Web Series Wednesday – Super(fluous)
By: Kathryn Trammell
By: Friends with Jim
What? Super(fluous) the Series
Who? Written and produced by Siobhan Doherty, Sean Harrigan; directed by Lucas Calhoun; starring Siobhan Doherty, Keiko Agena, Sean Harrigan, Amber Friendly and Lucas Calhoun.
Why Should I Watch?
In an entertainment landscape inundated with superhero stories, it’s refreshing to watch a web series like Super(fluous) that speaks to this inundation with its tongue firmly planted in its cheek. In any other superhero story, the characters in Super(fluous) would be extraordinary, their powers uniquely branded to them alone. But in the world created by Doherty and Harrigan, powers like super strength and telepathy are a dime a dozen making personal distinction difficult for aspiring superheroes and heroines like Madeline, Delia and Sam. Like other super powered heroes, these three roommates aspire to join the American League of Superheroes once they graduate college. However, due to the superfluous saturation of talents like theirs within large cities they do not get the positions they seek within the League.
What follows is the hilarious fallout of this rejection – a series of episodic attempts these three extraordinary people make in order to exist within the ordinary parameters of civilian life. On the one hand, the humor of the series is Whedon-esque. Not since Buffy The Vampire Slayer has a series so effectively used humor to depict the struggles of superheroes in a civilian world as a metaphor for the relatedly hilarious struggles of its audience. (How many of us have ever wanted to turn a baby shower into a bachelorette party? Only me?). On the other hand, the comedy is exceptionally effective in that it is perfectly timed both in editing and in performance. Similar to the cut-away flashback scenes in shows like Family Guy, web series Super(fluous) is edited in a way that allows us to see glimpses of the past that characters sometimes make reference to and each flashback is inserted with perfect synchronicity to the comedic timing of the actors.
The most attuned to this timing are Doherty and Agena whose comedic chemistry is highlighted in multiple scenes, but in a reactionary sense to the script Agena’s comedic performance as Delia shines. Expressive in a way that would label so many others as over-actors, Delia’s expressiveness is thoroughly scene-stealing. We have to watch what is happening around her because the three main characters equally share the story and frames they are in, but director Lucas Calhoun had to have known the comedic gold mine he had in Agena when he set up scenes that purposefully place Agena in the foreground while action occurs behind her in the background. Regardless of her character’s interaction with the action behind her, the juxtaposition of Agena’s expressive comedy in the foreground lifts the humor of each scene from a snicker-smile to an outburst of laughter.
So, if you’re looking for a short fun binge of a superhero series that concentrates the comedy of Buffy while poking fun at the entertainment industry’s current saturation of superhero stories, then Super(fluous) might just be for you.