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"Stand By For Mars!"
TV Reviews

Web Series Reviews by Matt Sanborn

A Lights Out Production

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Written and Directed - Scott Klein
Executive Producer - Scott Klein
Producers - Arlene So, Luis Martinez, E.B. Martinez and John Lenihan
Cinematographer - Luis Martinez
Sound - Arlene So
Make-up FX - Bob Marshall
Assistant to the DP - Dan Reilly
Editor, Digital & Audio FX - Scott Klein
Comic Art Intro
Pencils - Victor L. Castro Jr.
Letters - Arlene So
Created by Scott Klein

It was but a quick bright flash, followed by a continuous electromagnetic pulse over the sky of Monroe, New York, that would forever change things. Those who were in the line of sight were damned to repeat the actions they were performing at the moment of the blast over and over again - letting nothing stop them.

And that is the premise of the new web series by LightsOut Film Group out of Orange County, NY.

So far three parts have been released, and this is a show which exhibits some promise, though is hampered by the standard obstacles of any indy promotion. The first being is that the company must work around a tiny budget, and ideas they may want to show are just not fiscally feasible. One wonders what this could be like if it had something like the SyFy Network behind it supplying it with money and resources.

The basic idea that one must repeat their action over and over, doing anything they can to continue this obsessive compulsive behavior is interesting enough. Due to the lack of time, this road is not taken, and one hopes that if the series is expanded this would be explored more fully. To also do this, however, well trained talent might need to be brought aboard.

The acting here is a bit forced and some of the dialogue comes off a little clunky. We see this a lot in many movies as what sounds good on the page and in the ear, does not always sounds great when read aloud in the context of the drama at hand. But one must remember that the talent here is probably working for free and on their own time, without a lot of preparation and rehearsal.

These actors do not have dialogue coaches and time to practice over and over while making large piles of cash. An indy production such as this must be based predominantly on its ability to convey its story in an effective manner as well as show competency in its direction and production. It is apparent that LightsOut is manned with an experienced crew and technical staff. The opening sequence is impressive and the framing and shooting of all shots is done with aplomb.

The very premise itself will limit this to a short run series. There is only so much that can be done with one idea. After three episodes, it is already beginning to play itself out. The hope is that this is a part of a greater whole, and with new concepts waiting to be brought into the fold.

Episode 1 is "The Gardner," is a nice attempt at introducing the story, but it is full of too many characters, without enough development and suffers from some of the problems mentioned above. The behind the camera work is quite professionally done, and the director certainly had an idea of the look that was wanted.

Episode 2, "The Beaten Path," is the weakest of the trilogy, with too much we have seen from zombie movies. The people try a little too hard here, and the characters are a little overly predictable.

Episode 3, "Return to Sender," is the most intriguing as it leaves one wondering where the series is going. It is a little long, (9 minutes), for the amount of action and story it contains, but shows the crisis in a bigger picture.

Episode 4 will be released in 9 days at the time of this writing. Should be interesting to see where it is going. If you are on Youtube and want something to look at, you could do a lot worse than spend a half an hour checking this out.

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