Created by Henry Inglis and Matt Lovkis
Starring Tim Watts, Sam Campbell, Adriane Daff, Trystan Go
Perth based production company Mad Kids (DAFUQ, The Legend of Gavin Tanner) and American digital studio Above Average have recently released a brand new web series, Small Town Hackers. This comedy thriller represents the first Australian commission for Above Average, and allowed for post-production to take place in both Australia and the US. Across six five minute episodes Small Town Hackers tells a tale of murder, corruption, and one man’s attempt to keep his Mum out his secret hacker base/ granny flat.
Returning to his small town home of Durran for a funeral, Alex Grout (Tim Watts), is swept into the mystery surrounding his high school sweetheart’s death. Refusing to believe the official story that she was the unfortunate victim of a snapping turtle attack, Alex turns to his obnoxious brother Devon (Sam Campbell), and his band of hacker associates (Adriane Daff and Trystan Go) to attempt to uncover the truth. What he does find is a web of lies and police corruption that could put his own life in danger.
The tone of Small Town Hackers is a little awkward, and sometimes veers wide of the mark. Some of the characters are pitched a little too large making them more of a caricature than a valid creation, and occasionally the thriller and comedy elements clash with each other in odd and uncomfortable ways. However given the confines of time and budget, the results are actually remarkable, conveying an entire season’s worth of comedy drama in merely half an hour. Small Town Hackers may not be Riverdale, but at a fraction of the budget, and with a season running half the time of an average episode, it is hard to fault it for that.
When that comedy does hit the mark, it is absurdly funny. By the end of the season Small Town Hackers has certainly found its form, giving hope for seasons to come. Tim Watts (The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer) makes a compelling everyman dragged into events beyond his control. Sydney comedian Sam Campbell goes larger than life, as the immature and peevish sibling, with a coterie of hacker friends. The infighting and history of these two brothers provides much of the dramatic drive of this season as they both try to solve the murder of Alex’s ex.
Despite a couple of flaws, this is a strong start, and as the series grows into itself Small Town Hackers finds it footing and delivers a satisfying comedy thriller.