The first thing that sets Leap Year above most other web series is its surprising list of guest stars, and not always in just one-off cameos. Most notable as a recurring guest is Eliza Dushku (Buffy, Angel, Dollhouse), who has been a key character in the show’s second season, and doing what she does best in her roles: being devious. If Dushku’s appearance didn’t fit your Buffy interest enough (who are you?), there’s also Emma Caulfield (Anya on Buffy) who’s appeared a few times as well, again in a key role for the season. The guests don’t end there: Craig Bierko (lots of stuff) has a key role in the series, and Steven Weber (Studio 60) will be appearing in the next webisode.
At least in the first season of the series, there are a few start-uppy things done by the newly-formed company to get press for their new product. For one, there are cameos by some big names in the business, such as Alexis Ohanian (Founder of Reddit) and Gary Vaynerchuk (Crush It). They also make one hell of a big deal about getting to post something on notable startup-themed website Mashable, dedicating at least two episodes to their work to getting there … and then the fallout from it. I thought I had at least some head for sites like Mashable and TechCrunch and what it meant to be noted on them (we were noted on TechCrunch when we launched in 2008), but I couldn’t get into how big of a deal it was to this group; it seemed a bit overblown, but what do I know — we’re not millionaires here at CliqueClack HQ.
One of the coolest aspects of the series is the filming of — and the scenes between — character Bryn (Alexis Boozer) and … herself. Her scenes are filmed so well that I didn’t know until recently that she’s playing both characters. Bryn is also a character that many people will identify with, being that she’s very much a combination of Allison Scagliotti‘s Claudia on Warehouse 13, and Lisbeth Salander of the Millennium series trilogy.
Something I wanted to note is that group leader/CEO Jack (Drew Lanning) reminds me a lot of James Roday, and I sometimes get the feeling that some of his likes really feel like they’re made to make him come across a lot like Psych‘s Shawn Spencer, but without the over-the-top antics. That’s not at all a dig at the series, the actor or the character, but I do wonder if I’m not the only one who’s said that about him.
The biggest weakness I have for the series, though, is that I’m not sure I care about any of these characters enough. For example, one of the main characters of the group, Aaron (Yuri Baranovsky, who also co-writes and directs) is a stressed-out, negative complainer with a smoking-hot wife (Rachel Risen) he doesn’t seem to truly appreciate. Not only that, but he has Bryn wanting a piece of him. I’ve yet to see why I should care for Aaron’s plight, and I struggle to see what anyone sees in him besides that he’s apparently good in business. I feel like we’re supposed to feel for Aaron, but I just don’t at all. Aaron’s brother, Derek (Wilson Cleveland) doesn’t yet have a meaty enough role to latch onto, and Olivia (Daniela DiIorio) is almost right up there with how I feel about Aaron: lots of negative vibes. Perhaps Bryn will remain the person I root for, and that could wind up being just fine.
Other small nitpicks I have relate to the filming and sound quality of the series, but it’s really not fair at all to bring that down upon a web series when, well, it is what it is. I do think it might improve with more injection of a variety of music to set the tone of some scenes.
Leap Year‘s definitely worth a look. It’s improving with every episode, and it’s always fun to see what new notable guest is going to appear next. Even if I don’t necessarily care for the characters themselves, I am interested to see where the whole thing ends up. Maybe that’s been the whole point all along.