DOCTOR WHO meets BATMAN, with a side order of MACGYVER (and a pinch of THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO) in the new web series THE PROTECTOR CHRONICLES, created and directed by Mitch Barany  and Spencer Estabrooks.

The series, filmed in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, which premieres today (Feb. 26th, with two additional episodes on Feb. 27th and 28th) stars Michael Shephard as Jacob Ladder, an average, unemployed, overweight man who hasn’t quite grown up, but when a powerful entity emerges in the form of Seymour Powers, a motivational speaker who threatens to take over the world (played by Michael Roik), the mild-mannered Ladder becomes the world’s newest superhero: The Knight Protector. Can this new breed of superhero defeat a megalomaniacal motivational speaker, and his “apex reality distortion machine”?

The show, which also stars Carisa Hendrix (as “Super Bad Ass Villain”), Chengis Javeri as “CEO”, and Mitch Barany (who, in addition to co-creating the show, also stars as “Parking Patrol”) was developed, innocently enough, over beer and chicken wings, says Barany, “We would bounce a lot of ideas off of one another, sometimes over email but mostly at the pub. This is where we do our best work. Also, Spencer (Estabrooks) has lived in his mother’s basement for years. He calls it research for the show. Everyone else calls it sad.” As further proof of beer’s important role in the creation of the show, Estabrooks and Barany decided to create the show’s unusual protagonist, a superhero with a beer belly.

Estabrooks, who cites both the 1980’s TV series THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO (another show with an average guy turned superhero), and actor/writer/director Edgar Wright (HOT FUZZ, SHAUN OF THE DEAD, SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD, etc.), says that it’s the show’s unique mix of comedy and sci-fi that sets it apart from many web series, including those of the superhero genre. The series’ episodes, produced on a shoestring budget, were shot over a one to two day period, according to Barany, with a small Panasonic GH1 DSLR camera, and filmed with natural lighting, a remarkable feat considering the show’s multiple locations and special effects.

The series’ key action set pieces, a fight on a skyscraper between The Knight Protector and Super Bad Ass Villain that takes place in episodes two and three, was rehearsed and choreographed five times before the filming, says Barany, and it proved to be quite an experience for both actors. “Both actors (Michael Shephard and Carisa Hendrix) had limited fight experience so I was very pleased when they rose to the challenge and exceeded our expectations. Michael is a machine, he took one hell of a beating. At the end of each rehearsal, his arms were black and blue with bruises, and believe me, Carisa might look small but she packs one hell of a wallop.”

Both Barany and Estabrook have high hopes for the show, as does producer Greg Jeffs. “When these guys bite into something, they stun people. I would like to see Mitch and Spencer set the bar high, so we see some quality web series come out of the independent industry,” says Jeffs. They also hope to secure funding for six additional episodes as well. “We’d love to make more episodes. I feel that we have a really big idea, and we need to get this out there.”