The latest tactic in gaining attention for a new YouTube series? Innovative and fun marketing campaigns. The new offering from Ryan Holloway and Gabe Michael, creator of sci-fi series Forge Apollo, is Ambient, a digital thriller series, news of which arrived in an awesome “emergency awareness” pack. Combining supplies like trail mix (which I ate before reading any of the supplemental material — good thing it isn’t a show about poisoned trail mix), ear plugs and matches with spooky brochures and “science articles” warning of death by electronics, I was already completely engaged in the series before I even plugged in the included thumb drive containing my preview of the show.
Obviously “normies” like you don’t get the immediate benefit of badass marketing campaigns, but let me assure you they work wonders for you, because they enable us to find these shows and present them to you. Lots of new shows pop up on YouTube and it is innovation that speaks loudest when it comes to figuring out what to review. Smart marketing, or “Smarketing” as I am coining the phrase, tells us that these creators take their project seriously. Of course, being clever enough to get a show on our radar or having marketing money to splash around doesn’t mean it automatically gets a good review.
Telling the story of Nick and Evan Kessel, two brothers in a fight against diabolical hackers in a dystopian near-future, Ambient starts with a cool intensity and only picks up traction. Well, really I guess the hackers unleashed a virus called the Jeremiad on civilization, so really the fight is against electronics at large. As one of the brochures (sent to me by Nick) warns me: I need to stay away from computers, televisions, cell phones, boom boxes, baby monitors and cities. Frankly, I think I’d rather die. But then, I wouldn’t be one of the survivors in any sort of calamity anyhow. Recruiting a ragtag team of survivors, Nick has the unenviable task of trying to save the world. We have the enviable task of watching him do it.
Parked like a Winnebago on the Forge Apollo YouTube channel, the series is beautifully shot and stand alone from everything that preceded it. Gabe, who comes from a background that includes producing Epic Rap Battles of History, has clearly honed his craft and storytelling skills. Even from his time on Forge Apollo, Ambient is a huge step up in skill and narrative. I don’t even have to worry about feeling guilty about eating trail mix gifted to me by a shitty series — Ambient has the goods.
It wouldn’t be fair to tell you too much about what goes on here — after all sci-fi is a voyage of discovery. But as far as new shows go, Ambient should be as much on your radar as it is on mine. If you were a fan of Firefly, you’ll find yourself right at ease with this series.
There are currently five episodes of this brand new series uploaded — just enough to get you good and hooked waiting for more. Hopefully we don’t have to wait long.