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Summary:

Anyone who tells you that they’ve seen every online video series out there is lying. Everyone has gaps in their knowledge, even the most devoted. Which is my way of justifying the fact that I hadn’t seen After Judgment until after it was nominated for five […]

Anyone who tells you that they’ve seen every online video series out there is lying. Everyone has gaps in their knowledge, even the most devoted. Which is my way of justifying the fact that I hadn’t seen After Judgment until after it was nominated for five Streamys, including Best Dramatic Web Series (NewTeeVee is co-sponsoring the Streamys and I’m a founder of the IAWTV, which judges them).

But hey, better late than never, and I was glad to have the opportunity. After Judgment is an extremely moody, post-apocalyptic drama about a world 100 years after people stopped dying and people stopped being born. What isn’t immediately clear, however, is that this is the world post-Rapture. (For those who haven’t studied the Bible or seen any Kirk Cameron movies recently, the Rapture is the ascension of sinless souls that is said to take place as part of the second coming of Jesus Christ.)

But while my memory of the Book of Revelation is that once the Rapture has taken place, there’s some sort of world-ending war, Judgment instead takes place in a Waiting for Godot-esque hellscape. The central characters, Steven (Joel Bryant) and Michelle (Taryn O’Neill) wander aimlessly through the ruins of Los Angeles, seeking some sort of relief from the malaise of their lives.

Working on an incredibly limited budget, writer/director Michael Davies manages to invoke this world using only heavily saturated cinematography, atmospheric music, and some carefully chosen locations. There are some questions about the plausibility of the buildings and people surviving as well as they have over a 100-year time span, though once you buy into the Rapture conceit, it’s easier to accept these things. And fortunately, the religious angle isn’t a major factor — Judgment is more interested in how this event affected and broke down society, while a spin-off series, Before Judgment, explores the lives of the characters prior to After.

Judgment isn’t by any stretch of the imagination perfect: Its actors are talented but cold and distant, it’s difficult to engage or identify with any of the characters, and the overall tone is so heavy and melancholy that watching more than one episode in a row will make you crave a palette cleanser. But it’s a sublime example of an independent web series with a distinctly original point of view, which is exactly the sort of content the Streamys is celebrating, and what makes the online video medium an inspiring one.

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  1. Wow, thanks for highlight this series, I hadn’t heard about it either. I love that the internet lets someone go back and watch webseries from the beginning. I just wish some of the big content owners would get a clue about how awesome this is for consumers.

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  2. Even better, they have a deal worked out with TiVo. I have a feeling that this one is going to look a lot better on my big screen then most of the lean forward content you find on YouTube.

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  3. Great write up and review!

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  4. Very astute review, and an excellent show. My favorite part of the Streamys has been the discovery aspect–there are so many shows to watch, it is impossible to get to them all. Watching all the nominees before voting introduced me to several shows I had heard of, but not gotten to. As with the Oscars, Emmys, etc, an awards show leads to new viewers, and that helps raise all boats.

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    1. @Ned Canty – I totally agree. It’s like the awesomest homework assignment ever.

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  5. [...] series, marking a definite shift in tone from the team who created Streamy-nominated drama After Judgment, charts the adventures of Mike (Michael Davies) and Stuart (Stuart Papp), two beer-swilling dudes [...]

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  6. [...] series, marking a definite shift in tone from the team who created Streamy-nominated drama After Judgment, charts the adventures of Mike (Michael Davies) and Stuart (Stuart Papp), two beer-swilling dudes [...]

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  7. [...] content being offered are new seasons of five web series: Streamy-nominated post-apocalyptic drama After Judgment, Beverly Hills 90210 producer Charles Rosen’s Showbizzle, “broadband motion [...]

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  8. [...] Judgment creator Michael Davies proclaiming that there was “nothing religious” about his clearly Rapture-inspired series, followed up by complaints that no one was making any money making web [...]

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  9. [...] developing a feature film around the property. But new media actors/producers Stephanie Thorpe (After Judgement) and Paula Rhodes (A Good Knight’s Quest) aren’t waiting around for Warner Bros. to get [...]

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