Created by Dylan Formo and Michael Smoot for 7th Degree Productions, Section 12 is a spy thriller set in the near future of 2028.
In the opening scene of the series pilot, a C.I.A. analyst is murdered.
Eventually it is discovered the murdered analyst is key to a terrorist plot to publicly expose the secrets of a defunct black-ops division of the C.I.A.
Agency Director Brian Walker (Ted Schultz) calls upon retired former colleague Ellen Ward (Maryjane Zimmerman) to investigate.
Ellen in turn recruits a former top asset, Sean Crowe (Michael Campbell), to discover who is responsible for the latest threat to national security.
There's just one problem. Sean is an angry, burnt-out alcoholic.
As the series progresses, Sean and Ellen learn just how diabolical the terrorist plot is, as well as the identity of the one behind it all.
What won me over with Section 12 is it is a straight forward spy story, with a protagonist cut from the same cloth as action heroes of the '80s.
Michael Campbell is convincing as a cynical, haunted former black-ops agent.
The antagonist of the series, Jason Truitt, gives an excellent performance as the deranged mastermind behind the terrorist plot.
I also like that the series is shot completely in black and white. This artistic choice gives the project a noirish feel.
However, Section 12 does have some glaring issues. While the black and white cinematography does work most of the time, the occasions it does not are very noticeable.
Certain daytime scenes have an over-exposed look that tends to almost wash out the actors.
Speaking of the actors, the performances of the supporting cast are very uneven throughout the series.
Another issue is even though the story is set in 2028, the set pieces look all too modern. The only cue to the viewer that events are not occurring in the present day is the presence of self-driving automobiles.
Also, while the fight scenes are well choreographed, the instances of gunplay seem really off. People are shot, but there is no blood.
What is even more perplexing is some shooting victims reappear in subsequent scenes behaving as if they weren't injured at all!
I attribute the majority of these narrative and production issues to the budgetary constraints many independent web series face.
Fortunately, the underlying narrative is engaging enough to overcome most of these production glitches.
To get a feel for the atmosphere of the project, watch the series trailer below ...
If you are a fan of spy/action-adventure stores, Section 12 will most definitely fit the bill.
To watch the completed 10 episode first season, visit the series YouTube channel: Scifi Riot.
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