Online TV show (FX UK)
Now this one is a real gem I’ve stumbled upon, I think you may end up thanking me for the tip off!
The question: How far would you go to get what you want?
The set up: A man sitting in the end booth of a nondescript diner is visited by a series of different characters. Each character wants something, The Man (his character name is The Man) hears their request and offers them a deal.
The deals: In exchange for their requests; one wants money, another wants to be prettier, another wants to save the life of his son etc, the characters are told they should perform a task that will challenge their beliefs and moral code. One is told to rob a bank, another to kill a criminal…you get the idea. The characters have the choice of completing their challenge in exchange for their request, the only condition is they have to report back to The Man and tell him about it in detail.
The episodes are very short – ranging from just over a minute to about four minutes in length. It is simply shot, and because the concept is so gripping there is no need for padding. This is classic suspense TV. Over the first few episodes we meet all the characters (there are 11 in all including The Man), hear what they want and learn what they have to do in exchange. We then get updates on their progress as they filter back into the diner to give The Man reports, ask for help (they never receive help), and bring developments/doubts/twists.
It really is gripping stuff and I am so excited to see how it is going to unfold. I believe there are 60 episodes in total, but they are only being made available by the day – so far 17 are online on the FX UK site, other regions may already be able to see them all. Needless to say I watched all 17 in one sitting and am eagerly awaiting number 18.
There are some very neat twists around the core plot. Obviously we very quickly question who The Man is and how he is able to make these deals, one character asks him if he is the Devil but he doesn’t answer. A terrific twist is the introduction of a Nun character, Sister Carmel, who wants to hear God again, in exchange for this she has to get pregnant. Interestingly Sarah Clarke who is the real life wife of Xander Berkeley who plays The Man plays Sister Carmel.
Xander Berkeley is fantastic as The Man, playing him dry and straight. There is no ego from someone with such power, no sense of right and wrong from him, and no effort whatsoever to persuade anyone to do it. It is clearly their choice.
It is also worth noting that not all the deeds sound that terrible – one man for example simply has to protect a little girl for 10 weeks, which actually sounds like a positive task.
No doubt the story arc and the different character tasks are on the verge of merging and building. Obviously I’d love to just sit and watch the entire thing in one hit, but this drawn out ‘one a day’ drip feed is certain to keep me coming back for more.