Getting Away With Murder is the first web series in the Independent Film Channel’s efforts to expand into original online programming.  The show is produced by IFC’s in-house user-generated video site Media Lab, digital media company VMIX, and young filmmakers Bennett Barbakow and Andrew Schwartz of tiny California production house Test Pattern

Beginning in May 2007 (Mother’s Day), a new episode was released every Monday morning for 14 consecutive weeks and stars Gilbert John, a young actor whose previous work went from making “weird movies” in college, to being a gofer in the porn industry, to acting in commercials and directing independent music videos. The show is promoted as being “finally an original web series worth dying for,” a line that evokes its violence, humor, and indie sensibility.

John plays Seth Silver, a bespectacled twentysomething who lives at home with his eccentric Jewish mother Rhonda, not out of his dependence but because “it would break her heart if I wasn’t around.”  Part of the series’ content and appeal involves Seth’s offbeat banter with Rhonda, his love interest Lily, and his longtime pal Rex, a slacker shoe salesman.  The other part of the series involves Seth’s professional life – not his fake job as an assistant veterinarian, but his real job as a hit man – and the tensions it creates with his domestic situation. 

Beginning with the opening credits sequence, the series depicts shots of Seth with his mom and friends intercut with scenes of underworld characters – like his redneck boss Kip or his rival assassin, the sadistic Pinkie – and various anonymous victims getting whacked. 

A lot of the series’ energy is in the action sequences, and Episode 13 has one of the most elaborate and dynamic of the season.  Seth is on his first date with Lily and has to leave the restaurant to kill several Japanese counterfeiters. Outnumbered, outgunned, and untrained in martial arts, he nonetheless quickly dispatches them and returns to an exasperated Lily, all before dinner is served.

The series website features behind-the-scenes photos, downloads, and other extras including Seth’s faux laundry tips, blog, and MySpace profile.  There are also message boards with responses from viewers, including one comment that the series “reminds me of Clerks + Grosse Pointe Blank.”  In fact, the series draws especially from Quentin Tarantino’s semi-comical ultraviolence, quirky characters, humor, and extended dialogue. Other Tarantino-isms include black-and-white intertitles, black suits and ties, car trunks, names beginning with the same letter (Seth Silver meet Vincent Vega), and the shots of Seth pointing his gun in a manner reminiscent of Reservoir Dogs.
John plays Seth Silver, a bespectacled twentysomething who lives at home with his eccentric Jewish mother Rhonda, not out of his dependence but because “it would break her heart if I wasn’t around.”  Part of the series’ content and appeal involves Seth’s offbeat banter with Rhonda, his love interest Lily, and his longtime pal Rex, a slacker shoe salesman.  The other part of the series involves Seth’s professional life – not his fake job as an assistant veterinarian, but his real job as a hit man – and the tensions it creates with his domestic situation. 

Beginning with the opening credits sequence, the series depicts shots of Seth with his mom and friends intercut with scenes of underworld characters – like his redneck boss Kip or his rival assassin, the sadistic Pinkie – and various anonymous victims getting whacked. 

A lot of the series’ energy is in the action sequences, and Episode 13 has one of the most elaborate and dynamic of the season.  Seth is on his first date with Lily and has to leave the restaurant to kill several Japanese counterfeiters. Outnumbered, outgunned, and untrained in martial arts, he nonetheless quickly dispatches them and returns to an exasperated Lily, all before dinner is served.

The series website features behind-the-scenes photos, downloads, and other extras including Seth’s faux laundry tips, blog, and MySpace profile.  There are also message boards with responses from viewers, including one comment that the series “reminds me of Clerks + Grosse Pointe Blank.”  In fact, the series draws especially from Quentin Tarantino’s semi-comical ultraviolence, quirky characters, humor, and extended dialogue. Other Tarantino-isms include black-and-white intertitles, black suits and ties, car trunks, names beginning with the same letter (Seth Silver meet Vincent Vega), and the shots of Seth pointing his gun in a manner reminiscent of Reservoir Dogs.

Tarantino fans may like the reworked torture sequence from Reservoir Dogs in Episode 5. On the lighter side, Episode 6 has some of the funniest dialogue in the series, with Rex describing how his on-the-job quickie led to being “temporarily suspended from the Pretty in Pumps payroll” (with John Hughes teen comedies thus becoming yet another allusion for the series).

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