Turning back to the dramatic, this week we take a look at Infamous and Central Division. I chose to pair them together for two reasons. First, both of them have just four episodes available at the moment. And second, they illustrate a great point in the different ways to pull a viewer into a show.
Starting with Infamous, we’re dropped into a world where we find regular people dealing with all the good, and bad, that comes with having superpowers. It’s a great jumping off point. If you could read minds, would you use it for good, or evil? Talk to electronics? Regenerate?
These things are all hinted at as the story begins with John (Greg Washington) being saved by Solomon (John Chambers), from what looks an awful lot like certain death. It’s not all puppies and rainbows though. Solomon, clearly, didn’t go with good for his mind reading ability. He chose instead to go to work for someone known only as “The Patriarch.”
And that’s where we get into what it is that pulls you into a show. After one episode, you really don’t have a clue just what is going on. In fact, the only reason I know that Solomon works for “The Patriarch” is because I read the credits. We’re literally dropped into the middle of the story and left to figure it out as we go along, with only the minimum of exposition. That’s not a bad thing. In fact, in this case, I think it both fits the show, and makes you curious to see where this is all going.
It fits with the show because the Infamous team has been very clever about getting the most out of their webseries budget. Despite the fact that all four of the characters we meet in the opening run of episodes have special abilities, we don’t actually see much of it with our eyes. John regenerates, under bandages. We fill in the blanks as we watch Palmer’s (James Palmer) reaction. Solomon’s mind reading is mostly accomplished with sound effects and our imaginations. It’s taking the old horror adage of the things you can’t see being scarier, and transferring it to the hero realm.
It all works very well and makes me very curious to see what is to come. Right now, four episodes are available at Koldcast. There are twelve planned in this first season. You can also learn more from the official Infamous website. Here’s chapter one.
On the other side of the coin, we have Central Division, and an excellent use of exposition to kick things off. The show manages to set the stage in a beautifully simple way with one short conversation in a parking garage. In just two and a half minutes we learn of a meth bust gone bad, the Internal Affairs investigation that followed, pissed off Serbians that are out to get the cops, and see just how far they’re willing to go. It sounds like a lot, but it really is well done. Have a look.
That opening pulls you right in, and then things just get… twisted, for lack of a better word. The plot of Central Division just keeps turning back in on itself, to the point that you soon stop trusting anything you know. To say more would spoil the surprises. Brian Silverman and Clay Wilcox, as detectives Edwards and Hodge, are outstanding. The four episodes available at the Central Division website make up the whole of season one. And I’m very much looking forward to season two.
Finally, the lovely and talented Brittney Powell, from Safety Geeks SVI, sent me a great link on twitter the other day. It seems our favorite safety expert has been chosen ‘Babe of the Week’ at Freakshow Planet. That means two things. One, yay for Brittney and Safety Geeks, because they are both awesome. And two, a fantastic pictorial that is sure to brighten your day.