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Arts and Entertainment

Web Series Review: Solo

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Let's face it: most so-called "web series" are unwatchable. The production value is typically poor; the acting is reliably awful; the writing is amateurishly terrible and the ideas are the sorts of ideas that should have remained nothing more than ideas. I include in this observation such theoretically "good" web series like The Guild and The Bannen Way, neither of which I can tolerate for more than a few seconds. That said, there are always outliers in every sample. I think Auto Tune the News and Between Two Ferns are not only hilarious, but perfectly suited to the internet. I add to them the new web series, Solo.

The concept for Solo is so simple that I'm surprised this is the first time I'm seeing it. With the glut of reality TV bombarding us every day, it's only a matter of time before something really significant is spun out as a reality show. In the case of Solo, it's the first manned mission to Mars. Series creator Jonathan Nail stars as Scott Drizhal, a hapless moron who's agreed to travel to Mars and have the entire adventure recorded for posterity. Only one problem -- the show gets cancelled after only a few episodes, stranding Scott in space and laying the groundwork for Solo.

While not every joke lands, enough do -- and they come fast and furious -- that the occasional misses are quickly forgotten. The casting -- usually a problem for web series since it's often just friends -- is spot on and inspired. More importantly, the show actually looks like some effort was put into its design. Don't get me wrong -- this doesn't look like a show that's been washed in money. Rather, it looks like something where the maximum amount of thought and invention was put into making everything work. For me at least, it did. If you have a few minutes at work to try something new, give Solo a shot.

You can find episodes of Solo here.