Depends. Do you like your shows to have a discernable purpose?
Farmed and Dangerous, a four-episode mini-series backed by Chipotle, ‘about’ industrial food production, and showing now on Hulu, views like a draft version of a sketch show written by recent college graduates, or an even more drafty version of an hour-long high-concept dramedy. It feels unfinished, storyboarded, still in pitch form.1
Underdeveloped comedies are nothing new (see: Enlisted, although there are many, many more laughs to be had there) so let’s judge this show instead on how effectively it delivers its rather important message about the dangers of marketing and corporatization in our food supply:
Huh? Oh, sorry, I was distracted by memories of the few episodes I once watched of Reaper, a 2007 Canadian show about a dude with a soul-sucking dustbuster (I am not making this up) that starred Ray Wise as The Devil. Mr. Wise is similarly well cast here as the head of a soulless PR company. I find myself smiling pleasantly when he’s on the screen, thinking about all the great offhand lines he had. In the other show.2
Neither Chipotle nor any other brand are mentioned by name anywhere in the episode, although I’m reading that the sponsor at least gets name-checked in one of the three other episodes. Farmed and Dangerous sort of takes aim at burger joints and (upcoming) chicken joints, so maybe it’s vaguely hitting the competition as opposed to pumping themselves up? Whatever the plan it’s a thin, thin show. A few brief spurts of clever writing, some could-be-boring-but-thankfully-isn’t factual presentations, and just stretches of nothing. This show feels like a series of long webisodes produced by a PR firm like that in the show. Slick enough, competent enough, and done by people who have watched and marketed television, not made it successfully.
It’s almost like a restaurant chain partnered with a Media Production Company (TM) to make a tv show that will touch on an Important Issue. Good job, folks – we’ll see everyone at the 3pm follow up session in conference room 4C.
Yes, there is soy milk for the fair trade coffee. We’ll spontaneously pat ourselves on the back for that at 3:05.
Farmed and Dangerous can be seen on Hulu. Review posted after the pilot episode.
- Seriously – can someone confirm that this simultaneously underwritten and overproduced half hour I just watched was, in fact, intended for public release and not just an internal pilot? ↵
- Just for completeness – both of the two other ostensible leads, Karynn Moore and John Sloan, look great and nail every line. Again, the lines are so whatever that this is more disappointing than anything else. ↵