Of all the gorgeous dames, crooked cops and dirty rats in the world, who would possibly want to mess with a fine upstanding lawman like Detective Richard Panceliss? A lot of those characters want to, obviously, as shown in season 4 of the award-winning film noir comedy THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE. Co-created by and co-starring Tom Chamberlain and Dipu Bhattacharya, all 5 episodes of season 4, plus all previous seasons of the series, are now part of the impressive collection of digital content available on Seeka TV (additional links below).

Last season, Det. Panceliss (portrayed by Chamberlain) had a suspiciously familiar new client: his ex, Constance Trustworthy (Rebecca Robinson). While Constance supposedly has good intentions in asking Det. Panceliss to investigate a mysterious man who’s stalking her, it ends up being the most dangerous case he’s ever taken. After Constance vanishes inexplicably, Det. Panceliss becomes the prime suspect in her alleged demise.

From there, as Chamberlain describes it, Panceliss’ predicament gets even stickier. “Instead of jail, Dick is delivered by turncoat police to the mysterious crime kingpin who wants something. A mysterious henchman, Nottamole (also played by Robinson), is employed to get this ‘something’ from Panceliss, but is interrupted when Smitty (Panceliss’ intern, played by Bhattacharya), Temperance Friday (Panceliss’ secretary, played by Amy Lewis) and Sgt. McAdams (played by Brian Sierer) show up and produce a standoff!”

Detective Richard Panceliss (Tom Chamberlain) hits rock bottom in season 4 of THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE. Will a splash of reality get him back on the trail of the crooks?

Detective Richard Panceliss (Tom Chamberlain) hits rock bottom in season 4 of THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE. Will a splash of reality get him back on the trail of the crooks?

Now, with its hardened gumshoe recovering from the worst hangover this side of being repeatedly smashed on the head by bottles of Prohibition-era whiskey, season 4 of the acclaimed series now asks more burning questions: is Constance alive? Will Det. Panceliss find her while ultimately clearing his name? Will he find out who double-crossed him – and why? Most of all – will he ever find his pants?

Subtitled “Play It Again, Dick”, and featuring a show-stopping season finale that tips its cap to the unforgettable 1947 Humphrey Bogart-Ingrid Bergman classic CASABLANCA, THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE’s fourth season follows Det. Panceliss as he tries to bounce back from the heartbreaking state he was stuck in as season 3 closed. In rattling off the key beats of season 4’s arc, Chamberlain explains how those events affect the fates of PANTSLESS’ characters.

“Play it Again, Dick’ starts with a despondent drunken Dick thinking his lost love is lost forever, while the mysterious henchman Nottamole from season 3 is reviving Phem Faye Tall (Martina Ohlhauser) from a Season 1-ending coma. When Smitty and Temperance revive Panceliss from his stupor, he reveals lots of backstory that explains his betrayal, loss of pants, loss of love, and loss of police job. When he decides to go to Nick’s Café Canadien looking for Constance, he gets a floor show that brings the police instead, and an arrest. Again.”

THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE’s fourth season is an impressive fusion of the familiar and the unexpected. “Well, the main cast is back for season 4 with the same wacky humor, but no one gets kidnapped or tied up this time,” explains Chamberlain. “Oh, and The Pantsless Detective sings at the end, and not in the noir canary sense but in the literal sense. Plus, season 4 ends on a bit of a cliffhanger instead of a resolution like the first three.”

Story-wise, viewers will also understand the context of how and why Panceliss has become “the pantsless detective”. “We flash back to Panceliss’ heady days as an up and comer for the Naked City Police and meet the Chief of Detectives, Davenport (David Blackwell), Panceliss’ partner Jake Chinatown (Alan Ray) and the detectives from the squad room,” Chamberlain says. “They serve up plenty of backstory that explains how Panceliss lost his pants and his love.”

L-R: Detective Panceliss' loyal assistant Smitty (Dipu Bhattacharya) and secretary Temperance Friday (played by Amy Lewis) try to bring their boss back from his lowest low in season 4 of THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE.

L-R: Detective Panceliss’ loyal intern Smitty (Dipu Bhattacharya) and secretary Temperance Friday (played by Amy Lewis) try to bring their boss back from his lowest low in season 4 of THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE.

Also prevalent in season 4 of THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE: its new array of characters, and its growing flair for the dramatic. “…As a result (of the flashback scenes), we have the largest cast that we’ve had for any season so far,” says Bhattacharya. “There’s also a bit more drama interspersed among the silly comedy as we dive deeper into some of the main characters.”

Paying tribute to CASABLANCA, THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE also features a new setting in a heavily attended nightclub that everyone comes to.

“…You meet Nick (Danny Trevino), who runs the Café Canadien, a denizen of Naked City’s criminal underground, not to mention pirates, thugs and a fez-wearing band,” adds Chamberlain. “They help serve up our first musical number!”

