To say that Scissor Cop, this month’s number one show on Channel 101: NY, has a little bit of everything would only tell half the story. The show combines drama, comedy, emotion, action, gritty reality and even surreality to create colorful characters and interesting storylines; but it’s only when you see just how well the elements are mixed together that you discover that Scissor Cop provides some of the most entertaining 5-minute episodes found online.
Scissor Cop, the first web series from Escape Pod Films (previously focused on sketch comedy), tells the story of a Jack Bauer-esque cop who won’t let go of his scissors. The show balances the serious police drama aspect with great (albeit low budget) action sequences and very surreal comedy. Personally, I think Scissor Cop will be a hit or miss show with audiences. Normally, I probably wouldn’t have watched past the second episode, but since I happened to in this case, I found that after watching the show for some time, and getting used to the little quirks and nuances, I actually enjoyed, and let myself get involved in, the story line of the series. There’s also something to be said of the production value; while you occasionally see signs of cheap effects (specifically, one of the worst blood-spewing effects I’ve ever seen), the shots are otherwise well done, locations are excellent, and you can see how much the people at Escape Pod Films care about their product.
I recently had a chance to talk to Chris Prine, editor and producer of Scissor Cop, who also plays “Driggs.” I asked him how Escape Pod Films came together, and how they launched into Scissor Cop. “Most of us went to school together at the University of New Hampshire where we made a long running sketch comedy series. Then we all regrouped here in Brooklyn, where we met some new folks. Tom Silvestro had originally written the first episode as a sketch,” he explained. “A while after we filmed it, we thought it would work as a series where we could parody genre cliches and develop an interesting story of our own. A major factor is that it’s a real group effort; everyone puts their ideas in at the start so we can make the best possible episode. Having a core group of committed people has made this no-budget show a reality.”
Reality has been good for Scissor Cop. The series, which placed 5th at the screenings of the first two episodes, has moved steadily up the rankings, claiming the top spot by its 5th episode and solidifying its position in Channel 101’s “Prime Time Shows.” I asked Prine why he thinks audiences love Scissor Cop, and what Escape Pod plans for future web content. Prine responded, “We had a mixed response (or no response) at the start, but once we found our groove, people loved it. This is our first web series, so we really had to figure out how to tell a story in 5 minutes. We have some top secret plans for future web series’… Pretty much all of our projects are online-exclusive, the Internet is the best method of content delivery. Who actually watches TV on the TV?”