When the first few web series started appearing online, certain individuals heralded it as a new way of creating television without the TV.
But there were very few dramatic series, as drama tends to need a bigger screen for it to fill. Its viewers need to take in all that is on the screen, to let them in to the world of the characters. Tone is not conveyed in the same way as comedic timing, and we, the viewers, were left with paltry options. Unlike television, which has only as many channels as you can order, online entertainment can be anything from porn to kittens with cheeseburgers, all of it available in whatever sized portion you want. Making entertainment for the web is a hard thing to do, as it’s only good as long as it doesn’t keep you from clicking elsewhere. We tend to like short, bite-sized bits of online fun, hence why most videos are under 10 (if not five) minutes, a formula that the guys at Funny or Die figured out pretty quickly.
Somehow, Adam Goldman’s The Outs has appeared to have broken out of that ideology of short, snappy stories. This continuing dramatic series — recently funded by a stellar Kickstarter campaign — follows the lives of a small group of queer 20-somethings as they try to navigate themselves through their own lives. Not an easy task, let alone in a city that permits all sorts of diversions and divertissements.
The first episode has the feel of a short film, hooking you in quickly and efficiently. The characters are a little precious at first (the self-hating gay guy, the bitter and ridiculously acerbic gay who wears cardigans and has bad dates, the annoying girlfriend), but the viewers quickly fill in the gaps as to who and what these characters are: imperfect, wanting and redeemable. That’s what makes good television, no matter what kind of screen you’re watching it on. Check it out.