Web Series Review: The Booth at the End

Christopher Kubasik came up with an interesting idea for a television series. It's a one room, one set thriller about a mysterious man who can facilitate dreams. You approach him, make our request, and he finds out the task you have to complete to get what you want. The key to the task is a book that no one else is allowed to look at. Completing the task guarantees your request happens. Not completing the task doesn't guarantee anything. The Booth at the EndThe Booth at the End is currently a five episode series picked up by Hulu in America. Each twenty-two minute episode is punctuated by short two minute scenes between The Man and the various people requesting help. The result is a series of short character studies about how far people will go to get what they want. People swear they'll quit, only to come back begging for another opportunity. Others start out playing nice but quickly shift to merciless actors of The Man's tasks.

The stories start intertwining right away in intriguing ways. One person might be tasked with protecting a child to get the girl of his dreams. Another person might be tasked with killing that same child to save his own son. It's obvious when the tasks start to intertwine. What's interesting is how the conflicts resolve. Some of the characters realize that they're being tested by The Man, while others are completely oblivious to another person's conflicting interests.

The Booth at the End isn't much to look at. The people walk into the corner booth of a diner that never changes. Maybe The Man has a slice of apple pie instead of a grilled cheese sandwich. The set changes are superficial. What starts as a distraction actually becomes an asset to the series. When you know the location has no bearing on the plot, you start to pay attention to what these characters are actually saying.

Even if the structure is repetitive, the content is quite engaging. The subtle shift in characters as they start to realize that The Man's task could change their lives is great. Just starting the task is a guarantee that some aspect of your goal is going to come true. Maybe someone in the family has some money come through or a sick person regains enough strength to ask for a visit. The psychology of the series is tight and unnerving.

The Booth at the End is not much of a time investment for an original series. It's no longer than a feature length film but can be watched separately and still make sense. I think it's only available on Hulu Plus right now.

Thoughts? Love to hear them.

The Link Rally: 16 February 2012

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