Knowing that it was shot on the RED One camera, I was very excited to check out Lumina. And DPs XiaoSu Han and Andreas Thalhammer definitely did not disappoint, having done a stunning job of capturing the beauty of Hong Kong, where the series takes place. Unfortunately, the series’ physical beauty masks some deeper issues with the show itself.
The mythology of the series is intriguing and well designed: in classic fairytale style, workaholic Lumina Wong falls for a prince named Ryder Lee. The catch is Ryder is from the Dark Realm and can only see Lumina through reflective surfaces such as mirrors. The series website goes deeper into the mythology, explaining that there are three known Realms: Earth (also known as the Light Realm), Corwaith (the Dark Realm) and the mysterious Bastion (the Realm of Jewels.).
Unfortunately, with three episodes of the show available online and a nine episode arc planned, the show has yet to really showcase that rich mythology. It starts out strong: we are immediately introduced to Ryder and jump right into Lumina and Ryder’s obvious attraction for one another. But then everything seems to slow down to a crawl. By episode 3, we are finally introduced to a potential villain…although his intentions are still murky at best. With the generally short format of web television, slow pacing can be the make or break for a series and I found myself being pulled away from the show several times during my watching.
Whether this was director Jennifer Thym’s intentions or not, it felt as if the series was purposely structuring itself as an extended showcase for the RED One camera and less about the fantastical love story I was hoping it would be.