it doesn’t end well for him.
This sort of joke and flash back scene is what drives the humor of Semi-Dead. To me, the funniest moments are when the characters are arguing and they do a cutaway shot to illustrate a point-- for example the brraaiinnns/Brian bit or as in a scene where Chris insists he has a job, cutaway to him sitting alone in an office (with bodies and blood everywhere) asking a nonexistent coworker if he is going to pick up his phone. A sign to me that something is really funny is if I literally laugh out loud at it, and, with this show, I did find myself actually chuckling and laughing.
There is some really good acting going on in this show (the two main actors have some impressive credits and educational backgrounds), and the actors have great timing in the line delivery and the looks the characters give one another. The story is well written and I love the dichotomy between Chris and Joe-- total denial versus super vigilance. Although the show is a comedy, it does leave me to think some serious thoughts about if someone could actually survive with a post-traumatic stress syndrome denial of the reanimated dead. It’s doubtful, but the character of Chris makes it somewhat believable!
My only real critique of the show is that the first couple of episodes move a bit slowly. The average length of any given episode is around eight to nine minutes long. This doesn’t sound like very much, but given that most webisodes I watch tend to be closer to four or five minutes, I felt that sometimes the show tended to drag a bit. There seemed to be a lot of “filler” action when I was hoping for more jokes or gags. But nothing too long to consider the show boring by any stretch of the imagination! Around episode 3 or 4, the action picks up significantly. I just hope in season 2, they cut back the episode time by a minute or two.
The first season of the show is complete and consists of six episodes. I really recommend checking out the series and watching an episode here or there while you have some time at work to kill or while you’re waiting for that zombie meat to cook on the stove. If anything, please check out the first two minutes of the first and second episodes as the full theme song is really well written and performed by a group called Detroit CYDI! A great song that even got a few chuckles from me.
As usual, I need to give my parental advisory warning-- obviously zombies lend themselves to being more for adults, but Semi-Dead does use some adult language, obligatory zombie killing violence, and some highly sexual jokes and innuendoes.
Even though it isn’t really a good indicator of what the series is like, here is the Season 1 trailer for the show... I will leave it to you to head over to www.semi-dead.com to watch the rest of the series!