Friday, November 30, 2012

Red vs Blue: Genre Jumping

Red vs Blue: Genre Jumping

Recently, I finished entire run of Red vs Blue, from season one all the way to ten. RvB was one of the first great web series that went viral and gave Machinima more of a household name. Well, namely in the geek and Halo fan circles. What made RvB so great, and popular, was it nonsensical comedy with snail-pace advancement of the plot. This lasted until season five with the conclusion of the Blood Gulch Chronicles. When the series restarted in season six, it began the transformation from comedy to sci-fi drama. Something many fans, like Dogfish, were not happy.

And why it was so great.

This genre jump was not exactly jumping the shark. It still kept some of the original comedy that made the series so popular but moved into the more serious themes; effectively becoming a dramady. Although, it tried to recaptured the original comedy in season nine. RvB descend to darker and heavy themes was not bad. Well not as bad as transforming Urkel from a nerd to mad scientist. The latter tried to explore areas never part of the original world in a desperate, yet somewhat successful, attempt to hold on to its audience. The former delved into a wider world, outside that damn box canyon, hinted in the Blood Gulch Chronicles. Although, it was not cheap move to hold on its audience as Family Matters.

Seriously, once you're able to transform yourself and a donut-loving cop into Bruce Lee clones, you do not belong in either category

The sci-fi and darker themes in the later seasons were not that developed in it's own right. The themes revolved around A.I.s, dealing with loss, and such. Granted this is not a novel or TV series, but there are webshorts that seized the mood and carried the themes and than later RvB. But why did I still watch and enjoy RvB? Because the comedy established the characters we're familiar with and liked. It was the hook that kept some of the audience interested in RvB. And the writing, voice acting, and to some degree the character development, was still there in the new seasons. Which was what made RvB in the fist place.

My kind of Brony

Another great web series that genre jumped was Ryan Sohmer's Looking forGroup and did it awesomely. Looking for Group started as a parody of D&D and WoW but the writer eventually decided to take to the dramady level. The difference between the two series is how they handled this transition. RvB introduced new characters for the heavier themes while somewhat awkwardly putting in the old cast; most of which really did not belong in this new direction. Granted, this led to great comedic situations and showed that the series was self-aware of this clash. In a sense, RvB was weaving two different stories into one and did it decently. Looking for Group kept its focus on the original cast and just shifted its plot to darker themes. And it was great.

Oh. Hell. Yeah.

Season ten ended with the possibility of a new season or all together new series. To some degree, I would like to see this continue but it would not be the same RvB. If Rooster Teeth do push a new season or series, I wanted a direction that is natural to one or more of the original cast. Perhaps a back story to the ones who did not get one. Rather it is a comedy or dramady, the writing will keep it interesting so long as we have the characters we came to love.


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