January 5, 2015

Review: 'High Maintenance' – A Web Series Worth Partaking In

Ben Sinclair | High Maintenance web series

High Maintenance is a much buzzed about, popular Brooklyn set web series created, written, and directed by the husband and wife team of Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfeld. Sinclair stars as the only series regular, a jovial, nameless pot dealer ("The Guy"), who makes deliveries on his bike to a series of quirky customers while getting a unique glimpse into their lives.

The series explores concepts of human loneliness and relationships in a very street level New York backdrop without a traditional narrative or emotional structure. The casting is superb, using the city's rich talent pool of comedians and actors—Blichfeld was an Emmy Award-winning casting director on 30 Rock—to repopulate every quarter-hour episode with a new, revolving cast of characters and stories (while many players often reoccur) to create a very lived in fictional universe of misfits.

High Maintenance has big fans with appearances by comedian Hannibal Buress and Downton Abbey actor Dan Stevens (as a cross-dressing writer, below) as protagonists in episodes (two of the series' best) from the third and fourth cycles.

The creators use the bizarre human interactions of a drug dealer, essentially a stranger and criminal, their ability to enter people's personal space and lives to express some amusing, often ridiculous, situations and mine it for thoughtful humour. The open premise and execution allows for a strange yet engrossing comical intimacy.

Sinclair and Blechfeld successfully craft rich portraits of New York characters, all loosely connected by their need to medicate themselves in order to deal with their neuroses or anxieties, throughout each episode. They use the open web series format to populate a world of starkly interesting and comic stories about offbeat human interest and behaviour. The show is an easy and delightful watch without any conventional restrictions on its continuing narrative.

The first four cycles (three episode seasons) of High Maintenance are streaming for free on Vimeo with a fifth cycle (new episodes) available on demand.

Update: On 4/20 no less, HBO announced it has picked up the web series for a six-episode order.

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1 reactions:

Rick Chung said...

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