Sometimes, it’s difficult to commit to a TV series because of the time involved. Sometimes you need just a few minutes of an interesting diversion. And sometimes your attention span just won’t let you focus for more than five minutes at a time. I’ve got just the web series for you – Personal Space, a new series with 28 episodes of less than six minutes each, debuts on Amazon today.
With such short episodes, you can’t have a complicated plot or a ton of characters – and Personal Space fits. “The series is a sci-fi dramedy that takes place in an alternate timeline where the American space program has been decades ahead of actual history,” according to the show’s press release. “Generation ship Overture was launched on a very long journey in the early ’90s to a distant star. The crew serves in 25 year shifts, with each shift passing the torch to the one after. The audience watches current events aboard the ship unfold in 2017, as the second shift is supposed to take command, while the crew of Overture speak in confidence to the ship’s therapy computer. The key phrase here is “supposed to.”
What the crew doesn’t know, though, is that a TV network, Actaeon, has purchased the ship, and is broadcasting the crew’s therapy sessions to the public. At least through the five episodes I’ve seen, there are only two sets – in one room on the ship, with the crew coming in one at a time and talking with the computer; and the two hosts of the broadcast – the female host is on the ball, and the male host is completely clueless (have you seen the SNL skits with the two sports announcers? Yeah, that.). There’s a “Truman Show” vibe on a much smaller scale. (The series uses the handle @ActaeonEnt – it’s actually a live Twitter account, but there’s not a huge amount of current content. Read the hashtags in the account’s profile. No, really, do it.)
There’s a looming interpersonal crisis, involving a recorder (the musical kind) and Donkey Kong; a potential food shortage; and something’s going on with the ship. It’s probably not 2001: A Space Odyssey-serious, but we don’t know yet!
Battlestar Galactica alum Richard Hatch gives his final performances in Personal Space, as outgoing Commander King. He should be turning over command and going into cryosleep, after 25 years, to second shift Commander Gartner (Nicki Clyne), but he has many excuses for staying awake, and the other crewmembers are concerned that his use of oxygen and resources is endangering all of them. The show is dedicated to Hatch’s memory (he died in February of 2017).
We only see one crew member at a time (but you can often hear others, which is kind of funny), and the episodes move very quickly – well, they’d have to, wouldn’t they! Watch all the way through the credits – there’s just a quick little something at the very end that may or may not be relevant.
Personal Space came out of years of discussions and abortive plans between the creative team of Tom R. Pike, Zack Wallnau, and Dana Luery Shaw to create a science fiction show set in space. Previous attempts had been too expensive, or if made cheaper, would have looked cheap. When they hit upon the idea of using the fixed perspective of a therapy computer, the team realized they had a way to tell a story with expansive scope without needing a TV-sized budget.
Using Kickstarter, the series was funded by 703 backers who raised $49,000 to bring the series to life. Shooting commenced in June, and again in September. 191 pages of script were shot in 11 days, including three scenes where Clyne, Hatch, and Sean Persaud (as the ship’s medical officer) performed their own zero-g wirework stunts. Post-production on all 28 episodes took another year to complete.
My recommendation? Give it a try! It will take you less than 2 hours to complete all 28 episodes. Do it all at once, or watch an episode or two while waiting in line or eating lunch. I’ll be finishing it this weekend.
Click here to watch!
On Twitter: @PersonalSp_ce
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