With the influx of new web series what seems like every other day, the way to make your series stand out is finding a unique way to convey your story. Aidan 5 from Room 101 Productions has done just that. Produced by Ben Bays and John Jackson, the series is filmed with live actors against a fully hand-drawn, black and white environment. This is just one of several unique aspects of this sci-fi noir series, adapted from the winning short film of the 48 Hour Film Project Contest.
The pilot ends with a cliffhanger that leaves you waiting, already impatient for the official series launch with episode 2 on March 4th. There are 15 episodes total that will be released every other Friday with a possible hiatus following episode 8. Having seen episodes 2 and 3 as well, I can say with confidence that the series continues the suspense, action, and some really trippy visual effects that will blow your mind. I predict a cult-like following for the groundbreaking series, with myself most certainly included amongst those fans.
Set in a futuristic world (2045) in “New Columbus”, Ohio, where cloning is legal and monitored by the government, Aidan 5 follows a detective, Aidan, who agrees to be cloned four times (the government-dictated limit) as a job requirement. This measure is taken because, as the pilot episode states, “a clone detective can get more done.”. The clones work 24 hours a day and are able to solve more cases. Though, as we learn, illegal cloning is also being used to level the playing field.
Our story begins when one of Aidan’s clones is found murdered. There are now three clones remaining as one died shortly after creation from a brain aneurysm. The company that owns the cloning patent, Infinity Corporation, covered up this fact to save face. The audience walks with Aidan through his stages of grief, or lack thereof, surrounding the discovery of his dead clone.
From the pilot episode alone we can see this is going to be a very convoluted and complex storyline, complicated by the presence of the three remaining clones. It’s a different approach to the issue of cloning than is usually explored. Rather than the question of morality and the legitimacy of a clone as a human being, we see the other side: how Aidan feels towards his clones and what their significance is to him.
Aidan 5 is Frank Milleresque, with a visual style similar to the movie adaptations of Sin City and The Spirit (though much better than the latter, I promise). The best description I can compile is a gritty, science fiction noir with a style like nothing seen before in the world of new media. It has everything a portrayal of a futuristic dystopia needs: controversial scientific advances, violence and action, and a mysterious and sinister scientific corporation.
I greatly anticipate where Room 101 Productions will take this concept over the next several months. If you want to lend the producers a hand in creating the series, you can check out their fundraising campaign on IndieGoGo. While we wait for the official series launch (again, March 4th), check out the pilot episode from this exciting new series: