Review: Break A Leg

Break a Leg is the first half-hour sitcom to be produced independently and released on the Internet for free, entirely without studio support. This on its own is an impressive feat, and makes me want to give the show 10/10 purely as a way of expressing appreciation and encouraging more of this kind of thing in the future. The truth is though, Break A Leg is not without its issues, and while the potential is enormous, the entertainment value is not quite there for me.

The show centres around David Penn, a mild mannered writer who is working on the sitcom Groommates — a show about three ex-grooms living with two ex-wives. The problem is the cast aren’t getting paid properly and the crew are all insane, leaving David to desperately try and keep control of the production. An interesting twist, however, is that you are told from the beginning that David is going to die at the end of the season, you just don’t know exactly how.

The show is very much in the style of the programme Arrested Development — a personal favourite of mine — and the production values are incredibly high considering their budget. There are many audio and video continuity issues, but overall Break a Leg stands up visually against many network TV sitcoms. A lot of time has clearly been spent getting the video right, but I have to wonder if the same amount of meticulousness was given to the script. The jokes often feel forced and fall flat, or they simply get in the way of the story’s progress. To me, it feels like the scripts could have gone through a few more rewrites to get the pacing correct.

Characters such as David and Jennifer are always fun to watch, but most of the other characters feel underdeveloped, making it difficult to differentiate between one or another in terms of personality.

Break A Leg is hopefully a sign of things to come, and I am really excited to see what the crew produce next, but I simply didn’t find it consistently entertaining.

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Ratings for Break A Leg
6/10 Entertainment value
Every episode has its moments, but I didn’t find it consistently entertaining.
6.5/10 Quality of content
The plot is original and intriguing, however the scripts need a few more rewrites and the characters are underdeveloped.
8/10 Production quality
Every episode is not without its continuity errors, but overall the show can stand up against network TV.
6.5/10 Overall
Judging by the website and iTunes comments Break A Leg has a dedicated fanbase, so perhaps it’s just me that didn’t find the show consistently funny. I highly recommend downloading at least the first episode to see what you think.

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