+ Recommended – NR, Drama, Comedy
“Pirates, they’ve got the whole ocean,” Rob asserts. In a sense, Stuck has the whole ocean at its disposal. What do I mean by that? The content that’s explored here is rich and engaging. Just enough tragedy to keep pace while tackling relevant issues with a light heart. And yet there is so much to learn about the characters because they are dynamic, among many other things.
If you are one who likes a quick binge, Stuck proves a worthy choice with each episode (eight in total) clocking-in around 15 minutes. Directed and shot by Aaron Gum (Endor, Midnight Kiss), the show follows a group of friends, or couples depending on how you look at it. Rob (Faustus McGreeves) has grown-up with his best friend, Neal (Darrick Silkman), by his side. Neal has been a much needed friend for Rob throughout his rocky childhood and into adulthood. Rob even marries Neal’s sister, Lisa (Chelsea Wagoner), to become his brother-in-law. When Neal asks Rob for a favor, the story spirals in a direction that will blindside you and the other supporting characters alike.
As previously mentioned, the characters possess such charm and depth. Actors Chelsea Wagoner and Walter Shatley (Liam) are instant stand-outs among the talented cast. I look forward to seeing more of Andrea Erickson’s character, Ariel, in season 2; Erickson seems to have the acting chops to pull off more than we have seen. Faustus McGreeves, serving as the primary showrunner and writer, naturally crafts genuine storylines and each episode separates itself from every other episode but oddly enough, works as a whole. I can confidently compare Stuck, at least tonally, to a Hulu original show, Casual (2015-2018).
My only complaint is in reference to character building: if you want to make a main character somewhat of an antagonist, you’d better make sure that the audience will naturally empathize with that character from the get-go. Shows like Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, and Dexter (2006-2013) do this effectively. Granted, those characters are involved with crime and the shows are generally high-stakes. However, I believe the concept is generally universal for all films and television shows.
While Stuck doesn’t land every joke, it’s the similar style and cringe-inducing humor that allow for a comparison. Like Casual, director Aaron Gum is able to capture interesting angles for scenes; none of them feel remotely similar. At times it’s difficult to watch due to second-hand embarrassment. If you can push through the writing flubs and awkward transitions, you have a truly fantastic show. I’m not dismissing those errors, because they need to be improved, but overall the show serves its purpose. I would relentlessly argue that it has gone above all expectations.
I had the chance to view the first episode from season 2, directed by Faustus McGreeves, and the episode surprised me. I could see a distinct difference in direction and the way scenes were filmed. Long-sequence shots dominate the filming techniques used in this episode and it felt refreshingly stylish. The first half of the second season is up on their website, here. The second half will premiere on February 1st, 2018, at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.
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