Riftworld Chronicles is the eight-episode fantasy-comedy digital series created by writer and director Jonathan Williams.
It tells the story of Alar (Tahmoh Penikett), a wizard who has inadvertently traveled to our world by means of a mystic portal.
Unfortunately, Alar's magic doesn't work in our reality; he finds himself trapped in a sprawling, modern metropolis.
Soon he encounters Kim (Erin Karpluk), a fledgling journalist frustrated with her current career path.
While Kim thinks the charismatic Alar is insane, he must navigate a world completely foreign to him.
Will Alar convince Kim of the truth of his origins? And what is the surprising connection they both share?
By the end of season one, some of these questions are answered while new ones are raised.
Riftworld Chronicles is a thoroughly enjoyable mix of fantasy and comedy.
The series resists the temptation to overload viewers with over-the-top cheesiness and exaggerated caricatures.
Instead, writer/director Jonathan Williams opts to mine comedy gold through his script filled with sharp wit and the situational humor indicative of most fish-out-of-water narratives.
The other chief series highlight is the cast.
Casting Tahmoh Penikett as Alar was an inspired choice.
Penikett (best known for his role as Helo on the reimagined Battlestar Galactica) is thoroughly convincing as a dimension-hopping mage suddenly stranded in our modern world.
He plays the part straight, which makes his bewildered interactions with various city denizens genuinely smile-inducing.
The other series lead, Erin Karpluk (Being Erica) is terrific as struggling journalist Kim.
Karpluk imbues Kim with a very grounded sensibility that makes her very relatable.
When the two lead characters finally meet, their chemistry is undeniable.
While there is definitely sexual tension between the two, it's very refreshing Williams avoided having them begin a romance.
Part of what makes this web series work is, at first, Kim truly believes Alar is suffering from some sort of mental breakdown - which is the normal reaction most of us would have toward anyone claiming to be a wizard from another world!
Having the characters begin a romance almost immediately would feel wildly inappropriate and damage the central premise of the show.
Riftworld Chronicles also features exceptional overall production value, including gorgeous props, intriguing Riftworld costumes, solid visual effects, and excellent creature makeup.
Check out the official series trailer ...
To view the entire 8-episode first season, as well as to find out more about the production, visit the official series web site Riftworld.io.
Being a die-hard fantasy fan, this outstanding digital/web series gets my highest recommendation. So step inside the portal, and visit the alluring world of Riftworld Chronicles.
Series Production Update 08-29-18
Since the original publication of this article, Riftworld Chronicles has evolved into a transmedia property with the publication of Riftworld Legends - an official comic book series continuation that further explores the world of Riftworld. The comic book focuses on different characters than in those depicted in the digital series, but all are connected.
On another development front, Andy Serkis' (Gollum, The Lord Of The Rings) Imaginarium Studios is adapting Riftworld Chronicles into a TV series, per The Hollywood Reporter.
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