On June 19th, ABC dropped three new web series to their ABCd platform. I had a chance to watch all three and only one is really worth your time. There is such a jump in quality that it makes you wonder why these chose what they chose.
Ginger Snaps is an animated series about a pre-teen girl trying to sell cookies for her scouting troop. That’s it. She is out for blood and her life revolves around selling these cookies. Family, friends, school all takes a back seat towards selling as many boxes as possible. The concept is funny, but the execution isn’t there. I love the voice talent involved (Aparna Nancherla is prominently featured in episode two and is one of the funniest stand-ups working today), but the writing is just not there. They try to make taboo topics funny, which is possible. However, how they follow through on ideas like exploiting cancer aren’t funny as much as they are just…there. The writers also include a lot of pauses, as if they meant to place a laugh track, but forgot. It ruins the already weird pacing and makes the show feel even more out of touch. The animation style took some getting used to, but had some fun design attributes. Taking that all into account, this is a pass.
The Off Season is a bizarre “horror”/”comedy” about two insufferable siblings who are given a seaside motel and diner in their uncle’s will. What they don’t know is that a curse placed on the motel means they can never leave once they step foot in the lobby. So, the obvious next step for them is to lure people on the property to live the rest of eternity with them. It’s not funny. It’s not scary. It exists. I was so not engaged and had no care of what was happening, even though the episodes were eight minutes long. It had no purpose. I hated all the characters. The premise took too long to explain. It was boring. HARD pass from me on this one.
We’ve made it to the gem. The piece de resistance. The reason I didn’t move for 2 hours yesterday as I binged both seasons. Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present to you American Koko. I was having a breakdown yesterday over how much I adored this show. It’s so smart and beautifully shot and well-written and AHHHHHH. *runs away screaming* American Koko follows Akosua Millard, codenamed Koko, who works at the Everybody’s A little bit Racist Agency solving people’s racial problems in post post-racial America. She is recovering from Angry Black Woman syndrome, which has led to mess with her personal and professional lives. It tackles the shooting of unarmed black men, slavery reparations, stereotyping, color-blind casting, and the 2016 election all with such humor that you want to jump into the screen and become friends with Akosua. The jokes are all so sharp, the commentary is important and meaningful, and honey, the wardrobe is sickening. There are two seasons of 6 episodes a piece on ABC.com, and for the love of everything, please go watch. It’s astounding. (Also, Viola Davis narrates the opening credits and executive produces, and you can’t NOT trust her.)
ABCd still has its work cut out for their digital exclusives to make any traction, but at least American Koko is a good start. All shows are available to view, for free, on ABC.com.