The word that applies to this show is ‘epic’. Where was I 3 years ago when the show launched?
The scope of this series is in itself breathtaking. It is a complex story of a man on a roadtrip across the United States — or rather what is left of it — on the search for his family, after a mysterious event that caused 99% of the human population to vanish and all technology rendered useless. Along the way he gets in and out of trouble with other survivors, watches society break down and reform and attempts to piece together the cause for The Fall.
In this sense the story is reminiscent of the movie The Road in novel length. The detailed description of the break-down of civilization is beautiful, and the many characters and subplots make the story intensely engaging.
And if that weren’t enough, there is the unique execution. The series is an animation, but not fully in motion. The scenes are a mixture of static 3D images, a few minor 3D animations, live action backdrops and advanced fade-ins and outs and intense voice overs. This style has one reason: it is a graphic novel in motion. Don’t see it as your everyday web show. It is a graphic novel of the new age, meant to be enjoyed on cell phones, computers and game consoles as opposed to on paper.
The story is narrated by the main character Russel Shoemaker and thus could work quite well as a radio play: the imagery only serves as a support structure. Close your eyes and the story works just as well without the images. The writing is that good. Certainly, sometimes the exposition is wrought with cliches, but in many ways it only harkens back to the days of radio plays and the Sam Spade/Richard Diamond gumshoes and their corny one-liners. And that can be a good thing.
Roark Grant Critchlow is the intense voice behind the narration, and his attractive voice carries part of the appeal throughout the 130 episodes. Yes, you read correctly. At 130 episodes it is one of the longest web series out there, beat out only by Lonelygirl15 which has 547 (ghasp). Each episode is around 3 minutes long and it is impressive how they managed to pack emotions, twists and turns into these few minutes and still end each one with a cliffhanger. But at 130 episodes, the story translates into over 6 hours of footage, so don’t plan on watching the show in one sitting.
It is also is one of the few shows that managed to make the leap onto television, particularly the Sci-Fi Channel Australia, where it garnered a huge following.
Who says you need a massive budget to create an engaging story? Afterworld is a prime example in storytelling, showing that with simple images and a good storyline it is possible to drive us to the edge of our seats more effectively than a new Transformers movie or some massive big-budget End of The World flick ever could.
Click here to watch the full 130 episodes in order on YouTube, or watch the first 50 on our player above.
WARNING! THIS SHOW IS EXTREMELY ADDICTIVE!
MAY CAUSE SLEEPLESSNESS AND SHORTNESS OF BREATH!