Editor’s note: We are thrilled to have Alec McNayr, of Space Shank Media, contributing as a guest author to Tubefilter News. Look for more from Alec on a semi-regular basis as he lends us his experienced eye for quality as we follow the episodic web television scene.
Half advertisement, half action series, TNT’s new short-form series Lucky Chance is a high-speed romp through a what feels like a student film inspired by the fast editing style, one-liner quipping actors, and outlandish mobsters in Guy Richie’s Snatch.
The series, which consists of twenty 2-minute episodes, airs on TNT (and almost as an afterthought, online) during the commercial breaks of episodes of Bones and Law & Order, and is essentially a commercial in itself.
The story follows DEA undercover agent Lucky Chance (yes, that’s his name, and he carries around a pair of lucky dice to prove it) who murders some dishonest cops, and must race to clear his name. Along the way, we find out that his red lingerie-sporting girlfriend is one of the agents asked to bring him in.
The style of each episode is certainly frenetic, with fast, chaotic camera moves and jump cuts, which unfortunately don’t match the slow, story-driven movement of the shows they support. And in a strange editing tactic, lines of dialogue are shown on screen, as if to engage the half-watching viewer.
The series is heavy with product placement, primarily from the 2009 Dodge Challenger. The show itself feels like a series of scenes connected by shots of a Challenger racing over the desert sand at sunset: the same gorgeous shots you’d expect of a car commercial. Other consumer products are introduced just as obviously: the cold and brooding Lucky oddly orders a “Fiji Water” at a bar and the barkeep drops it right in the middle of them. Each character’s mobile phone also gets a fair amount of screen time.
The strategy behind the series (and likely the similar-sounding upcoming series Blank Slate, sponsored by Acura) is to serve as a “Tivo-killer” to keep viewers from fast-forwarding through the commercials. It’s a tactic we’ll see more of as overall TV ad spending decreases, and, done well, it will provide an opportunity to add value to viewers’ experiences.
However, in Lucky Chance, the characters are thinly developed and the dialogue is a series of colloquial sayings and semi-puns about gambling. And unfortunately, neither of these things can be covered up with any amount of fast cars and fast editing.
Alec McNayr is a writer-producer at Space Shank Media, and the co-creator of the online mockumentary Flipper Nation, an official honoree of the 2008 Webby Awards. He also writes a regular column on new media entertainment in Final Draft’s Script Magazine.