We first wrote about Full Out, the new web series from King Is a Fink and Open TV, earlier this month.
Starring Jess Duffy as Claire, a woman who has recovered from an injury that threatened to end her career, the show’s lead is now looking to take back her place in the limelight.
However, Claire is also hiding the fact that she’s gay, and being out could be just as detrimental to her career as her busted ankle.
Joining Claire in this cast of characters is fellow dancer, the loud, out and proud Taylor, Claire’s girlfriend Max, the competitive Kayla, and Xan, the autocratic and homophobic woman in charge of the dance company.
But, despite Full Out drawing you in with Claire’s relatable struggle with staying closeted and the way it teases the simmering tension, the flickers of something happening between Taylor and Claire, the series does manage to be a lot more than that a couple of recognisable tropes.
While it’s difficult to describe this without being incredibly spoilerific, Full Out, the show is as much about the hopes and dreams of these dancers as much as it is about shipping and disliking Xan and her miserable assistant.
Over everything, it feeds you a compelling story about a competitive world and the difficulties its inhabitants face, put up with and overcome. Whether they do wrong or right the characters are wonderfully written and for the most part, you can understand them.
Much of that can probably chalked down to some fabulous performances from the cast. While the sometimes shaky camerawork and some dodgy audio editing do a disservice to their talents, Full Out is one of the best acted web series around.
Admittedly, many web series come off seeming amateurish due to the fact that many of its actors are actually amateurs but you’ll find no lacklustre performances here.
Nana Visitor is a particular standout as, despite Xan’s all-round awfulness, the character’s manipulative ways are still brilliant to watch and you can almost see the cogs turning as she builds her dancers up and breaks them down. Full Out’s dance sequences are good fun too and the show is all the better for King is a Fink’s decision to get local Chicago dance talent in on the production.
However, I do feel that the five episode show (episodes are between 10 and 20 minutes long) could have benefited from another episode or two.
It’s unclear whether the production team is holding back because of second season plans but there are a few cases of things being set up only to offer disappointing conclusions.
For example, in one scene Xan admits to encouraging Claire to take pills (by having snuck them into Claire’s belongings) and it’s brushed off despite just how serious that is. In another scene, a heartfelt conversation between Max and Claire is too brief and we miss out on the opportunity to learn a little more about their dynamic.
So no, Full Out isn’t perfect, but its shortcomings don’t massively detract from everything else that’s going on and it’s still a web series worthy of your time.
Watch Full Out now on Open TV.