December 30, 2015

Happy medium

The Most Serene Republic are back on the air.

After shutting down production for five years, Canada’s premier indie broadcasters have developed a pilot that gives their signature sound a fresh twist. TMSR film Mediac in a format curiously scrapped from the …And the Ever Expanding Universe treatment, revisiting techniques beloved by avant-garde audiences. The final cut is a meandering but mostly satisfying spin-off.


Singer Adrian Jewett and writer/producer Ryan Lenssen once again assume lead roles, flanked by the usual supporting cast and, during several delightful segments, background vocalist Natalie Klett. Jewett’s dialogue drives another nowadays narrative, though less cryptic and more succinct so as to readily reach the millennial microblogger. “Ontario Morning” – an excellent episode bound for the band’s classics box set – expertly lures that target demo with a poignant and pervasive pizzaz just begging to be hashtagged. “I Haven’t Seen You Around” (staccato line flubs aside) and “Capitalist Waltz” follow the same simple script and steal many of the remaining scenes.


Not every chapter of this reboot is must-see TV. “Love Loves To Love Love” splices an Underwater Cinematographer frame to the reel without regard for theatrical continuity, “Nation Of Beds” and “Benefit Of The Doubt” are kitschy commercial filler and “Brain Etiquette” reads like a discarded Odelay beat sheet. They pan to Population retrospectives and regain proper pacing on “Failure Of Anger,” “Fingerspelling” and frenzied finale “The Feels,” whose plot fans will assuredly want continued in the next installment.

Even if it doesn’t become a ratings juggernaut, Mediac proves The Most Serene Republic still have prime time staying power.

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