Urban Drama Touches All

/ Aug 6, 2013

AsburyPark

B+

In the spirit of full disclosure, my first pass at “Asbury Park,” the story of a young man’s life after being released from jail, left me lukewarm, puzzled, and somewhat disenchanted.  Producer/director/writer Al Thompson serves up a three-part narrative, yielding what could be viewed initially as a very unsatisfactory conclusion, ending on a final note that hits like an unintentional press of the stop button. A second view of this drama gave me a different perspective, allowing me to understand the depth and layers of this short, yet powerful, drama.

Thompson, whose ValDean Entertainment creates and distributes webisodes created by African American artists, successfully delivers a story that speaks frankly to issues of family, forgiveness, and second chances. Colin, fresh out of jail following a two-year sentence for vehicular manslaughter, returns to his home in Asbury Park (that’s in New Jersey, by the way) where he attempts to come to grips with the real-world aftermath of his crime. My first viewing left me with far too many unanswered questions and vague inferences. However, on second sight, much of the plot subtleties clicked into place, resulting in a greater understanding of Thompson’s message. While “Asbury Park” focuses on the plight of a family in a distinctly urban setting, its impact should resonate with audiences from all walks of life.

Al Thompson has developed a fascinating venture with his production and distribution company — one that speaks to the emergence of a medium that offers frictionless opportunities for new “TV” projects that appeal to underserved audiences. ValDean Entertainment is focused on giving voice to African American writers, directors, and producers. A number of their offerings are generally targeted to ethnic audiences, while others are more universal in their appeal. One series that features Thompson as an actor is “Lenox Avenue,” a heavily-promoted, risqué soap opera about a group of friends who live in Harlem. Some episodes feature nudity and implied sex; all of the ones I sampled contained coarse language. Is Thompson using stereotypical behavior of urban young men as a plot device or is it his way of “being real?” To be honest, I am undecided.

Web series, such as “Asbury Park” are proof positive that next-generation TV programs will give new talent a showcase to entertain audiences and provide content for diverse tastes. Thompson is to be admired for his pioneering spirit, but I caution him to avoid confusing exploitation with creative vision.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


facebook-thumbs-down

Facebook Says It’s Sorry It Vastly Overestimated Video...

 
craig-piligian-pilgrim-media-group

Pilgrim Media Group CEO Craig Piligian (‘The...

 
youtube-heroes-for-change

Heroes or Rats?: YouTube Unveils New Program for Creators Who...

 
Vessel says it's doing well in its first month

Why Verizon is Pursuing Vessel, the...

 
Industry Tickets Selling Fast!
Click above to lock in your registration for VidCon 2015!
 
jared-feldman-and-sam-hui-ph-d-at-the-2014-canvs-launch

How Canvs Media is Harvesting Emotional Insights on YouTube,...

 
marlon-wayans

Marlon Wayans Getting ‘Naked’ for Netflix with Regina Hall

 
huffpost-ryot-aol

HuffPost RYOT Launching Virtual Reality Comedy Series and News...

 
youtube-vote-irl

YouTube Launches #voteIRL Campaign Targeting Digital-First Generation

 
tyler-oakley-camp17

How Top YouTubers (incl. Tyler Oakley & Meghan Rienks)...

 
charlie-sheen-anger-management

Charlie Sheen to Star in Crackle Feature ‘Mad Families’

 
filmbuff_videoink_300x250

Gunpowder & Sky Buys Distributor FilmBuff As Vision for...

 
toy-freaks-youtube

Toy Freaks Top Viewed YouTube Channel in August According to...

 
jeffrey-tambor-transparent-amazon

Emmy Wrap-Up 2016: Jeffrey Tambor (‘Transparent’)...

 
Twitter

Twitter Scores 2.1 Million Viewers for Thursday Night Footall Kickoff

 
youtube-sad-face-error

Vloggers Not Unique Snowflakes: 90 Million Flag YouTube Videos...

 
Mode Media

‘Billion Dollar Startup’ Mode Media Shuts Down

 
raised-firsts-branded-tv

Who Is Winning The Marketing Revolution And Why?

 
shes-gotta-have-it

Netflix Orders ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ Series...

 
swedish-dicks-peter-stormare-keanue-reeves-viaplay

What Is ‘Swedish Dicks’ and Who Is Selling It?

 
seamlessly-she-monica-potter-aol-partner-studio-gmc-acadia

How GMC is Using the AOL Series ‘Seamlessly She’...

 
Netflix_new

Liberty Global to Put Netflix on Set-Top Boxes in 30 Countries

 
vincent-cacace-vertebrae

Getting to the Spine of VR’s Monetization Challenges with...

 
meredith_brandfront_videoink_300x250

Meredith Hosted Its Own “Front” Stacked with 20 New Series

 
complex-networks-hearst-verizon

Verizon and Hearst Move RatedRed.com and Seriously.TV Under...

 
Twitter

Twitter Launches Live Streaming Apps for Amazon Fire, Apple TV...

 
YouTube Community

YouTube Fights Back Against Social Media Rivals with Community Feature

 
Casual Hulu

Vimeo Opening Television Store with Lionsgate Content, Launching...

 
A Perfect Day in LA Tastemade Jaunt VR Virtual Reality

From Donuts to Malibu, Tastemade and Jaunt Get Immersive in...

 
Defy Media

Defy Media Close $70 Million Series B Funding Round

 
YouTube Space LA Halloween Set 2016

YouTube Spaces Team with Jason Blum (‘The Purge’)...

 
Yahoo Esports

‘Yahoo Esports Live’ Serves Up Reeses Puffs with...

 
univision

Univision and Lionsgate Team for SVOD Movie Service for U.S. Hispanics

 
People Entertainment Weekly PEN

People/Entertainment Weekly Ad-Supported OTT Service Preps for Launch

 
George_Kliavkoff Jaunt VR

Jaunt VR Hires Hearst Exec George Kliavkoff as CEO

 
Making a Murderer Netflix

‘Making a Murderer’ Scores for Netflix at Creative...

 
Future Man Hulu Josh Hutcherson

Hulu Orders ‘Future Man’ Series Starring Josh...

 
Heirloom Paten Hughes Tom Wopat Vimeo

How an Actress’ Real-Life Tomato Farm Inspired the New...

 
Robert Redford and Jane Fonda Electric Horseman

Netflix Rolls Camera on Robert Redford & Jane Fonda...

 
AmazonBox

Amazon Greenlights Docu-Series on Tennis Star Novak Djokovic

 
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler 2-4-15

It’s Apps or Else: FCC Chairman Wheeler Clarifies Rule...