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Feature: Web-series ‘Lumina’

October 10, 2009

A few days ago, I got a message from some of the people behind a web series titled Lumina. They asked me if I could write a review for their show, and now that I’ve checked it out I can say that I’m happy to do so. I don’t have much incentive other than that I want to! I think that should make you all the more curious, eh?

Lumina stars Asian Americans, Asian Canadians, Asian Asians, and more. Indie Asian and Asian American bands, such as Tim Be Told, also make “appearances” on the show. Read the synopsis and watch the trailer below:

Lumina Wong is beautiful but works far too much; although she lives in a city of millions, she still feels lonely and isolated. Late one night, Lumina has a chance encounter with Ryder Lee, a handsome young man from another world that she can see in mirrors and darkened window reflections. She revels in the fantasy relationship until mirror-spy Eben Sanchez comes into her life, warning her of the treacheries of the people of the Dark Realm. Soon Lumina must choose between the safety of the world she knows and the deadly allure of the unknown.

The official site is luminaseries.com, and you can watch the episodes in full on either the site or YouTube.

Read the review:

Juju Chan stars as Lumina
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Before I even start I want to preface this by saying I’m enjoying Lumina. However, since this is a review I want to cover all the ups and downs. It’s tough to be harsh on a web series because they usually don’t have the financial backing of regular television, and they have to work within their means. Due to this, the actors might be new or unrecognized and the production quality is restrained. I love watching web series; I have enjoyed both the good and the bad (in my opinion, of course!), and I can say that Lumina has a good energy. It’s not nauseatingly precious like some series try to be, and it goes for intrigue without pushing it over the top. I want to do it justice by talking about the pros and cons that come to mind.

One of my favorite things about Lumina is its beautiful quality. I am a lover of things that are pretty and eye-grabbing; this is a show that does that without a doubt. FANTASTIC! With Hong Kong as its backdrop, Lumina has a lot on its side when it comes to aesthetics. I should also mention that the actors are all gorgeous people that you could watch all day long. We pretend these things don’t matter but you know they do! I think the double-whammy of a good environment and likable actors makes this show one your eyes want to watch (as weird as that sounds).

The plot is very cool and I would love to see it expanded upon in a full-length show. As it is, it’s a brief glimpse into an interesting world that mixes fantasy with reality. I love that. Add magic and mystery to anything and I’m yours for life. So really, Lumina is quite strong for the most part (in my eyes, at least).

Michael Chan plays Ryder Lee
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I’m hung up on a few aspects, however. To make this an honest review, I should include them (although I always feel like a tool when I do). The acting in this show, especially when coupled with a few cheesy lines, is a touch wanting. There are some moments where I’m completely captivated by the acting, but in the next second there will be a stiff delivery of a clichéd line. The “clichéd” part comes from the black-and-white nature of everyone on the show. I think Ryder is the only ambiguous character, but that’s part of the plot; he’s supposed to be a mystery. I just want a little more haziness of character. I feel a little distanced from the “realness” of the story when a character says a standard “evil person” line and there seems to be no hidden motives—he/she appears to simply hate all that’s beautiful and good in the world.

If I had any other thing to gripe about, it would be that quick progression of the show makes it a little hard to understand some times. Yes, it is a very brief show on the web, but a little back-story here and there would help. However, after looking at the site, I realized that they have some back-story on there that anyone interested should read. It helps flesh out some of the plot that involves alternate worlds.

Ryder connects with Lumina through reflections
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Other than those points, I find that Lumina is an aesthetically gorgeous series that takes full advantage of it’s intriguing plot. It’s fun to watch! I don’t think either of the mentioned “cons” affects the series enough to invalidate it, but they are still worth mentioning.

Fans of shows like Heroes and Lost will probably find Lumina right up their alley. I’m pretty hooked right now and I can’t wait to see the rest of episodes. As of this moment, six of the total nine episodes have been released. Each episode comes in at around five or six minutes, so you won’t be wasting any time to check it out. I would love to see this thrilling web series get a bigger audience. If you like it, spread the word! I think it deserves much more recognition that it’s getting. Much.

If you watch, let me know what ya’ll think!

(An extra bonus of this series: There are closed captions in six languages! There is English, Chinese, Japanese, Norwegian, and Spanish.)

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One Comment leave one →
  1. October 11, 2009 1:16 am

    Thanks for the review! We do want to know what works for people and what doesn’t, thanks for taking the time to comment about it. 😀

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