03. 17. 2008
Is season two of Bebo's British drama KateModern the last - and is it worth watching?
I'd heard a lot of hype about KateModern, the first British soap opera to be shown entirely on student social networking site Bebo. I knew I wanted to watch it sometime (can 48 million viewers be wrong?) so my plan today was simple: I'd catch up with a few episodes of seasons one and two (each lasts around three minutes, so it wouldn't take long) then extol its virtues/criticise the production values as appropriate.
But my plan was rocked by some deeply shocking news [spoiler alert!]...
They've killed Kate.
I'm not sure how well a show about a mixed-up art student called Kate is going to work without... a mixed-up art student called Kate.
Disappointed but undaunted, I jumped straight into season two, with an episode called Office Chaos. Shot on location in London, two men alternately talked to camera, argued and then stormed into an office full of unconvinced-looking extras before being kicked out. To say the storyline was unclear would be an understatement and the filming almost rivalled Cloverfield for shaky camerawork. Clearly the key to embracing online soaps is accepting the somewhat shoddy production values (probably not too much of a problem for fans of Youtube) and hammy acting (probably not too much of a problem for fans of soap operas).
Hoping this wasn't KateModern's best episode, I went back and watched a couple of eps from the first series (that's what we call a season in the UK, y'know), and was pretty impressed.
Alexandra Weaver as Kate and Tara Rushton as Charlie were very charismatic, but most of the male actors were over-doing it a bit (anyone familiar with Ralf Little's oeuvre will scarcely be surprised).
I then watched a recap of season/series one, which didn't explain much, but showed the program's development from twentysomething romcom to wannabe 24 (complete with covert ops, secret identities and religious cults) and whetted my appetite for more. I think season one is still worth watching (with all the caveats mentioned above), and although season two has been popular with viewers, I suspect this might be the show's last run.
Kate was clearly KateModern's best asset, but if you like shows about British youth, can overlook her absence, and loved The Blair Witch Project and NYPD Blue, you might still find something to enjoy.