INDIE HOUSE: DEVANITY, FUMBLING, CAVANAUGHS, EMPIRE, PROPER MANORS, THE INN, BANDWAGON, THE BAY, THURSTON, BP, BEHAVE, RAGGED ISLE

GASP: New Indie PROPER MANORS defies Utah stereotypes.
Gossip, secrets, leaks; kudos, picks, congrats - in the Indie Soap Web Series (Indies) world, this is where they live. Listen up: Kevin's Indie House.

How u doin, my Indie brothers and sisters? Did you miss me?

Kevin's Indie House wasn't "in de house" last week because Kevin was on duty for the 39th Annual Daytime Entertainment Creative Arts Emmy Awards.  Aside from a nice little LA chat with Gloria Allred (I get around) the most jazzy part of my most recent adventure on The Lesser Coast was being present for the presentation of the Emmy for the obscure (but groundbreaking) Outstanding Special Class Short Format Daytime (OSCSFD) category.

Yes, Virginia, there IS an Emmy for Indies!

LIVING IT: Lara or Alexis?
This year, THE BAY (executive producer Gregori j. Martin) joined last year's Indie nominees GOTHAM (executive producer Martha Byrne) and VENICE (executive producers Kim Turrisi & Crystal Chappell), and 2009 nominee IMAGINARY BITCHES (executive producer Andrew Miller) in the elite club of series that have been nominated for both an Emmy and an Indie Soap Award.  Full disclosure: Roger Newcomb, Founder and President of We Love Soaps, LLC, is one of the (many) producers of THE BAY and appeared in a cameo role in an episode of IMAGINARY BITCHES.

While last year's Indie Emmy nominees had marquis names as showrunners, THE BAY was nominated without one, no mean feat in the somewhat venal popularity contest that is the Daytime Emmys. Even more remarkable: this year, all the other nominees were backed by Nickelodeon or Disney money.  Definitely not indie.

While THE BAY certainly had the honorable distinction of being the only independent production nominated in the OSCSFD category this year, it's also possible it was the only indie work nominated in any category. For that reason, for THE BAY, that old saw about how "it's an honor just to be nominated" is particularly accurate.

You can't beat multi-billion-dollar corporations at their own game, and sure enough, some hackneyed Disney short about poverty pimping took home the prize last week.  But when I caught up with Gregori (and THE BAY's Kristos Andrews and Derrell Whitt) after the ceremony at the Westin Bonaventure, he was all smiles - and rightfully so.  After all, his Emmy-nominated Indie was about to release the awesome finale to season two, which you can enjoy here. But next year, I want to see five Indies nominated in the OSCSFD category.  Are you in? 

To that end, let me officially offer the services of We Love Soaps to help any aspiring Emmy-winners as they navigate the "evolving" submission and prenomination process next winter.  Together, we can own this category!

