Ever since the success of their first live action film, Lazer Team, Rooster Teeth has been going much harder with new content and shows, especially live action. This year they released two live action web shows: Day 5, a new and inventive take on the outbreak apocalypse genre, and their series that just premiered today, Crunch Time. Crunch Time follows four guys as they insert their consciousnesses into a woman’s brain (similar to Inception in idea alone, nothing like it in terms of tone) and ultimately end up creating a black hole because of it. The show is written by Andrew Disney and Bradley Jackson and directed by Disney, both of whom worked together on the sports comedy film Balls Out.
Episode one, titled “The Beginning,” follows the story of Sam (Avery Monsen, Fear Town USA) as he decides to go into his ex girlfriend’s mind and plant the idea that she loves him and needs to be with him. Hannah (Jessy Hodges, Anyone But Me) simply wants to break up with Sam and explore other things in her life, but this might also be brought upon by things that are going wrong in her life. After Sam “accidentally” puts Hannah into a coma, he enlists his scientific partner Connor (Samm Levine, Freaks and Geeks, Inglourious Basterds), the nice but kind of creepy Larry (Kirk C. Johnson, Balls Out, Lazer Team), and the over the top cocky and charismatic jerk Berkman (Nicholas Rutherford of the sketch comedy group The Good Neighbor as well as Balls Out), to help him in changing Hannah’s mind about him. All the while, Crunch Time is also peppered with scenes from the “present day” after Sam, Connor, and Berkman has been taken in by some sort of government looking officials.
This first episode of Crunch Time works in all the ways you want a pilot to work. It creates an interesting story, intrigue, and leaves you wanting more. We don’t know much about the story so far, but we know enough to keep us interested, with the agents interrogation, the entertaining characters, and the hook at the end that teases all the crazy things to come. The characters aren’t the most unique, most of them being typical genre stereotypes, but the acting is pretty amazing, especially from Levine and Rutherford. The production is quite good and the show itself looks very clean and slick, something that seems to have been brought over from Rooster Teeth’s film Lazer Team.
My only real complaint about the show so far is that it’s very rooted in a stereotypical creepy “poor me” nerd boy fantasy about Sam’s desire and need for a girl he’s only known for three months being so “strong” that he decides to basically hack into her brain and force her to love him. It’s a trope that’s been used so many times and frankly I’m tired of it; it’s not interesting, and it’s kind of messed up. Thankfully the show seems to be all about messed up characters, so it fits with the tone, I would just rather it have been something more unique and less creepy. The show also suffers, so far, from a similar problem Lazer Team had and that’s the lack of female main characters and even when there are some in this first episode they only get a few lines.
Crunch Time episode one is a strong first episode. I’ve got high hopes for this show and it has incredible promise. Samm Levine and Nicholas Rutherford so far are the best parts, knocking it out of the park with their stellar acting, as well as the hook at the end showing us just enough to keep us interested and needing to see more. I’m hoping that we get a bit more development with Hannah and maybe another female character or two as well as hope the show finds away to make Sam a more interesting and less obsessive character, but I’d say Rooster Teeth might have yet another hit on their hands.
Crunch Time episode one is available on Rooster Teeth’s Youtube channel as well as their website. Or you can watch it below.