This #WebSeriesWednesday I chatted with the cast and creators of Hunting Season, who strongly refuted my initial claims of their show simply being ‘porn.’

I wasn’t able to write this column following my viewing of the show on Wednesday so rather than leave it to just the twitter chat I opted to save the column for the weekend ~ and here we are.

So I’m not exactly the target market for the show, which is based upon a blog written by a homosexual man about him and his friends’ sexual misadventures in New York City. The show, which is available for (censored) streaming on Logo’s website, is played out in a very graphic manner, a-la ‘Game of Thrones’ and is likely to lead any straight man to proof read his blog to remove any potential, purely accidental, sexual puns.

So following the opening scene of the show I tweeted out:

It’s not just one scene either, it takes up a good bulk of the time allotted to the first several episodes.  I was challenged on this by the group, particularly on the angle that it wouldn’t be called ‘porn’ if it had been straight, and that’s where the Game Of Thrones comparisons arose. From my perspective it detracted from the show, it took longer to get to know the characters, and it made the plot seem somewhat banal and superficial. It also didn’t help with perceptions that the show was seeking to make back its money through sales of uncensored versions of the series.

There are a few counter points to my initial feelings though, and I think they are important to consider, especially for web producers creating content, trying to find an audience and hoping to make some of their investment back.

  • It doesn’t matter what I think, I’m not the target audience. Producer Jon Marcus described the initial onslaught as being a way to prove to their audience that they were serious about the source material and the project as a whole. Building trust with an audience is a great way to create a loyal following, and I suppose it doesn’t really matter how you go about doing it.
  • Buying into an existing audience is the only way to stand out on the web. By optioning the blog that the story is based upon and pitching the show directly to a very specific audience the production had a huge head start on audience development that most shows wont have. Everything that works online is super niche and not designed for general audiences. If a show is designed to appeal to a general audience it probably will not catch on online.
  • If you want to make your money back, sell something. Far too many series are just giving their content away for free. Most people just want their shows to be seen, which is understandable but creators need to start considering the perception audiences get on the value of your content based around the cost you put on it. How often do you get something cool/useful/valuable for free? Hunting Season is made with a lot of care and production value and even if I might have thought they were just selling porn at least they were telling people it was worth something. According to Marcus the show hopes to make back about two thirds of their considerable budget.

What’s important to say about ‘Hunting Season’ is that despite this reviewer not being part of the target market for the show, at its core HS is a unique take on a lot of universal themes we all can identify with. The characters are worthy of their screen time, and relatable. Alex, the main character is young and trying to figure out what he wants from life. Society might put a lot of pressure on people to make up their minds and stick with it, particularly at a young age. I liked that Alex wasn’t ready to make up his mind on just about anything, and that the whole point was that sometimes that’s OK.

The excessive … stunts… of the early portions of the series had me concerned for a bit, but it gives way to a real character driven piece that kind of ended up surprising me a bit. So it’s not porn, it’s Game of Thrones, but with gay guys, and pixilated dragons… (ok I tried)…

Hunting Season can be found online at