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Web series debut — Riese: Kingdom Falling

In television on 03/07/2011 at 11:11 am

Riese: Kingdom Falling is a new web series premiering today, March 7, on spacecast.com which the more web savvy among you will know is the excellent website for the digital TV channel devoted to sci-fi and fantasy, Space.

New to web series? Hey, aren’t we all. Actually there are plenty around and in hopes of catching myself up, I’ll be highlighting new and “classic” web series here every week or so.

To start then, consider Riese: Kingdom Falling, a series of 10 approximately 10-minute episodes that will debut on spacecast.com (click here to watch episodes and find more videos, photos and a blog on the series) every Monday, starting March 7, and Friday for the next five weeks. That web run will be followed by a TV premiere, on Space of course, on April 9 at 9 p.m. ET, following the season finale of Merlin.

It’s the story of Riese, who is on the run, wounded, with only her wolf as a companion. She is being chased by men is wide-brimmed hats, many of them masked. An even more fearsome individual is tracking her. Her chief rival, although Riese’s best memory of the slaughter that killed her mother, father and brother who were rulers of …

Perhaps this is a good time to explain the time and setting of the series. It’s … unknown, sort of. Could be medieval, what with all the leather and castles and old-timey-looking maps. But what about the strange ocular device on evil Queen Amara’s lieutenant, Trennan? And the leather-hooded, device-studded lad tracking Riese in the forest?

Welcome to steampunk, which this series defines as “a sub-genre of science fiction and fantasy that features anachronistic technology and design elements, often from Victorian-era Britain”. Perhaps you saw the steampunk episode of Castle last fall? Which the steampunk reviewer at tor.com like a lot more than the NCIS: Los Angeles steampunk episode.

But I digress. Suffice to say steampunk is getting around even the mainstream.

In Riese: Kingdom Falling, the steampunk look adds to the mystery. When and where exactly are we? And what’s going on? The answers will be meted out very slowly and that feels perfect in the first episode. At the end, I found myself definitely wanting to find out more.

In the web series I have seen so far, economy is king. No moment should be wasted when the story is being told in 10- to 15-minute bursts. Riese wastes a few moments in the opener (I didn’t need so many silent, glowering back and forths between Amara and Trennan and they added little to my understanding of what was going on or what exists between them), but that’s my only complaint. I’m looking forward to seeing how the story unfolds.

Sci-fi fans will also find some welcome familiar faces: The series is narrated by Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary), and stars Christine Chatelain (Sanctuary) as Riese, Sharon Taylor (Stargate Universe) as Empress Amara and Patrick Gilmore (Stargate Universe) as Amara’s one-eyed man Friday Trennan, plus Ryan Robbins (Caprica), Alessandro Juliani (Battlestar Galactica), and Ben Cotton (Harper’s Island).

What about you? What web series have you watched? Send your recommendations, good and bad via the comments section below or send them to me via email (click on my name).

Denise Duguay


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