Today’s #WebSeriesWednesday brought up some serious questions. What’s your favorite Woody Allen film? Should Halloween NOT be considered a horror movie? Which disaster movie depicts your ideal end of the world scenario?
One of the coolest things about web series is figuring out what lead a show’s creators into production. ‘Poker Night‘ exudes a deep love of film that is so clearly present in all of its creators that there was no need to even ask. Every episode covers a topic that often spans the history of film. What was the first film depicting nudity? Watch the show! Which Bergman is most worthy of discussion? Was ‘Gone With The Wind’ a click flick? Even though he tells the ‘chick’ to ‘eff off’ at the end?! Clearly these guys love movies – the poker is just a vehicle that allows them to discuss their real passions.The show has a solid web production format. Each episode takes place inside an apartment, and each character never leaves his chair. This might sound like a boring set up, but it allows the director to add an extra layer of style.
There are lots of cut always, reaction shots, shallow depth of field, fake blood…. What I am getting at is that the production values are quite high and this is likely because of the super simple, back to basics, Quentin Tarantino at the beginning of Reservoir Dogs, set up.Another bright spot, as previously mentioned, is how each episode centers around a theme. This means that every episode stands on its own, and viewers can jump right in at any point in the show. There is no need to get caught up on back story or anything like that.
Now not everything is perfect here – there is occasionally some sort of gap between the writing and the performance. What I mean is that some of the performance don’t quite come off as authentic. While the show feels like a bunch of guys sitting around shooting the shit it is not uncommon for a line to come across as if the actor was trying to get all of the words out correctly.
I’m not sure if this is just inexperienced acting, or inauthentic writing. Sometimes lines sound good on the page but a character wouldn’t phrase something that way, or an actor can’t quite deliver it believably.
Poker Night is short, just five episodes, and a lot of series have this same issue early on while everyone is still getting comfortable. It’s likely that with additional episodes this will get cleaned up.My other nitpick is that not enough people are watching this show. Every episode discusses seemingly countless classic films in a fun way that recalls epic message board arguments. In fact every episode could spark its own epic message board argument. Maybe the Poker Night team has yet to really push the show out there, or maybe they have yet to produce their viral smash hit, but there is a lot of potential there.
So do the creators a favor, go check out ‘Poker Night’ on youtube and share your favorite episode with someone you know who would appreciate it. It shouldn’t be too hard to find a few.