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Riese (2010): The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Poo-sic

Riese (Nicholas Humphries and Kaleena Kiff, 2010)

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A girl and her wolf.

A cautionary tale on jumping to conclusions: while I was watching this, I looked it up on IMDB and saw that it was listed as a series that ran ten episodes. Given that, and given the ridiculous amounts of narration herein, I assumed it was ten hour-length television episodes and that this was a Canadian TV series that had been stripped down the feature-film length by Syfy or Chiller (they do that sort of thing now and again, and the results are, well, a lot like this). And I had written about half a review in my head based on that premise until I skimmed the reviews at Netflix—and found out this is actually a web series with eight-minute episodes, and so this is the complete series strung together. In other words, all that awful narration isn’t because they cut anything out, it’s in the original. Good grief.


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“You may believe your mask hides that fact that you’re staring at my tits. You would believe wrong.”

Plot: Riese (40 Days and 40 Nights‘ Christine Chatelain) is a dethroned princess on the run from The Sect, a religious cult that now rules the kingdom to which she was heir. With only her wolf Fenrir as a companion, she steals through the woods, evading Herrick (30 Days of Night: Dark Days‘ Ben Cotton), a nasty sort bent on her destruction (and decked out in a pretty cool steampunk outfit that’s drawn a lot of attention). Amara (The Pregnancy Project‘s Sharon Taylor) is the kingdom’s current empress (and a distant cousin of Riese’s); her advisor, and closest friend, Trennan (The Cabin in the Woods‘ Patrick Gilmore), is a member of The Sect, but when he discovers that The Sect, and not Riese, is the real threat looming over Amara’s rulership, he finds his loyalties torn…

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“For the love of Cheri Priest, man, don’t you know we’re supposed to be the comic relief?”


This could have been good. No, strike that. This could have been great. This might be able to rival Haven as the best fantasy series on television with some better acting (especially from the resistance group Riese finds and allies herself with, all of whom seem to have come out of the same school of overacting). I’m assuming the narration would automatically disappear if you stretched eight-minute webisodes into hour-long TV episodes, but just in case: kill the narration. Please, for the love of brass gears, make it go away. It turns something visually interesting and exceptionally well-plotted into a noxious mess to be endured rather than enjoyed. *



About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

4 responses »

  1. This has been in my queue for awhile – I had no idea it was a web series either. I recently watched a similar thing with Rosario Dawson (web series of 8 minutes or so with all episodes put out as a “movie”) and it was godawful.

    • One of the links above is to my first woeful experience with this sort of thing, The Hills Are Alive. I will give Riese one thing–at least it feels complete (THAA was broadcast on Chiller before they’d actually finished filming the final episodes). THAT one made my worst of the year list. This one… still debatable.

      The only web-original series that’s crossed my desk I’ve actually liked was that ridiculous Felicia Day vehicle about the MMO players whose name escapes me right now. I kind of hate myself for liking it as much as I did, but man, the characters are SO dead on…

      • The Hills are Alive was a webseries as well? Interesting…I think I’ll avoid that one, lol.

        And yeah, I know what you’re talking about – the Felicia Day one…the League or something, maybe? That one was hysterical but I also just dig on Felicia Day so… 🙂

  2. The Guild!

    (And yes, it was. A very, very bad one.)


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