Thursday, November 18, 2010

Web Series Review - VENICE, Eps. 2 thru 6

First of all, the subscription fee of $9.99 for Venice seems to be paying off. The website is much more user-friendly. All of the episodes loaded up and played with no difficulty. The visuals seemed sharper and almost cinematic. Last but not least, the episodes were extended to fifteen minutes from ten. So kudos to Crystal Chappell for building a better webseries. I was guilty as much as anyone else for kvetching about the subscription fee but I can see where the money is going.

The bulk of the action so far in the second season of Venice is with the triangle of Gina (Crystal Chappell)/Ani (Jessica Leccia)/Laura (Nadia Bjorlin). While most of the scenes with Ani and Laura mainly consists of kissing and cooking, there is an emotional overtone with Gina and Ani that is very powerful. No doubt, Guiding Light fans of Olivia and Natalia are loving these moments.

There is definitely foreshadowing coming up of a new triangle with Owen (Galen Gering)/Sami (Gina Tognoni)/Van (Wes Ramsey). This is where I'm having a hard time keeping my soaps separate. I am not at all a fan of Gering's other character, Rafe Hernandez, on Days of Our Lives; personally I think Rafe should win the award for the Biggest Hypocrite on daytime television. I'm trying to think objectively and not confuse the character of Rafe with the character of Owen. However, once Van hit the scene, objectivity got thrown out the window for me. Wes Ramsey had a very short but memorable role on DAYS (also with the name of "Owen", ironically); and this time he is actually playing someone who seems sane enough. At least, Van has yet to kidnap anyone and stick them in a morgue drawer. So right now, I have to say Van is nice eye candy and I want to see more. Also looking forward to the Owen/Van clash that is sure to come.

The Colonel (Jordan Clarke), Guya (Hillary B. Smith) and Katherine (fabulous OutTakes guest Tina Sloan -- sorry for the shameless plug) all deal with the challenges of aging. While the Colonel wrestles with recovering from a stroke and proceeds to make Gina's life a living hell, Katherine has a delightful scene in which she tries to work up the courage to get acquainted with a young woman who catches her interest. I am loving Guya with her new love interest (Shawn Christian) and how she is worried that she is losing her aura.

There have been a few scenes with Jamie (Harrison White) and Michele King (Michelle N. Carter). So far, they seem like lighthearted filler at this point; not sure where these characters are supposed to be going.

The series is definitely moving in the right direction in terms of quality. Occasionally I want a little less small talk and a little more action in the scenes...and I mean action in the plot, not the bedroom variety of which Laura and Ani are supplying aplenty. There are some scenes that are brilliantly done such as Gina's scene with Jamie where they laugh about the dead hooker's stage name of "Candy Cane"; also, the scene with Guya and Katherine about being a "blocker" was hysterical too. So great to see so many beloved soap actors in storylines that don't involve baby switches, kidnappings, being buried alive, "who's the daddy", etc., etc.

Venice is going strong. Looking forward to more. To watch Season Two, sign up for a subscription at

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