FOX (WEB SERIES) Review
Monroe Hayden as Fox
FOX: An Engaging Web Show
Unlike most reviewers, I watched the entire first half of the season (the show is currently on break and returns 12 May, 2016) before submitting a review. The show centers around Fox, played by Monroe Hayden, and her secrets regarding dreams. Don't worry, this isn't a Gossip Girl type of show. I would say, in the most highest respects that Fox is a hybrid of Pretty Little Liars, 11.22.63 and American Horror Story. Its characters are teenagers, Mina Abrams, played by Allyson Moyer, is still in high school, and it's a spin off of a teen drama digital novel series, Daisy written by Xavier Haven. Their demographic is going to be teenagers no matter how they cut the cookie. But the psychological aspect of what dreams are and what they mean calls for a more mature audience as well. Call this the teen version of Inception, if you will, yet- the show's focus on dreams also shed light on nightmares which invites a horror aspect to the show that I'm more interested in.
I want to start off from the beginning; the Pilot. When I first saw it, I had a few problems with it- mainly that it was too short and there weren't a lot of characters besides Fox in it to connect with, however, it was always moving. That's the key, isn't it? You can watch any show with a large funding and ultra celebrity status support but if it's not moving or moving slow, it doesn't really matter. Fox's Pilot moved and it moved quickly without feeling too rushed. That's when I realized that I was upset that it was short. I wanted more! Which leads me to the rest of the first half of the season or what television (I guess web series call it too) 1A.
Side Note: For those who are confused what 1A means, basically- a season is split in two parts; 1A and 1B. This makes it easier to shoot in retrospect. The production shoots a certain amount of episodes for the first half (i.e. 1A), takes a break then returns to film the last half. Usually while on break, the show premieres on their platform for viewership. When the cast and crew return to work, the show is usually towards its last episodes of the first half then it goes on break and we, the audience, are given a series of reruns or binge watch the episodes. When the show returns on air, the cast and crew have already finished or are about to.
The entire first half of the season moved fast in the most engaging way. It's not your typical slow paced, suspenseful show we get on prime time television. I do believe it's mostly due to the fact that episodes are short so naturally, it would move fast. This is a crackling, fast paced series which needs to be watched episode by episode. I wouldn't call this high art but it's definitely artistic with respects in the right place and I believe that's the point. The show doesn't take itself seriously in the most fun way. Note how I said "fun way not funny way". It's not making a complete fool of itself but it definitely knows what genre it fits under, the demographic of their audience and how they'll most likely be perceived by society.
The performances are flawed at times but it's normal for a first season cast to have that. They're humans after all portraying fictional characters. The directing is awkward at times too but the fast pacing of each episode doesn't let you think it over and sometimes, you forget to breathe. This is a true definition of a thrill ride!
For filmmakers, when you watch this, you'll get the feeling that the show is very experimental. I think it is. It executes a lot of things in not so traditional ways and it surprisingly works most of the time. Sure, there are times where it just didn't hit it for me but I appreciated the effort the creators made to show me something familiar in a different way. Most TV shows won't ever takes chances to experiment because they're making it with someone else's money. This show, from what I understand, was funded and completely paid for by the makers. So they absolutely have the right to experiment and have the freedom to do so.
Your friends may call shows like Pretty Little Liars the better teen suspenseful show, but I disagree (and yes, I watch Pretty Little Liars.). As far as Pilot's go, Pretty Little Liars will always be better as it had more characters to engage with and a much bigger budget to play with. However, since then it's merely good, sometimes it's great yet it takes itself too seriously and moves at a slower pace but my problem with PLL is that the writing, most of the time and especially in it's newer seasons, feels stale, recycled and boring. There really isn't a reason why it should be that weak but it is. PLL had all the tools to pull off a new kind of teenage drama that was respectful in the adult world but it failed for me. This is why Fox is better, in my opinion. Even in it's first season, the show's writing is engaging, important and clever in ways PLL has yet to do in all its 6 (going on 7). Despite having to watch episode by episode, each is exciting and mysterious (sometimes scary) on its own. It seems like the creators know when something is dull or lagging but instead of slowing down to make their flaws more apparent, they speed up and overdoes things on purpose.
Yes, it is messy at times even silly (when it makes fun of itself) but overall, more intriguing, exciting and just more fun! I hope they make a second season to this. I loved everything about it!