The series Oh, Inverted World, which debuted today on Vimeo, represents exactly what I love about covering web original content. While not perfect, it’s a show that resists pigeonholing, resists predictability and features the kind of unique voice that may struggle to find a foothold in mainstream entertainment, but thrives online.
Initially, the series seems poised to be nothing much more than a story of post-graduate slackers bumming around a small American town. (There’s nothing wrong with that, for the record — take, as one example, the excellent WB series Downers Grove.) Even without the eerie opening of Episode 1, clues scattered throughout the series indicate something strange is afoot, as rumors abound that the four friends who have just returned home after college have stumbled into a truly weird mystery involving the allegedly imminent collapse of the moon.
There are some issues with the show’s execution; a major one, especially for the first episode, is its pace. While the strangeness of certain events in Episode 1 does inspire some interest, and the episode itself ends on a solid twist, there’s too much build-up leading to that point. (Episodes 2 and 3, which aren’t out yet but were available for review, suffer less from this.)
Production values are decent, though the sound design is sloppy in places, and the black-and-white cinematography is occasionally a little murky. In addition, casting-wise, there are standouts and non-entities — Pamela Bell as Mina, best friend to the “Bearded Three,” is a sympathetic and engaging lead who easily carries the show, but so far none of her three friends (played by Christian Nilsson, Terence Krey and Alex Longo) demonstrate much in the way of distinct personalities. Also, the mysterious Selene, played by Krystel Bua, sometimes struggles to hit the right note of mysterious femme fatale.
However, it really does have a lot of charm, especially as episodes progress. An obvious debt owed is to Richard Kelly’s Donnie Darko, but creator and writer Terence Krey has given the show a sweeter edge. The show’s tagline is “It’s about your mid-twenties. It’s about the moon falling into the earth. And it’s about feeling everything in between.” It’s hard to describe it much better than that, to be honest.
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