Austin, Texas remains the center of production for THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE, and the city’s blossoming acting community was a bountiful resource for Chamberlain and Bhattacharya. “For the newcomers, we reached out to actors we’ve known through the years who’ve expressed interest in working with us to fill the squad room with detectives,” says Chamberlain. “And we got friends and the musicians behind the soundtrack to populate Nick’s.”

With the rich amount of actors available to the show’s producers in Austin, the foreground and background casts for season 4 of THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE were sizable. The time that Chamberlain and Bhattacharya had to work with them, though, was not. “…Availability was the top hurdle in finding people, since we only had about five relatively inflexible shooting days for this season,” Bhattacharya remembers.

While there was little time to film the fourth season of THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE, Chamberlain and Bhattacharya focused on making each episode in the same fast-moving style that embellished the series’ previous three seasons. For its fourth, Chamberlain and Bhattacharya decided to take the series’ production aesthetics up a few notches – but the exhaustive costs of those methods were increasingly evident to both filmmakers.

“We tried to continue our run-and-gun, shoe-string approach while also adding more ambitious shoots,” adds Chamberlain. “I think it forced us to be creative and I must say I like the result, but the strain of shooting this way has caught up with us, I think. If we are to continue we got to work more on funding and improving our production infrastructure. As much as I love doing something with practically nothing, I think we’ve gone to that well for the last time.”

Everybody comes to Nick's...including Det. Richard Panceliss and his right-hand man Smitty. Far left: Danny Trevino walks into season 4 of THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE as Nick, the Bogart-esque owner of nightclub Nick's Canadien.

Everyone comes to Nick’s…including Det. Richard Panceliss and Smitty. Far left: Danny Trevino walks into season 4 of THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE as Nick, the seedy owner of nightclub Cafe Canadien.

“…We had a more compressed shooting schedule, so that was still exhausting, especially the week when we reconfigured our office set for the flashback set,” Bhattacharya comments. “I think we pulled it off, but it showed that we’re about at the limits of what we can produce with the budget and crew size that we had. Too many of us are quadrupling-up on jobs.”

Though the production of THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE’s newest episodes frequently carried on at a dizzying clip, Bhattacharya earned the opportunity to focus on creating the proper scenery for this film noir spoof. “For me, I felt less pressure this time because Tom was both writing and directing, and I was able to spend a lot more of my creative energy on production design, such as making posters and other items for each set,” he adds. “So that was a nice change of pace for me that I enjoyed.”

While the pace of filming season 4 of THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE was still torrid, the series’ look and sound received a massive upgrade. “The most obvious evolution (of the show’s production quality) is the picture quality,” Bhattacharya explains. “We’ve gone from shooting season 1 on a Sony Handycam to DSLRs for seasons 2 and 3 to shooting in 4K for the first time with season 4.”

Aside from picture, it’s audio that can make or break any filmed production. On that element, Chamberlain and Bhattacharya worked on improving THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE’s sound with a spring in their steps and a song in their hearts. “We tried to step up our sound game with actual Foley (post-production sound effects) recording which was a fun challenge, and we added a musical number which was almost too much! We always try to maintain previous seasons’ tone while figuring out how to spring a surprise or two,” adds Chamberlain.

As the fourth season of THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE launches, it does so on one of the web’s fastest-growing services for independently produced episodic series: Seeka TV. With the complete series now part of Seeka’s programming, THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE found a fan in the network’s founder, George Reese, who saw it at the 2016 Austin Web Fest.

“AWF 2016 was my first web festival and my goal was to start building our (Seeka’s) portfolio for launch,” remembers Reese. “THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE jumped out at me in the festival because of how unique it was. To date, there’s still nothing out there quite like it. There are, of course, a lot of spoofs out there, but nothing that applies the web series format to the NAKED GUN-style spoof the way THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE does. I immediately wanted it on Seeka TV.”

Following several meetings at the Austin, Miami and New York Web Fests in 2016, Chamberlain and Bhattacharya were all in on joining Reese’s burgeoning venture. “You can check this with George, but he said we were exactly the kind of show he wanted in the platform’s initial batch of shows because we were fun and accessible,” replies Chamberlain. “He even said our use of the web form was brilliant. We’re going to say no to a flatterer like that? Seriously, though, George is a filmmaker himself and a 3-time success at starting tech companies. Seeka seems like a good bet.”

L-R: THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE co-stars Rebecca Robinson (as Constance Trustworthy), Tom Chamberlain (as Det. Panceliss), Alan Ray (playing Jake Chinatown) and David Blackwell (as Chief Davenport).

L-R: THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE co-stars Rebecca Robinson (as Constance Trustworthy), Tom Chamberlain (as Det. Panceliss), Alan Ray (playing Jake Chinatown) and David Blackwell (as Chief of Detectives Davenport).

