When the angels were forbidden to interfere with man, the Archangel
Michael discovered a way to use an angel's very essence to create a half human, half angel protector for mankind. They call them the Countervail. Every generation a new Countervail is born.
Written By: Michael Rye
Directed By: Michael Rye
Consistency. This word is probably one of the single most important words for an indie director. It's also a word writer/director Michael Rye needs to put at the front of his mind at all times, which brings us to "Darker Than Night: Lucas Rising", the second episode of this emerging new series. This independent show has the potential to really be something cool to watch, even to wait for if released in increments. Now, in it's fledgling state, "Darker Than Night" is an above average series with some interesting concepts driving the narrative, as I'll get into below. Right now however, it's just really up and down; from being truly excellent one scene to hollow and scripted the next. Not much middle ground. My real fear is that fellow directors, writers and producers may accept and forgive most of the up and down nature of the show; casual viewers however, will probably not be as patient.
The biblical origins and interpretations are certainly very cool and to some extent really freshen up a cliche genre. We even have a few slightly humorous moments stuck into the darker content. I just really feel the potential of the series took a slight downturn over issues that could easily have been resolved. Still though, "Darker Than Night" is a solid piece of supernatural entertainment that I expect will greatly improve and gain a much larger audience.
The camera work presented for "Darker Than Night" is my biggest complaint regarding the show. Not because it's horrible, but because nothing screams independent like a shaky, a-la-Blair Witch cinematic style. Well, that and audio issues... but I'm getting side tracked. A huge chunk of this show is made up of jarring shaky shots that really don't do much for it. I've heard all the excuses before: It shows drama or excitement, or that someone just didn't have the money to pay for more complex and stable shots. Simple fact is this: It doesn't take much to set up a tripod and lock off your shots! You may think it's boring but the viewer is thanking you the entire time! Sure, some big budget studio films use this shaky method. But not always, and when they do use it they have the gear and talent to make it look good. I always preach to steer clear of the Blair Witch syndrome, yet it still sits high and mighty atop the list of things people visualize when they think independent. Advice? Stick with the tried and true cinematic formula. Locked shots are nicer on the eyes than bouncing ones.
Aside from that, the editing and pacing worked for the most part, making the 40 minute run-time seem much less. A few instances of hollow acting did occur however, and I think most could have been edited out without harming the story Michael Rye is spinning. Even with just some creative video editing. I'm by no means writing that everyone pulled off an Oscar worthy performance, I'm just saying that overall there's some good stuff mixed into this production. The writing itself? So far things seem on-track and easy to follow, with some interesting concepts I would love to see elaborated on. As a complete package, lensing aside, "Darker Than Night" is a solid production that if continued will probably improve drastically with each episode.
In the end, as I'm sure you guessed this wasn't a perfect series by any stretch. But it was still a damn good one. I feel with a little more attention to detail we could have a real winner here, with the potential to catch on drawing in both seasoned and casual viewers alike. When you got some time check this one out, maybe start with the pilot episode though. Links can be found to the left of this write-up.
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