Lemarze Smith's series "Relationships" has so many good elements going for it that there's no way any true lover of dramatic series will turn up their nose. Like any serial production, indie, or large studio, not every episode or scene is on the same level, so my rating reflects what I've watched as a whole. Some episodes are better than others, but when it's all said and done, "Relationships" is more than just a solid show, and yes, reader, there is a sprinkling of comedy to break up the dialog-heavy drama.
"Relationships," for the most part, follow two families who cross paths. The protagonist, Charlie, is a member of the Wilkes family, and by the end of episode two, we're introduced to Dr. Morgan. Quickly the show digs into her family life and relationships. The connection? Charlie himself who is required to see a doctor to receive his army benefits. The two quickly form a relationship, and her life becomes part of the story. So what exactly is "Relationships" about? You guessed it ... it's about relationships: family, friends, the ups and downs, secrets, and life in general. Smith's film even touches on a father's rage when he finds out his underage daughter is dating an adult in a position of power. There's simply a "lot" of content here. The show opens with a coming-out party of sorts for Michael Wilks, and by the end, most would agree that this family has some real crap luck when it comes to life. As I implied when I began this review, "Relationships" is not perfect - but either is anybody I have ever met.
This next section is generally used for thoughts on the more technical elements of a project. My general thoughts are that "Relationships" is a pretty good series, and I had no problem watching all the episodes. If technical aspects don't interest you, skip to the end. You'll be glad you did. Now, Lemarze Smith and his troupe have done an excellent job plotting out, performing, and generally creating a good show - but one of the first things I noticed was the inconsistency of the episodic structure. Episode lengths vary wildly from under half an hour to nearly sixty minutes. This makes it hard for any continued viewer to plan to catch an episode - because they don't know how long they'll be. This could have been easily fixed with some hard decisions and creative editing, but the vastly different episode lengths were one of the first things I noticed.
Speaking of hard decisions - there were a few plot threads that, honestly? Had me scratching my head as to why. One example is the inclusion of a murderer in the show. Well, sort of because you see, reader, episode two opens with an attack from this murderer and from there? Well, pretty much nothing until the last episode. An occasional comment from the cast about a killer on the loose and then the end ... but plotwise? It was completely unnecessary. It added unneeded length and did nothing for the story. As a matter of fact? It took away from the story. "Relationships" shines best when it focuses on the relationships it promises to be about. I couldn't help but feel that Smith wasn't sure about the show's direction at specific points, such as the added killer. It showed. Especially starting in episode six and going into episode seven where the show felt like it completely changed directions during certain points. Aside from that? There were audio issues that I didn't quite understand, such as ADR dialog being four or five times louder than anything else. It should be turned down in the edit because one scene in particular - without warning almost blew out my speakers. Just saying.
At the end of the day, "Relationships" actually surprised me and surpassed my expectations. Being a series and being a micro-budget one can be tough. A series doesn't just have to keep you interested for ninety minutes, and that can be tough. Lemarze Smith's show had no problem keeping me interested, but more importantly, it kept me entertained. Leaving mediocre in the dust is one hell of an accomplishment for an indie production, and I would have absolutely no problem recommending this series to anyone looking for a good drama—three and a half stars.