The successful track record established by THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE on the web series festival scene convinced Reese to bring the show into the Seeka fold. For Chamberlain and Bhattacharya, though, that partnership couldn’t have been possible if they didn’t take a chance on delivering their series to festival audiences.

“Apparently George saw some sort of potential in us. Go figure! And this shows the value of applying to and attending festivals,” Bhattacharya responds. “Without the exposure we’d gotten the previous two years at web fests, it’s hard to imagine George would have known to, ahem, seek us out.”

As impressed as Reese was with THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE, he was even prouder of Chamberlain and Bhattacharya’s dedication to the total success of both Seeka and the overall web series business. “They (Chamberlain and Bhattacharya) are bigger than THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE,” adds Reese. “Yeah, they have a series that makes great use of the web series format, but they are also two great ambassadors of the format on behalf of all web series. They make it to almost all of the web festivals. They talk about other web series. They are hugely supportive of what Seeka TV is doing.”

Seeka’s one-on-one work with series creators made Chamberlain and Bhattacharya’s “good” bet” even better. “We (myself, Chamberlain and Bhattacharya) built a relationship over the course of the next 6-9 months and I think the personal relationship is ultimately what led them to feel comfortable with Seeka TV,” Reese explains.

While Reese’s company will inevitably grow, he underscores that Seeka will never be too big to care about the filmmakers who partner with it. “Seeka TV is still very much a start-up and most of what we’re offering this point is vision and being our show’s number 1 fans. The industry is littered with the corpses of platforms that have tried to take short cuts, often involving screwing filmmakers over. We’re playing the long-game, and I think that appeals to filmmakers as committed to the bigger picture as (Tom) and Dipu are.”

Thanks to Seeka TV, THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE has gotten a substantial upgrade in its presentation. Viewers of THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE can already see – and hear – the difference. “The sound and video on the platform is amazing. We’ve never looked or sounded better and we aren’t a web show anymore,” raves Chamberlain. The show’s reach has also grown by leaps and bounds. “Seeka’s apps on Roku, Apple TV, and the Apple App store put us on big screen TV’s and on handheld devices. We are truly a digital series now!”

33778959_1666437053424455_7232839108169564160_nTHE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE’s potential for greater viewer gain stems from Seeka’s dedicated focus on original series content, and the convenience of its multi-platform apps, which makes PANTSLESS and other shows on Seeka TV more accessible.

“On YouTube, you’re a grain of sand on a beach. On Seeka TV, we’re grouped with some really great shows on a platform where it’s much easier to find series to watch,” Bhattacharya says. “It’s fun to be able to cross-promote with our Seeka siblings, too, and having the logistical support of the Seeka TV team as we launched our new season was a huge boost that we’d never had before.”

Best of all, Chamberlain and Bhattacharya say, they can zone in on making THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE while Seeka’s support staff does all the leg work in getting viewers to watch. “It is so nice not to be our own distributors! Seeka is an artist-friendly, non-exploitative way to turn at least some of the distribution, promotion, and PR chores over to folks that are better at that stuff than us,” Chamberlain notes. “We would never have an audience outside the web on our own. Plus, they are ready to help us monetize and that is the only way we can continue at this point.”

“The Seeka TV staff have been on top of the cross-promotion for Season 4 like nothing I’ve ever seen,” adds Bhattacharya. “Within seconds of us posting the trailer, or a promo graphic, they’ve shared it to a wider audience. And the fact that their templates for graphics require so many different formats to accommodate web browsers, mobile devices, and each app shows a focus on details in areas that I don’t have expertise in. So that’s incredibly helpful and gives me a lot of confidence in their platform.”

Though a fifth season of THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE is not out of the question, its creators know that the series’ continuation depends on how well viewers respond to it – and on how much they can work with to make another season possible.

“We need to reach the next level of production, and that won’t happen without an expanded audience and funding,” cautions Bhattacharya. “Seeka is providing an opportunity for us to expand both that we could not accomplish on our own. It will be very gratifying if one day, as a result of this partnership, we can pay our cast and crew in more than sandwiches and pizzas.”

Though Chamberlain and Bhattacharya have big goals for improving THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE’s production and audience, they believe that their commitment to entertaining viewers is still their top priority. “I hope it makes them happy,” Chamberlain says. “I hope it makes them see something different every time they rewatch it. I hope they take the same joy away from watching it that we put into making it.” Bhattacharya agrees. “I hope they’re still enjoying what we make and want to keep watching more. Our characters are growing, and I hope the audience’s investment in them is (growing), as well.”

(NOTE: Chamberlain says that all four seasons of THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE will be closed-captioned on Seeka TV.)

ON THE WEB: www.pantslessdetective.com

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