If I was in charge of the Sci-Fi Channel I would do away with wrestling, the cheap, crappy weekend horror movies and any ghost hunting that happens to be going on. Oh wait. It isn’t the Sci-Fi channel anymore. Some overpaid genius in a suit changed the company branding to Syfy because the issue with the channel and its lack of viewers was clearly their corporate branding and not the ridiculous programming that started to show up in the schedule. I think a singer named Prince rebranded his image back in the 90s to just a symbol and his career quickly went into the crapper. So what we have in both cases in flash over substance.
So why am I bashing Syfy? First off it’s a crappy channel that I find hard to believe still generates revenue. The Syfy channel is to science fiction as MTV is to music videos. Both channels are extremely sad, wasted shells of their former selves. It’s time to make MTV strictly about the music and it’s time to change Syfy back to Sci-Fi filling that schedule with science fiction, fantasy, superheroes, and action and adventure.
What’s been the big bitch of Syfy the past few years? Not only Syfy, but a lot of the cable networks. Cost. And I understand it. We’re all feeling it. We’re not exactly living in an ideal economy. Your feeling it. I’m feeling it. And the cable networks are feeling it. There’s also massive amounts of competition out there now. There’s so many outlets to focus our attentions. When I was growing up it was five television stations, the Atari 2600, reading and going outside to play with your friends. Yes! In my day as a youth kids went outside. Now we have countless cable channels, multiple game consoles, dozens of viral video sites – which of course goes hand in hand with the most colossal of time wasters – the internet.
Now who has been consistently the most loyal audience base since the write in campaign for the original Star Trek series? The answer is science fiction fans. They’re a crazy bunch and I’m proud to be among them. And when I indicate science fiction I indicate a broad umbrella of the other genres I already mention being fantasy fans and comic book fans and so on.
Let me go on another tangent. And I promise this is all leading to the point I’m trying to make and directly ties into my spotlight on Red Cape’s “The Chronicles Of The Order”. We live in an age where your average consumer can get their hands on some pretty sophisticated hardware and software to both film and edit their own video. Some people have utilized these tools to make some pretty impressive productions. Productions you can only see on the internet or purchase off the individual’s websites. Red Cape is only one such production company doing this. These productions are not only high quality, but very economical to make. I’ll throw at you some other random series from the top of my head.
And there’s a lot more out there. Wouldn’t it be outrageously awesome if there was some kind of outlet to showcase this kind of talent all on one cable channel? What better branding and channel name could there be to get these creations to a bigger audience. The Sci-Fi channel of course. Ditch the Syfy.
Someone at Syfy does kind of get it I suppose with the airing of the online series Riese. I mean they half ass get it. Why are they not at least experimenting with a block of time in their schedule to try out different online series? It just seems like a win/win scenario to me. You have a group of dedicated people who want to share their ideas. Said creators puts these high quality productions together on a shoe string budget. As a cable network you can easily transfer all the money you spend on wrestling or ghost hunting to budget or buy these series. You get the interest of the science fiction community. People like me who’ve been alienated by the Syfy channel for years now tune back in. The more people watching your channel the more customers for advertisers. In turn the Sci-Fi channel can charge more for advertisements. In turn they can reinvest on more quality series. Why am I not running this channel?
So my first programming choice would be The Chronicles Of The Order. I indicate that not only because it’s true, but it’s also a spectacular segue into discussing the series. Ron C. Santiano and his Redcape Cinema are behind this original idea. Fan Film peeps may know Ron best from the two Wonder Woman shorts Balance of Power and Battle of Justice he did a few years back. Ron and friends have since stepped up their game by releasing their own creator owned concepts. One being the character of Eve which mixes martial arts and the supernatural together in one lovely cinematic soup.
With the Eve series we learn about an organization known as the “Order”. We learn of Eve’s parents and how they belonged to this ‘secret’ organization. We learn that Eve came from the streets where she received her crash course in the art of survival. It basically sets up this particular universe.
“The Chronicles Of The Order” series is a prequel to the Eve series looking more in-depth into the function of the Order as well as explaining the events leading up to Eve which mostly involves the abduction of her parents and Eve’s disappearance. Sound confusing? It can be if you’re not familiar with the series. “Chronicles” would be an ideal opportunity to jump aboard the Eve express.
Let me throw this tangent out there before I touch upon the individual episodes. I’m not politically correct and I think affirmative action is a big pile of crap. I’m not sure what Hollywood’s issue is, but it’s good to see an action series where the main hero or heroine isn’t a Caucasian male or female. As Forest Gump would say, “That’s all I got to say about that.”
To me the first episode The Next Level written and directed by series creator Ron Santiano channeled Quentin Tarantino a bit without the excessive profanity and all the blood. I’m not the biggest Tarantino aficionado in the world so this is clearly my observation. Tarantino always writes these long scenes that build on themselves slowly. He doesn’t always rely on the quick cuts, short lined dialogue and flash that a typical main stream Hollywood movie makes quicker, shorter and flashier as years progress. The first episode of Chronicles is one twenty minute setting taking its time to flesh out the main characters and the story points. It also has loads of beautifully choreographed martial arts in between the exposition.
As a whole the episode isn’t very original. Not to say it wasn’t good. It has the younger brother (Xander portrayed by Alex Benjamin) wanting to prove himself to his older brother. The elders of The Order step in with an important mission. Xander thinks he’s ready to step up to carry out this mission. The older brother is entirely against it. The Elders disagree. They send the younger brother off on said mission. It’s really the execution of the episode that makes it something special.
~Desciple~ writes and directs the second episode – Bloodline. The fan film community is sometimes a small knit one. It’s pretty cool that Ron and ~Desciple~ teamed up on this particular episode. ~Desciple~ is the force behind another series of classic fan films The Crow: Purgatory and Purgatory 2. He even brought along his crow actor David Lockhart to make a nice little cameo.
You can definitely see the distinction between the first and second episodes and the style of directing. If your familiar with ~Desciple~’s Purgatory universe you can easily point out reoccurring elements that have now crossed over to Ron’s Eve universe. As Ron holds to action/adventure with a sprinkle of magic in telling his story ~Desciple~ likes to teeter around the darker elements of mysticism spawning from the origins of good and evil and heaven and hell. I’m not going to pretend I understand 100% of what’s going on in episode two when it comes to these elements. All I know is that it’s all going to end with beans and corn bread.
Ron Santiano returns to write and direct the third episode of the Order series with Xander’s Path. I find this the weakest of the episodes. If I was to guess I’m thinking time was a factor. As the previous chapters were well acted and choreographed this one seemed a bit rushed and drawn out. After a brief epilog it takes about five minutes into it to get going. There’s no semblance of the development for the story setup in the first two episodes except for the fact that Xander continues to search for Eve. You’ll see a lot of sword play and a lot of martial arts, but no sense of urgency that was so well orchestrated in the very first episode. The scenes were all shot at night making it hard to follow some of the action. And the reveal at the end made you think you fell into a martial arts soap opera. It just felt like a lot of filler.
THE SUM UP
The Chronicles of the Order is a well acted super natural, martial arts series. You should watch this series and then tackle the Eve series that has now been re-edited into the new feature film titled Beauty & The Blade: Forgotten Savior.
The Chronicles of the Order is thin on plot. I was pretty disappointed in the third episode, but am told there are still three more episodes to finish out this series. I trust Ron and team will get back on point propelling the story forward.
Once the The Chronicles Of The Order has concluded there’s plans for a spin-off called The Guardian Angels. We’ll let you know more about that once details have been revealed.