When Christopher Preksta set out to make a movie in 2003, I don’t think he ever would have imagined recutting it as a web series nearly three years after its initial release. Originally shot in and around Pittsburgh, PA for a modest budget of $7,000, Captain Blasto (the series) launched last June, a scant month-and-a-half before the sitebusting debut of Joss Whedon‘s Dr. Horrible. Outside of the eerily familiar costuming (why do villain’s always have to wear lab coats?), and the fact that both shows fall smack dab into the middle of the popular super-hero genre, Captain Blasto and Dr. Horrible have very little in common, and unlike the doctor, Blasto never quite found its audience online (it pulled in a total of twelve-thousand cumulative views on YouTube), despite coverage in io9 and a whole slew of other outlets.
The series, whose finale went live on Nov. 10, follows the exploits of 18 year old Colin Carter (played by Preksta), student by day and super-hero (Captain Blasto) by night. He pulls together a rag-tag group of janitors, stressed out computer programmers, electricians and other n’er-do-wells (played by Aaron Kleiber, Curt Wootton, Mark Tierno, Sam Nicotero, Christopher Hammel, Mike Dirocco), and launches a crime spree the likes of which his small Pennsylvanian town has never seen. The catch? Captain Blasto uses the heists as an excuse to publicly display his crime fighting prowess.
Blasto sports a very developed, almost over-engineered aesthetic—part comic book, part 1950’s television show. The split screen, comic cell framing works, as do the blown out, over-saturated colors. That is, until the final two episodes when everything turns almost entirely black and white.
With eleven sporadically released episodes, all varying in length from 5-10 minutes, it was hard to predict when and what to expect next over the course of the show’s run. The series clocked in at one hour fifteen minutes, meaning that an entire half-hour of the original film is missing—but for a web television audience accustomed to fast-paced, quick-cut short form content, that was a smart move.
Preksta released his series on a variety of platforms, including YouTube, Yahoo Video and Blip—as well as distribution through the show’s own website at CaptainBlasto.com. Preksta and his company, Mercury Men Pictures, have yet to monetize the series with advertising or sponsorship, but he plans to use the show as a calling card for future work, and will sell DVDs to recoup production costs.
For a first time director, Captain Blasto is an impressive feat. The music is great, the characters are well written, the action is engaging, and the story-line is fun. We’re looking forward to Preksta’s next project, The Mercury Men—we’re certainly hoping it’ll be a web series.