Released exclusively on the LGBT streaming service Dekkoo.com, Feral is an eight-part, gay-themed web series, set in the Bible Belt of America. It mainly follows young roommates Billy and Daniel, both of whom are gay and both trying to express their artistic sides. However, there aren’t too many opportunities in Memphis, which leads Daniel to wonder whether to wonder whether it might be time to get out and explore the world with a six-month education programme in Berlin.
Daniel meanwhile is making a film, which we learn as the series progresses is an attempt to work through some major demons from his past. Inbetween their artistic endeavours, they’re trying to find out who they are, and work out what they want from life. Daniel isn’t sure what he wants from love, mistreating his boyfriend, while Billy needs to find a way to allow himself to love again.
There’s also their old roommate, Jordan, who they threw out due to his drug use, but whose life may by spiralling out of control. His replacement, Carl, is a bit of an enigma, particularly where he sits on the sexuality spectrum.
Feral is a decent, low-budget show, with some intriguing ideas, pretty good characters and effective acting. It does however suffer a little from web series disease, at least initially, which is a tendency for each episode to feel like a separate vignette to what’s gone before and after. While it does tell an ongoing story, it doesn’t really start to flow between episodes until about the halfway point. Once it’s established its characters and allows the viewer to properly understand where they’re coming from, it starts fully working.
Don’t get me wrong, none of the episodes are bad in themselves. Indeed, a couple are excellent, particularly one which is solely a sojourn into the troubled past of Billy’s love life, but the first three or four feel a little separate to one another.
That said, it’s still easy to binge watch, and across its eight episodes begins to feel a bit like a movie, complete with the character development and a sense of conclusion by the end – although leaving things open for more.
Some will find the characters a little precious and the trials and tribulations of their life a little bit too much. To be honest though, while Billy and Daniel won’t reflect everyone, they will reflect a lot of people out there, particularly those with an artistic streak. Indeed, it has a good sense of what it is to be young and gay, with limited funds but big ideas and ambition.
Feral takes us into a world where the possibilities of life still seem open and where it’s worth striving for something more than you’ve got. However, these are young adults at a time in their lives when the reality of the world is becoming increasingly real to them, and where they could drown in a sea of ordinariness – as well as pain of their pasts – if they don’t keep fighting. That’s not to say they spend every moment in angst, as the show does a good job of anchoring them in the real world and present them as real people. It does ensure though that there’s a sense of both melancholia and of hope that fund through the episode.
The show also includes sometimes moving discussion of the realities of depression, and the alongside characters dealing with it, there’s a sense that a lower level of inescapable flatness could creep into other people’s lives if they’re not careful.
While this won’t be held up as Dekkoo’s breakout hit – a House Of Cards or Orange Is The Only Black – it’s a good start and an interesting series. It’s also a great starting point for the show itself, as it would be interesting to see where writer/director Morgan Jon Fox takes things next if and when Feral returns.
Overall Verdict: Across its eight episodes, Feral has plenty of interesting ideas, good (if a little pretentious) characters and a nice way of observing life for a section for the young, gay population. It may be a little uneven to start with, but it’s worth sticking with.
You can watch the first episode of Feral below, and the rest is available via the LGBT streaming service, Dekkoo.com.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac