WARNING! A PG-14 show!
The Resistance decided to resist the urge of going online for quite a while.
Expected to debut in 2009, they held out instead to launch their resistance as a TV movie first… on the Syfy channel?
It’s not the first web show to go network, but it certainly is the first to go network before going online. As such it then begs the question: is Resistance still a high-quality web show or just another low-budget Syfy TV movie/pilot?
The quality of the show is top notch, but the dystopia story doesn’t seem overly original. We seem to be looking at a blend of Equilibrium meets Ultra Violet with plenty of 1984 tossed into it and a few additional twists. As a web series format this would probably be hailed as a new trend-setter, but going network it sort of takes the fun out of it, doesn’t it?
The magic of web shows is the ability of truly talented people taking nothing or very little in the ways of budget and crafting great entertainment. If a property goes network and then online or even TV show/feature film, then the magic is gone. The Resistance would thus become just another show with a budget and a network to back it up. Certainly from a producer’s point-of-view its a blessing: any creator dreams of cutting a network deal to develop his or her imagined world in a medium that allows for a wider audience and some money to put food on the table. But it somehow feels like a sell-out from a web series community point-of-view.
But is it any good? The Resistance introduces a style that makes it stand apart: each episode is set-up by motion comic book scenes that establish its obvious comic book inspirations. This gives the show a very unique look but also leads the creators to believe that they can get away with comic book violence in the live-action sequences. Unfortunately that’s where it falls apart: all the blood and gore seem to turn a lot of people away, according to YouTube comments and hits. Taking a step back, the show chose style over substance. Tightly edited and tightly shot, it has the feel of an indie production crew trying to show off their ability to pack emotions into small frames while at the same time hiding the even smaller budget. Is it well shot? Absolutely. Don’t let it be said these guys can’t hold a camera, edit or create effective music. But the dark emo setting isn’t exactly something that makes you want to come back for more episodes, and the characters, also dark and darker, don’t inspire too much realism or a deeper viewer-character connection.
With its roots deeply set in comic books and computer games, The Resistance has something for the more emo members of our society. Semblances can be drawn to Battlestar Galactica or Caprica, but even those shows had some sort of character developments and even humor, while still keeping true to a darker style. The Resistance, with its dystopian been-there-done-that setting is unfortunately, despite its artistry and budget, easy to resist.