Review, Chasing the Hill
By Piper Bayard & Jay Holmes
Emmy nominee Brent Roske, Creator and Executive Producer of the new internet TV show, “Chasing the Hill,” has done the impossible. He has created a show about politics during campaign season that not only didn’t have us shoving our heads in a wood chipper, it had us watching it a second time.
In “Chasing the Hill,” California Representative Kristina Ryan is attempting to win re-election for a third term. Normally, as a Democratic Party incumbent in southern California, her election would be a slam-dunk affair. Unfortunately for her campaign, she was recently involved in a nasty scandal and she is now behind in the polls. The pilot shows her campaign team as they do their best to overcome her recent scandal and get her re-elected.
Non-partisan interviews with actual elected officials are included before the episode and after the show in a segment called “Chasing Chasing the Hill.”
The cast includes Robin Weigert of “Deadwood” fame as well as “West Wing” alums Matthew Del Negro, Joshua Malina, and Melissa Fitzgerald.
Now for our individual comments.
I didn’t just enjoy “Chasing the Hill,” I enjoyed it even more the second time I watched it. The dialogue is clever and often humorous, and the acting is excellent. I almost felt like I was eavesdropping rather than watching a performance.
As a hard core moderate, the thing I appreciate most about “Chasing the Hill” is that it is a realistic political drama that is non-partisan. Although Rep. Ryan is a democrat, the show does not beat me about the head and shoulders with left-wing dogma. The pilot focuses on the behind-the-scenes action of politics and not on the politics themselves. In today’s election atmosphere of heightened partisanship, which is always detrimental to our country, it’s refreshing to see a show that so far makes every attempt to be politically objective.
I watched the pilot for “Chasing the Hill” twice this morning. I enjoyed it. So far, the characters are interesting enough to hold my attention. The filming and editing utilize the youthful production style of a docudrama, and at times they lend the feel of a documentary to the show. Also, the very sudden and pronounced delivery of some of the actors’ lines adds an interesting touch of 1890s stage production to the digital gestalt.
I enjoyed the non-traditional combination of editing, production, and directing styles for two reasons. For one thing, it was entertaining enough to justify my time. For another, I was happy to see an internet show that has thus far been well enough written, acted, and produced to survive in what remains a difficult internet market.
I am hoping that this show will be successful, and that more writers and producers will use the cost effective internet production method to highlight a wider variety of writers and ideas than what we find in more traditional TV fare.
The bottom line for me, though, is that I don’t regret spending my time and my $1.99 to watch it. Particularly during a campaign season, paying to watch a more interesting fake campaign in exchange for avoiding the plethora of nauseating political ads that plague the air waves made the price tag seem like a bargain.
If you have the time, go ahead and watch “Chasing the Hill.” I think there’s a good chance that you will enjoy it. If you are in a mood for serious commentary, you should also watch the “Chasing Chasing the Hill” segment that airs after the show.
The first season will have six episodes, which you can download at Chasing the Hill.
Together, Holmes and I give “Chasing the Hill” five stars. While it won’t make fake promises about world peace, your medical bills, or your outsourced job like a real political campaign does, this fake political campaign is real entertainment and absolutely worth your time and dime.
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