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Friday, November 07, 2008

Show Review: Kirill (Ep. 1-3)

I recently had the opportunity to watch the first three episodes of the web series "Kirill" and have to say I'm rather impressed. Most web series that I've seen, with exception to the BSG webisodes, have been a mixture of bad acting, poor writing, or plain poor production. "Kirill," however, is quite the opposite. This is, of course, speaking about the first three episodes and it's entirely possible that this interesting show could go downhill fast. Let's hope not, though, because "Kirill" is really a fascinating little show.
With episodes clocking in at about two-and-a-half to three minutes long, there isn't a lot of time for the writers or the actors to establish their characters. But "Kirill" does all it needs to do in the first few episodes to draw my attention. It has an interesting premise: a desperate fugitive (played by David Schofield, who is deliciously creepy) trapped in a building in a hostile future Earth is, for reasons yet to be revealed to us, trying to initiate contact with a woman to warn her of...something. What's so interesting about the premise is that even after about six minutes of show we're left wondering a lot of things: What is going on? Why is he so desperate to help this woman? What has happened to the Earth? Why is he in this room? Hopefully these questions will be answered in the following webisodes, but for now, Schofield has done a fantastic job bringing this character with so little screen time to life.
Another interesting point about the show is that it is part internal dialogue and part external dialogue. While this doesn't work for movie-length features, it seems to work wonderfully in "Kirill," where Schofield's internal dialogue delivers rather morbid discussions of the tolerances of the human body. Outwardly we are given a ragged older man, obviously warn, psychological strained, and desperate. I've always liked Schofield and that hasn't changed here. In some ways I think this is a perfect role for him, because he is now being given the face time he seems to never get (his stint on Pirates of the Caribbean was far too short, in my opinion).
Adding to the more "standard" video, there are, as far as I can tell, two blogs roaming out there, one of which is linked through the "Kirill" website. These blogs seem to be an attempt at producing a more realistic platform for the webisodes and offers a quick way for the characters to sort of establish themselves even though they haven't had any screen time yet. If you want to get into more of the mystery behind this series, you should read the blogs. They come with short video clips and a lot of information written much like real personal blogs are written. They enhance the story by showing the outside world that our main character, Kirill, doesn't see (and a lot of scary things are happening in the outside world). My only complaint is that I don't get the same emotional attachment I do to Schofield's beaten-down character, and perhaps that's because Kirill has a face and these other characters are mostly faceless.
Beyond all this, it's hard to say whether "Kirill" will shape up to be a groundbreaking web series. While it certainly looks like it could be, this will all depend on future episodes where new actors/characters are introduced and the writers/director will have to show us what is going on. There are, as far as I can tell, only seven webisodes left, leaving the show little time to get the ball rolling on the story (unless there will be more and this short season is a "teaser" or sorts to test the market). I have high hopes, though, and we will see as time passes.

Go check it out!

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