Based on an Oddgod comic book mini-series by Jesse Bausch and James Callahan (who draws one sick toilet seat) of the same name, the premise of Strange Detective Tales is genius.

During the monster movie craze of the 1930’s – that, in real life, let loose classic celluloid horrors like Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Mummy and made insta-celebrities of Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff – freakish beasts from all over the world descended upon Los Angeles to get gigs in moving pictures. But instead of stardom, they get swindled as all the movie moguls steal their ideas and leave them for broke. So, by the 1950’s, there’s a disheartened, disenfranchised, underworldly underclass of monsters living in the shadows of the Hollywood hills.

Bausch says the original idea started as a joke. After watching too many bucket list, buddy films, he thought it’d be kinda cute if Dracula’s bug-breathed sycophant, Renfield and every evil mastermind’s henchman, Igor paired up for odd couple escapades. The concept evolved into them being 50’s film noir detectives, liaisons between the monster and human worlds, mostly protecting the former from the latter.

But such a clever comic worth reading fails to translate to video, at least when it’s produced by Hungry Man TV. Like most of its other shows, Strange Detective Tales doesn’t satisfy.

###The art is fantastic, but the praise ends there. The pacing is far too slow and the action far too labored for the series to gain any traction. The writing also completely misses opportunities to appeal to fanatical horror buffs who would otherwise eat this series alive.

Unlike The Guild – which uses insider info and lingo to please its hardcore gamer audience while remaining accessible to everyone else – there’s nothing here to please Fangoria readers and/or fans of classic Hollywood (the one exception is when “Dr.” Igor, who loves SCIENCE!, says how he hates magic). Aside from the premise, it’s unoriginal. Replace all the tongue-in-cheek monsters with Looney Tunes characters and you’d still basically have the same show.

It’s aggravating to think of how much better a more talented production crew could’ve handled the series. But I get a similar feeling after watching almost all of Hungry Man TV’s productions. Aside from a few decent series premieres (and yeah, Danimal’s Entoruage spoof was excellent) the shows seem like inside jokes halfway done, last-minute efforts from a commercial production house more interested in making commercials than original web series.

Hey, Hungry Man, play to your strengths. Stick to short-form, commercial-like content and turn those into multi-episode shows. That’s exactly what you’re doing with Phistophicles and it’s by far the best series you have. Also, get rid of the annoying TV interface on your website. We get it. We’re watching kinda-television. But that doesn’t mean we need to be relegated to a subpar viewing experience with confusing dials.

And serve up something good. I know you can.

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