Posthuman (2011) – By James Dubbeldam

Posthuman is a web series written and directed by Lyndon Horsfall about a private investigator named Charlie Porter (played by Jason Martorino) set in a fictional world that becomes less and less like the reality we know the further we get into the story.

The first episode begins with a fast moving array of nice, artsy shots that grabs your attention immediately. Although it’s in black and white, it suits the story, especially being an old style detective story.

Of course a beautiful woman enters Porters office with a mysterious case (how else could it start?) that Porter can’t refuse. Their dialogue is quick and tight, exactly how you would expect it to be (and it’s good). The music sets the pace and creates an additional feel through style and it’s modern feeling. A tat bit loud at times, the viewer is almost guaranteed to be drawn into the world quickly created in the first 3 minute episode. Although one location, you’re left wanting more. Almost immediately I was reminded of one of my favorite movies, Payback, because of the name ‘Porter’ and the hat Mr. Martorino wears.

In between the episodes are ‘mini episodes’ which serve to provide more information about the setting, our main character and fill in some blanks. Opposed to the black and white of the episodes, these are in color, very simple yet complex. Harder to watch and stay interested unless you begin to care.

The second episode begins slowly and dramatically, not exactly what you are expecting and almost hoping for after the quick ending of the previous episode. Using an exterior location for the second episode, I started to find things that pulled me back from the intensity of the story. First, I craved to see more as I watched the conversation unfold, to see the setting to get a sense of the location and the geography. Maybe some establishing shots or some wide angles to help build this imaginary world the story takes place in would help. But the focus was on the characters, the dialogue- building the scene as it were.

The acting overall is good, Porter has a big role to fill and does so quite well. His supporting actors aren’t as strong, but no one stands out as weak amongst the bunch.

Although the second episode is longer then the first, it mixes in strange elements in with it’s reality, which almost confuses and gets you thinking- and ultimately works. Again the episode is simple, almost a little too simple as if you don’t catch the audience right away, you never will. It’s very intriguing, but just the same either keeping it quite short (like the first episode) or making every word count is what I would recommend to keeping the interest levels high. I was ready for the third episode- I just hoped it was going to pick up a little.

The third episode started out quickly, which is exactly what I wanted. Again, it’s a one location piece. I now get the rhythm. But again there was no establishing shots, no wide angles or anything to help me feel where these characters are screen were located. And it’s much needed.

I wasn’t sure what was going on right away until I realized the episode was actually a flashback, but I wasn’t sure. I started to think to myself, ‘this feels like a big TV show’. They were diving in character backgrounds early on but I felt like it as almost unnecessary. Maybe if the show was 22 minutes long there would be time to really dive into the characters and their motivations, etc. but in a 5 minute episode too much of the screen time is taken over by things maybe we as the viewer should learn indirectly or perhaps slower (less in each), while moving the story forward. In my opinion, every short episode should move the story and its’ characters forward.

The style changed for the flashback episode, and I wasn’t really a fan. I’m a big fan of continuous shots, but one was way too long and didn’t have enough going on in it to keep you interested. Again the music was a bit too loud at times but that’s really it for production problems- which is a big accomplishment in itself!

Overall, I liked it, but as it slowed down and in my eyes wavered from what I thought it was going to be about I began to loose interest. Not to say I wouldn’t watch another, I’m just saying it really could have had me excited to see what happens in the next episode.

As for the website itself, I did run into a couple of problems. The layout of the episodes themselves is awkward unless you actually click on ‘episodes’ button which makes it easier to navigate through them (and the mini episodes), otherwise it can be a tat confusing what you are watching and what comes next. I also ran into other issues, but I’m not sure if it was my internet connection or the episodes themselves (syncing issues). But that’s something you expect to occur with something online, so I let it go.

I enjoy watching the episodes of Posthuman, I hope it doesn’t appear like I am being too critical in this review. It’s just that I liked it enough to put time into thinking how I could see it being better and more successful. I look forward to watching more! Especially if the director values any of my thoughts!

If you’d like to check out this web series for yourself, you can head on over to the website at http://www.whatisameme.com and check it out.