TYPECAST:  PRETTY boy Michael Taylor Gray is Joan Crawford.
WHO'S NEWS?
Some bullets on the Indie scene this week:
- DEVANITY's Alexis Zibolis (Lara) was spotted dancing at LA hotspot The Abbey: heels in hand, she floated from the arms of one beautiful, burly WeHo boy to another as flash bulbs fired away. Together with co-stars Michael Caruso and Katie Caprio, the DEVANITY cast excels at maintaining the fabulous, fan-favorite illusion that they live life as their characters.  Glamour.
-Look out, Hillary B. Smith (Elsie)!  There's a new alpha-soap-star on the FUMBLING THRU THE PIECES block. Sources close to showrunner Julie Smith tell me she and KNOTS LANDING legend Michele Lee, who is joining the cast for season two, premiering this August, have become fast friends.  Smith was even spotted at Lee's very gracious home. Your move, Red!
- Has THE CAVANAUGHS showrunner Adrian Morales (Bryan) gone completely mad? A rough cut of the season four trailer (no, it's not released yet - I'm sneaky) certainly appears to feature fan favorite Ryan Kibby (Shea) as a... detective? But Shea died! Adrian promises me it's not what I think - or even expect (but who can trust the word of a mad man?) However, beyond that, he's making me wait for season four.  Maybe CAVANAUGHS "moral compass" Cwennen Corral (Maddie) will offer guidance?
- With evil genius Steve Silverman holding season four of PRETTY hostage until after his new Emma Caulfield and Denise Alexander Indie, THE INN, has aired, at least Royce fans can get their Michael Taylor Gray fix this weekend. Gray plays Joan Crawford (the best kind of typecasting) in the extended run of Bitchslap this weekend (Friday & Saturday at 8 PM, Sunday at 7 PM) at the Macha Theater.
- Genre-defining western Indie THURSTON has done it again. With six episodes out and a relaunched website, they also just wrapped on a new location that more than maintains the high standard they've set for independent period dramas: the Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre in Virgina.  Now we have to wonder, who's going to court?
- Heads up! There's a BANDWAGON crossover (featuring Sheilynn Wactor) in the finale of BREAKING POINT, which came out today!
- MISS BEHAVE released the trailer for its upcoming three-part series finale on the two-year anniversary of the show's very first episode.
- Finally, rockstar Indie RAGGED ISLE released their latest episode today and: holy shit! Man, do I love RAGGED ISLE.  The show is covered in the brand new issue of Down East magazine as well.

ON LOCATION:  THURSTON will feature the Brentsville Courthouse.
GASP!
There's a new hot mess in town, and you know how I love a hot mess. Well, if there's enough hot, and not too much mess.

Not since RAGGED ISLE has a new Indie featured such an enormous cast. Not since ANACOSTIA have I found so many characters I love to hate. And yet, the ABC-Family-esque PROPER MANORS still has some growing up to do - but I intend to watch while it happens.

With a cast of over 100 (I know) and almost as many producers (strange, but true), I have a theory that PROPER MANORS employs every single inhabitant of the Utah town in which it is shot. Which also explains the generous locations and crowded party scenes. Regardless, this new out-and-proud soap opera is still finding itself - but let's not forget the early episodes of, say, the now decadent and delicious DEVANITY.

So what if the sound is atrocious? It can be fixed. Who cares if it's too complicated? In time, a large canvas can be a huge asset. In the meantime, please give PROPER MANORS a chance.

With a multi-generational cast and all sorts of sordid secrets and schemes, the hefty series plays out in sastifying, eventful 20 minute portions and feels, at times, like a SECRET LIFE for adults. Of course, at other times, I find myself whining at the screen, "No! Whyyyyyy?"

What I do love unequivocally is that the series creators actively encourage fan feedback - so I say, let's give it to them. If you only have time to give a shit about one new Indie this week, make it PROPER MANORS. With enormous potential and lots of room to grow, I'll be keeping an eye on this series, and I recommend that you do to.

The way I see it, even if PROPER MANORS doesn't take off, anytime I'm watching cocky, naughty, nubile (and pansexual) "bad boy" Joey Sorrento (played by the kid from National Treasure, Hunter Gomez, all grown up now), with and without his uber-preppy shirt on, is time well spent. That's why, in this season that is traditionally a time for whiz-bang blockbusters and pulpy beach reading, I recommend that you let down your guard a bit and indulge yourself in something a little trashy; a little wicked. And that's why PROPER MANORS is my give-a-shit pick of the week. Check it out, I dare you. And please, be sure to tell me (and them) what you think.

BAG LADIES:  Ellen Dolan and Tina Sloan prove it - the bag makes the lady.
On the set of EMPIRE.  Photo by Sue Coflin.
SEX. SCANDAL. SOAP.
So. Word is that that new EMPIRE cast member Lauren B. Martin (Detective Bailey) showed up to the Hamptons set super-friendly and ultra-sexy, with a bottle of top-shelf tequila to share... and left with a broken toe. Oh no! Not again! Indie actors are extreme.

