It’s been a few months since we’ve discussed Joe Penna, the Brazilian guitarist whose MysteryGuitarMan channel is among the most subscribed on YouTube. Penna’s still plugging along on his Big Frame-supported channel, but he’s also debuted a new series on the Rides.tv platform. It’s called Meridian, and it’s the biggest and most audacious series we’ve seen from Penna thus far.
Meridian, which is written and directed by Penna, follows the life of Jeff, a downtrodden call center employee whose life takes a mysterious turn when he discovers a bizarre cell phone. Jeff is played by Orlando Jones, which reminded me how long it’s been since we’ve heard from Orlando Jones. The former MadTV cast member still has a lot of charisma, and he brings the right amount of it to his role here. The first episode ends on a total cliffhanger, and I really want to watch episode 2 in order to figure out what the hell is going on.
Meridian is presented on Rides.tv, which is run by Fourth Wall Studios. Fourth Wall recently won an Interactive Emmy Award for its show Dirty Work, which featured a unique interactive setup where the show could send you periodic calls or emails at different points in the episodes. Meridian features the same interface, and while it’s kind of a silly idea, it does add another layer to the already-layered production.
Though Penna is best known for his crunchy guitar performances, he has dipped his toes into the web series world in the past. Last year, Penna debuted Once Upon, a fabulist story that featured plenty of strange occurrences, such as a baby sprouting out of a plant. Given the way Meridian has started, don’t be surprised if Jeff encounters plenty of bizarre science fiction creations over the course of the series. After all, that’s what Orlando Jones is used to.