Luckily, it appears that nothing phases this feisty firecracker, known in part for her time on GUIDING LIGHT, ANOTHER WORLD and AS THE WORLD TURNS (although I'm partial to her recent turn in ARCHER).  Not only did Lauren finish the shoot (use the pain, girl!) but she also recovered in time to march with EMPIRE's Yvonne Perry, Ryan Clardy, Nick Lewis, Toby Levin, von Hottie and others in the New York City Heritage of Pride parade this past weekend.  I'm hoping luscious lady Lauren shares some juicy scenes this season with costars Orlagh Cassidy, Afton Boggiano, Christian Barber, Josh Davis and Ellen Dolan in particular!

Another pride-marcher (and EMPIRE season four newbie) has co-showrunner Greg Turner even more wound up: director Fritz Brekeller (known for directing the one and only ALL MY CHILDREN). Here's what Greg revealed to me recently about Fritz and season four:
We turned the love and the sex up a notch... a big notch! Fritz coming on board really helped that, he knows a lot about soaps and he made sure we focused on the important romance angle that I think we (sometimes) glossed over, or at least didn't fully explore, in the past. That's not the case in season four, which you can tell in our trailer. Season four is hot. Also, the shooting style is way more advanced than anything we'd done before. We had fancy camera equipment and lighting that we'd never had. I think the fans will be blown away by how great it all looks!
Despite healthy buzz, so far there have very been few leaks ahead of the July 17 premiere (there will be a live screening at the Tribeca Grand in Manhattan on July 14).  All I keep hearing is that it's all very salacious and totally twisted. And that has me wondering...

Now work with me here, if you would: remember sexy, gay Cane Haven (played by sweet, studly Ryan Clardy)? That boy has had a rough time (season one we never see his boyfriend, Alex, and then in season two Alex is murdered; in season three he shoots his best friend Rodney and then learns Rodney's fiancee was the one who killed Alex - and so on) but reliable sources tell me the poor boy finally gets a major romantic arc in season four - a love triangle, no less.

So far, so good - but I also heard (best possible sources, of course) that his brother, Evan (pouty, preppy Nick Lewis), who screwed up his relationship with Marin last season, will also get a fresh chance with someone new. Now, this being EMPIRE (you know what I'm talking about, Toby) I have to wonder - will the two Haven boys somehow end up with each other? Greg and co-showrunner Brian Hewson don't deny it. OMG. How far will EMPIRE go with its tawdry temptations?   I guess we'll find out soon enough!

But seriously, great job, gentlemen.  Well done.  And congratulations to the cast, crew, and supporters of EMPIRE, as well.  See you all at the premiere!

Do you have an item for Kevin's Indie House? Please email me!

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for recognizing Proper Manors and including us in such elite company. We are committed to giving you one of the best online indie soaps ever. Yes, Proper, USA is a complicated town and everyone is somehow connected. It will be a bit slow explaining and unfolding the connections throughout the first season since we have the first 13 scripts locked but I guarantee the pay off at the end of the season will deliver with the aftermath and the reveal of who many of these people are coming as we move into the future. We will strive to take all fan/reviewer/critical feedback into consideration as we move forward. We are here for the long term and appreciate Kevin and the We Love Soaps team recognizing our show. Peace, Love and Proper.
    - Pietro

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  2. Thanks for the shout out Kevin! I'm glad you're still enjoying our stuff. We're mighty proud of your kind words and super appreciative of the ongoing support from the We Love Soaps team. Here's to an amazing year of indie web series! Much love to our fellow web series mentioned at Proper, Anacostia, Thurston, The Bay, DeVanity, Empire, Miss Behave, The Inn, Fumbling through the Pieces, Breaking Point, Bandwagon, Empire and The Cavanaughs. Let's make this a year to remember!

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  3. Thanks,Kevin for putting Proper Manors up on the board with such a great ensemble of shows. We are striving to get things rolling and I think our seemingly large cast will continue to surprise the viewers. Thanks again,
    Jef Phillips-Co Creator, Proper Manors

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  4. Beautiful article! So wonderful to see the success of Indie Soaps growing and growing and growing! I love it! So well deserved!

    -Gregori J. Martin

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  5. Thanks for the Breaking Point mention.

    Caryn

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